Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Toothy Critters Love Flies - Reviewed


Reviewing a book that has just been published isn’t easy and I was pleased to have the opportunity to review George Bernstein’s book “Toothy Critters Love Flies, Fly-fishing for Pike and Musky ”.

Very few books are written about pike fly fishing, although with the upsurge in interest in this particular aspect of the piscatorial pursuit of pike I can see a flurry of books appearing on the horizon.

Most books appear from across the pond for those of us who live in the UK and I doubt that I’m any different to any of my fellow “fluffchuckers” in that we pursue the written word as much as our toothy quarry.

Who is George Bernstein? Well according to his “Bio” George has spent most of his free time on the water fly fishing, but unlike the majority was able to combine this with the day job when he started Outdoor Safaris one of the earliest providers of premier fishing and hunting travel services. George supplied these trips to the likes of Pan Am, Lan Chile and Aerolinas Argentinas airlines. In addition to the business end of fishing and hunting he’s held about a dozen International Game Fish Association world records; two of which were pike records. So I guess he has the credentials.

So to the book. Through the post this morning a package arrived from Florida, it was George’s book; I set about reading the book cover to cover after dinner and have just put it down.

OK, let’s put aside a couple of wee niggles for the bibliophiles who will pick up the book… there are no colour plates and there are one or two proof reading errors. I guess that the cost of publishing a book is no mean feat and albeit that colour plates would have enhanced the book I didn’t find the lack of them distracting. In fact the lack of colour photos concentrated the mind on the written word.

The book is reflective, almost a pike fly fisherman’s autobiography but with an educational twist. I love the reference to the spinning and plugging pikers as those that chuck “hardware” it made me smile. The book guides you through piking and musky adventures and how to tempt these predators to take the fly and to take the bonus species along the way… sadly in the UK we don’t have musky or smallmouth bass never mind largemouth bass BUT we do have perch, zander (walleye), chub, trout, grayling… you get the picture. I have read many times that a book written in North America doesn’t hold water here… utter rubbish! You apply the same principles to the water you find yourself on and you’ll catch fish!

George tackles the issue of tackle coming down perfectly on thoughts of using a 9 or 10 weight rod for the reasons of catch and release. He also gives the advice that you can spend a fortune on rod and reel or keep it relatively cheap and still take pike on the fly. I was also interested to read his comments on the decision not to use hard mono at the end of the leader and to use wire instead. I know quite a few guys here who swear by hard mono, I, however, prefer to use knotable wire.

Fly choice is interesting, I’ve never used Marabou in tying flies having worked it to four patterns this year I might just have to order some marabou tomorrow and give it a go and have a fifth pattern in my fly box using the recipe’s included.

In order to get to North America and catch trophy fish there’s even guidance there, with names and addresses of suitable lodges.

Would I recommend the book? Yes, I would. It is easy to search the net and find article after article BUT it is hard to find an easy read in one volume that takes you from learning about your target species, through personal experiences with the “how to?” and “with what?” in there as well. It’s a book I would happily give to the tyro pike fly fisherman or woman, even the more experienced will enjoy the read (I did).

Undoubtedly there are the text books by Swier and Reynolds that are pure works of reference and it would be unfair to pitch this book next to those. Reading this book gave me the feeling that I had George sitting there in the boat with me sharing his life’s experiences as we fly fished for pike.

In short I’d be chuffed (happy) if I’d have written the book!

You can order the book direct from George Bernstein via his website which you can access by clicking the book cover image above or direct from Amazon.

1 comment:

Pike fly-fishing articles said...

Great review Dave. Interesting to read about Marabou hairline.I have been using it for years now and have an article about it tomorrow on its merits. There is no other material out there that has such movement once under the water.
Have a great weekend coming up.