Saltwater Flyfishing

by Jack Samson
Reviewer: Lou Bignami

Jack Samson cost me a working day when his Saltwater Fly Fishing arrived. As a long-time book junkie whose collection fills a study, I couldn't wait until after working hours.

"Just a peek," I told myself. At dinner, when my wife Annette asked me how work went that day, I hesitated. "Got a good book in the mail?" she asked in that special tone wives reserve for situations where they know the answer. The book was worth missing my weekend's football games -- as usual the Seahawks lost -- it's simply the best saltwater fly fishing book, and a wonderful read, on today's market.

Jack Samson has been on my "must read" list since before he wrote Line Down on big game fishing back in 1973. In this day when "instant experts" pop up on the basis of a couple of seasons and a lucky catch, it's nice to know the author has paid his dues. Samson covers basics on tackle with recommendations most fishermen can meet with their usual steelhead or black bass gear. He then moves with a tip of the hat to the history of the sport -- it's a lot older than some think!

The bulk of the text is a species by species treatment of saltwater species suited to the limp rod set. Anecdotes and memories of trips past are finely woven with solid information on techniques and gear. On an information basis the book justifies purchase even though only two chapters -- salmon and striped bass -- related directly to my favorite haunts, the Northwest.

However, the techniques Samson uses suit all our fish and on days when the wind whistles and lines freeze in guides for the demented winter steelheader, readers can warm themselves in front of the fire as Samson takes them to bonefish flats and tropical waters. In fact, there's more good information here on tropical fishing than you find in most magazines. Now if I can only convince Annette that we really need to go back down to Golfito for some Costa Rican roosterfish and sails this winter!

This book is a great read with wonderful anecdotes like the time A.J. McClane took a bonefish on a big Zaragosa plug. It offers interesting insights about famous, and infamous, anglers past and present.

-- Saltwater Fly Fishing, by Jack Samson. with 16 pages color, 65 color photos, 30 drawings. #O-8117-1653-8 in bookstores, or direct from Stackpole 1-800-READ-NOW