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10 of Torrey's Favorite Books- December 2018

Those who know me are probably aware I'm a book fiend. My collection numbers in the hundreds and is always growing, I'm an avid reader. The following list covers a variety of topics in the fly fishing world, and each represents what I feel is one of the absolute best in it's category. I tried to pick books that are still in print and are readily available.

1) Joe Humphrey's Trout Tactics- Joe is a living legend from central PA, and is one of the best trout anglers out there, period. All facets of trout fishing are covered in an insightful manner, including wets, nymphs, dries, streamers, night fishing, leaders, fishing in tight brush, etc. Joe, along with his mentor George Harvey (another PA legend), popularized nymph fishing and the Tuck Cast. Many modern day nymphing concepts were long ago figured out and perfected by Joe (mono rig, weighted nymphs, comp style ultra thin fly lines, Tuck Cast, etc.). His approach to fly fishing for trout is different than many other anglers, and that is why he outfishes them all. His ideas on leaders are fascinating, as most all anglers do is take a commercial leader out of the package and tie it on, while Joe builds and modifies his constantly according to the situation & fly. He also talks at length about water temperature, a very important topic and one that is not properly understand by most anglers. All of this is covered in detail, and I promise it will make you think and become a better angler. Required reading!

2) Reading Waters by Gary Borger- He takes a dry but very important subject and makes it interesting and relevant. If you asked me what separates highly successful anglers from average ones, I'd say the biggest single factor is the ability to read water. You don't need much skill to figure out where the trout are during a hatch when the fish are rising, but how about when it's quiet out there (most of the time!) and you have to nymph, chuck streamers, or fish wets? Ya gotta know where the trout are, and the best anglers I know have an uncanny ability to determine where unseen fish are laying. While there are other good books on this subject, I find them all a bit dry. Gary throws in lots of anecdotes to keep things interesting and drive home what he's trying to convey. FYI he has written multiple books, all are well worth reading, he is truly one of my fly fishing heroes and a true pioneer in the sport. 

3) Orvis Fly Fishing for Trout: the Next Level, by Tom Rosenbauer- Many of you know of Tom Rosenbauer from his Orvis podcasts. And maybe you know that he worked his way up from a writer for the Orvis News to editor of it, then to being in charge of putting together the Orvis catalogue, and now as Vice President of Orvis. Some of you may be aware that he has authored a pile of books. What you may not know is that he is a rare person who is both an excellent fisherman AND an excellent writer. Too many books were written by shitty fishermen who write well, or shitty writers with excellent fishing ability. I worked briefly at Orvis Manchester right after college, and Tom was the guy that interviewed me and ultimately became a coworker. His knowledge of fly fishing, especially trout, is impressive. He is a well rounded guy too who has fished all over the country and all over the world, utilizing all methods & fly types. So it's no surprise that this is a really good new book. He basically teaches you how to go from being an average anglers to an advanced one, with excellent advice & insight. He breaks the book down into sections according to the seasons, as well as covering approach, fishing hatches, weather, reading water, etc. There is a lot of meat in this book, it's not just another author repeating dogma.

4) Dynamic Nymphing, by George Daniel- You knew this one was gonna be in here! What can I say, this is the nymphing bible, period. George is from central PA, just like Joe Humphrey, and in fact was mentored by Joe. After that years of successful competitive fly fishing all around the world with top anglers from all over helped hone his impressive nymph fishing skills. Now he guides, presents and does clinics all over the USA. While he covers things like tackle advice, the real meat of the book is in two sections: tight line techniques and suspension techniques. Tight line covers Euro & high sticking with split shot/weight flies, and suspension covers indicator methods as well as dry/dropper. He shows you pictures of his actual fly boxes with them arranged into different boxes for unweighted, light, medium & heavy weighted. He also shows you a bunch of good flies with patterns recipes. George tells you how to deal with hatches, high water, low water, dirty water, heavy fishing pressure, etc. Killer book, and a gotta have for any nympher. His recent follow up to this book is "Nymph Fishing", and it's excellent too, but I'll talk about that book in a future post.

5) Strip-Set, by George Daniel- Interest in streamer fishing has grown a lot over the past 15 years, probably due in part to Kelly Galloup. While George Daniel is most famous for his nymphing, his book on streamer fishing is fantastic. He has fished all over the country with different guides & experts, and he's learned a lot of useful streamer tricks above and beyond the old "throw it down & across and strip it back". George breaks down streamers into different categories depending upon how they are constructed and intended to be fished. He also divides them into 3 size categores: small (under 3"), medium (3-4"), and large (over 4"). He covers articulated & single streamers, and shows you some of his favorite patterns, along with pattern recipes. He talks about all the different fly line types/choices, proper leaders, different retrieves, how to best set the hook, how to cover the water, etc. This is the best streamer book currently out there.

6) Wet Flies, by Dave Hughes- Dave is a prolific author of many books and magazine articles. He has also written what has become the bible on wet fly/soft hackle fishing. He recently updated this book to all color photos, and added a bunch of chapters, including one with Davy Wotton, possibly the best living wet fly fisherman in the world. There's been a resurgence of interest in these flies, and they are fun to fish, and very effective, especially during insect activity. It's a technique that allows you to cover all water types, and do it quickly and efficiently. Hughes shows you the flies, how to rig them, and how to fish them in different water types and situations. His writing is easy to understand, and to the point. This is THE book to have on wet flies & soft hackles.

7) Common Sense Fly Fishing, by Eric Stroup- Another central PA guy (do you sense a them here? haha) who really knows his stuff and is a great teacher. Eric guided for years and spent a ton of time on top central PA trout streams like the Little J. He gives you a guide's perspective on how to be a better, more efficient fisherman, and he breaks it down into 7 lessons: getting a good drift (super important), reading water, proper approach, casting, line control (an underappreciated but important skill), rod position, and mending. Then he covers how to put it together with nymphing, dry flies, rigging, and he gives you a small selection of his deadly yet simple guide flies. I really like this book, it's only 140 pages, but packed with great information you won't find in most other books. Worth re-reading a bunch of times.

8) The Orvis Fly Fishing Guide, by Tom Rosenbauer- This is hands-down the best beginner to intermediate fly fishing book on the market, period. Tom wrote the Orvis Fly Fishing for Trout book I mentioned as the 3rd book, so see that for his impressive writing and fishing credentials. He covers everything you need to know, giving you clear instruction without overwhelming you with too much information. That's not easy to do. While the emphasis is on trout, he also covers all the other species a fly fisherman might want to target (bass, sunfish, salmon, steelhead, stripers, blues, and other fish). This book was originally published in the 80s, but it's been updated several times, including a thorough 2017 version that gives all color photos, the latest on tackle, and plenty of new fly patterns. Two thumbs up, and a book 100% of beginners to intermediates need to own. 

9) Spring Creeks, by Mike Lawson- What a beautiful book, and written by one of the top spring creek anglers in the world. Spring fed streams are some of the most technical and difficult to fish on the planet. Mike gives you a lifetime of his wisdom on how to fool these tough trout. Even if you don't fish spring creeks, the flies, techniques & rigs are all applicable to fishing heavily pressured trout in rivers like the Farmington & Delaware. Absolutely stunning photography in a coffee table looking publication that is stuffed full of information. Mike covers all fly types and presentations, with an emphasis on fishing hatches and rising trout. Great read.

10) Barr Flies, by John Barr- Not your average fly tying book, and not your average fly tyer/designer. Many of you may know who John is due to his infamous Copper John nymph, but you may not know he's designed a pile of other cool flies that cover nymphs, dries, emergers & streamers. Not only does he detail his favorite got-to original patterns, but but he shows you how to tie them in easy to follow photo sequences. He tells you his favorite size & color variations for each fly, and then he gives you detailed info on how/when/where to fish them, something you don't see in every fly tying book. A beautiful book, full of information and great flies, highly recommended.

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