Fly Fishing the Pacific Inshore
Ken Hanley has done it again - and beat himself at it: made a book about the less traditional fly fishing in the salt. Compared to his previous Fly Fishing Afoot in the Surf Zone, this book has a lot more volume and a lot more content. Built along the same lines: instructive, insightful and well written, the new title manages to get around more types of fly fishing for traditional as well as almost unknown species.
Hanley speaks with experience and knowledge on these matters. Numerous pictures of the author with a variation of species in hand document the fact that he has been there and done that. Hanley's experience as a teacher and a guide also aides him in obtaining the task of teaching us how to attack the coast.
The sequence of subjects covered in the book is quite logical and text book worthy: habitat, species, tackle and tactics. Learn to know your water and your species, gear up right and the rest will come seems to be the message.
The author also touches the subject of watercraft and of course specific fly patterns.
Through its 180 pages the book manages to convey so much practical information that it is overwhelming. The chapters on the individual species cover the natural history of the fish in brief, selection of tackle and flies as well as the different approaches you can use to target it. They range from different traditional species such as stripers, skipjacks and bonitos to some rarely fished species with halibut, flounder and even sharks as the extreme.
These chapters are valuable, but my personal favourite part of the book is the coverage of the sea as an ever changing habitat, where Hanley manages to emphasise the importance of understanding and reading the complex behaviour coastal waters: The meaning of not only tides and currents but also what could be referred to as microhabitats and temporary habitats like sloughs, weed beds, rock clusters, current seams and other smaller and less noticeable structures and phenomenon.
Hanley fishes as much with his eyes and his brain as with his rod, and I like that.
Should I point out one less appealing side of the book, it must be the fact that it is mainly done in black and white. There is a central section where many photos are reprinted in colour, but the mainstay of the book is in B/W, and the reproduction of the otherwise excellent photos is less than desirable.
I know and understand full well the motive for this decision. Economics! Printing a full colour book this size is expensive, and changing from black and white would probably have added significantly to the price of this otherwise reasonably priced book.
No matter what this books is a prime example of a book that tries to tech you new ways of fishing things over repeating what has been said and written many times before. It is highly recommended to those pursuing fish in the Pacific and certainly interesting to the rest of us saltwater rodders.