Meerforelle an der Küste I + II
Two things I have to admit you before I commence with this review:
1) OK, these books are in German! And I know that means that a large majority of our readers will not have much use of them. But on the other hand we do have a significant amount of German speaking visitors. The review is for them and for those of you who reads and understands German.
2) I was somewhat involved in the creation of these books. The author, Thomas Vinge, is a good friend, and I helped him get in contact with some of the tyers - and contributed flies myself. So I may be a bit biased.
With that out of the way, let me start by saying that these are great books. They are the most thorough books you can get on Danish seatrout flies, and probably the most thorough books you can get on coastal seatrout flies at all. They were first published in Danish in 1998, but even though the German version only contains minor updates, they are still very much in sync with the Danish and Baltic seatrout fly scene. You won't find the most current flies (no Pattegrisen and no Kern Lund shrimps), but all the classical Danish coastal flies are here plus a large selection of flies that you will find few other places.
This title is in two volumes, and while they both contain fly patterns, volume I is an introduction to the seatrout fishing and a rundown of the different food items that seatrout eat, each illustrated with one or several fly patterns showing how the quarry can be imitated.
The first volume is also the one that deals with the fishing, the seasons and fly construction principles.
The second volume is just flies. 250 patterns grouped according to style or the natural imitated.
The fly patterns is in my opinion by far the most important part of the books. I understand why the author has wanted to include some general material on locations, seasons, fishing and fly construction, and in the German books it makes pretty good sense because there's less literature on these subjects in German. But in Danish much of this general material is available elsewhere.
The patterns is the gold. Each is covered thoroughly with history, tying tips, fishing methods and further notes, and of course a material's list and a picture. Most of the flies are tied by the originator, and I know that Thomas has been in direct contact with a far majority of the originators, and this makes the book one of the best researched and trustworthy sources on Danish coastal flies.
Unfortunately the pictures are not quite up to the quality of the text. The books were originally made when digital imaging was quite uncommon, and producing the hundreds of fly pictures on film, scanning and reproducing them would have been very costly. That means that the flies were scanned in a flatbed scanner, and that's not the best way to shoot flies. Some are really good, most are acceptable but quite few are not good. The pictures do show the flies and are fine for tying after, but as illustrations they are far from the best - even by the standards of 1998.
But that doesn't take merit away from the books, which are still the best available. Anybody who can read German and is into fishing the Baltic must simply own these books, which comprise a valuable and almost endless source of great fly patterns for trout in the salt.