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Haynes Fly Fishing Manual
A lot of English speaking car owners will probably have stumbled over a Haynes manual during their car ownership. Haynes basically owns the market for car repair manuals, and have more titles than you can think of.
But Haynes has also published a large number of “general interest manuals”, counting titles such as “Garden Railway Manual”, “Battleship Bismarck Manual”, “Aquarium Manual”, “DIY Wedding Manual” and many more. As you can see not all of them are hands on, DIY books on how to repair things, but also introductions and helpful books, that can start you off on a project or a hobby.
Such a book is Mark Bowler's Fly Fishing Manual. Mark is a well known name from the British fly fishing scene, being a longtime editor of the UK magazine Fly Fishing & Fly Tying.
The book is a beginner's book and meant as an introduction to fly fishing. It has extensive chapters introducing fly fishing and the target species, and great introductions to choosing gear, learning to rig it, casting and more.
Being a UK book written by an Englishman, it's also best suited for people wanting an introduction to UK fishing. There's nothing about striped bass, coastal sea run brown trout or fishing for tarpon or bonefish, but chapters on stream and river fishing for brown trout, sea trout and salmon and quite a bit on stillwater and boat fishing as it's done in the British isles. There's text on pike fishing and some saltwater fishing too, but again with a British angle.
Now, there's absolutely nothing wrong with a book with a British angle, as long as you as a reader knows this. Most beginning European anglers will probably find the book useful, but for US anglers, it's simply not covering their turf. Other books will do a better job there.
For those in the target group, the book is a treat. It uses the same structure and layout as many other Haynes books, and benefits from a very clear and easy to follow way of presenting things. Everything is color coded, the text is brief and precise and there is a wealth of really good photos and drawings, which makes the book very appetizing and light on the eye. Some pages are basically photos and captions, pinning out a certain method or technique very clearly.
It's very easy to find the relevant chapters for a particular subject, and it's quick to read through and understand what to do to get the best results. In spite of being a beginner's book, the author manages to get around a lot of things and introduce some fairly advanced subjects, so rigging and fishing the classic British teams of flies, using deep nymphs and indicators and using the Leisenring lift plus hundreds of other techniques are covered. The book shows many flies, but wisely doesn't cover fly tying as such. That deserves a whole manual in itself.
This book is a treasure trove and really invites you to just leaf through it and stop to read whenever something interesting strikes your eye. There will be plenty to learn for beginners especially, but also for the seasoned fly fisherman.