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Tying and Fishing the Booby Fly
I have to admit up front that I'm pretty old fashioned when it comes to books, and even though I have read my share of ebooks, I definitely prefer my fishing books printed with ink on paper.
But more and more fishing books are available in electronic form, and so is Danish Michael Jensen's new book on Booby flies.
For those not informed, Booby flies are floating flies that are fished deep, usually on a sinking line and a normal leader, which makes the fly "float" over the bottom, but doesn't allow it to descend to the surface (unless the water is very shallow).
Michael Jensen's book tells the story and introduces the flies, originally from the UK, used on trout lakes and still very popular over there. So effective in fact that many trout waters have banned the Booby flies.
The original flies were tied with large Styrofoam balls caught in small pieces of nylon stocking and tied in as eyes - mockingly called boobies and cause for the name of the flies. Large here meaning about 3-4 millimeters, which is large compared to the fly. These days the flies are often tied with foam, which is a bit easier to control and also used in several patterns by the author.
As Michael Jensen also shows, Booby flies have evolved and become much more than the original nymphs for lake use, and have developed into imitations and flies other than nymph-like patterns and can be used for other fish than freshwater trout.
The book goes through the origin and history of the Boobies and covers a number of Booby fishing techniques intertwined with small stories from the author's fishing trips to spice it up. The flow is nice and the book is very easily read and both educating and entertaining.
The illustrations are top notch, Michael being a professional photographer. The photos are supplemented by some nice watercolors breaking up the pace and at the same time showing the rigs.
There's a large section on tying Booby flies and a list of fifteen specific patterns, some with step-by-step photos. The author also includes a small section on materials, and even though he does cover some very basic stuff like tying thread, flashy materials and feathers, he of course also goes into depth on Booby-specific items and techniques like Styrofoam balls and foam.
The book will be a great education for many anglers who don't know the boobies. It does a great job of getting around the subject and covers several different fishing situations and seasons and gives you a number of very different flies to use under the different conditions.
I have read the book both on a standard iPad and on Amazon Kindle on a smaller 7' Android tablet as well as on a computer screen, and even though the book contains the exact same material in all versions, the iPad version is definitely much richer and better laid out and even has some interactive components like small image galleries that can be locally navigated. Whether this is an issue with the technology or the production I don't know. It seems that the Kindle format has way fewer facilities than the iBook format, but since Kindle is basically HTML, it should allow for a decent layout.
For the layout of this book I prefer the iPad version, but I honestly am not a big fan of the "mystery meat" navigation hiding images and captions from view until you discover that you can swipe them to see more of the images in the local gallery or series of images. All the step by steps are done as this type of embedded gallery. I prefer to see what I get, but it's of course a matter of personal taste and a very small issue.
On the other hand the more static Kindle version has much more stale layout and way smaller illustrations, which unlike the iPad images are not clickable so that they can be seen full screen, so there's no doubt that you get a better looking and a much more useful book on the iPad.
This book is an excellent example of what we can expect from electronic books in the future: small productions at fairly low costs, conveniently downloadable and with the ability to store hundreds of titles on your reader of choice.
This book is also a great example of the more exotic subjects we can expect to see in this format. Getting an ebook published is basically just a question of doing it (with all due respect for the work of authors and layouters!), while printed books require a publisher, which is essentially impossible to get for such narrow subjects. You can also engage in a much more expensive, complex and even intimidating print-on-demand process, which on the top has a very limited income potential for the author.
Prices vary depending on what media you choose and where you live. For me here in Europe the Kindle version of this title is 12.50 US$ while the iBook is only 8.99, which should make the choice easy for those with access to both devices, but these prices differ depending on your location and taxes.
If you don't have a tablet, there are alternatives for computers like Apple's iTunes for iBooks or Kindle for pc or Mac for the Amazon version, but none are really as great and convenient as the tablet readers - iBooks outshining them all.