GFF book review

Philadelphia on the Fly - ron P. swegman

A nice little book with stories about urban fly fishing. Not partcularly aimed at Philadelphians in spite of the title.

Author: ron P. swegman
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ron P. swegman
Philadelphia on the Fly
Amato Books, 2006

GFF rating: 6 out of 7
Global Class

Reviewed by Martin Joergensen

I wish I had more books like this one in my fishing library. I do have a few. Books like Rob Rich's Fish Fights, LaFontaine's Fishing High Mountain Lakes and Bob Nunley's Extreme Fly Fishing spring to mind.
They are characterized by a very personal and entertaining view on fly fishing and they provide a lot of food for thought - even a bit of philosophy if you feel so inclined.

ron P. swegman's Philadelphia on the Fly is exactly that kind of book. I have just read it in a couple of swoops during my holiday. It's an easy read: short, well written and very entertaining. swegman has a very personal style, at one time clearly showing his poetic background, but at the same time being very comprehensible and simple - in the best sense of the word.

The book reflects the circumstances: swegman taking up fly fishing again, swegman fishing a plain 5 weight rod, swegman riding his mountain bike to the water, swegman wading deep rocky pools in hip boots and not least: swegman fishing a lowly city stream with the downtown skyline of a large metropolis in the background.

During the book's short story-like chapters we get the romantic dinner with the girlfriend that gets exchanged with a bass fishing trip, the baptism of channel catfish as hippie trout, the fear of finding a dead body in the water and many other aspects of urban fishing. And we share the joys of finding undisturbed high-quality fishing within the city limits.

Each chapter is illustrated with a small crayon drawing of a fly (including the Fat Brown Pigskin... some fly!) as well as many color photographs of the rivers and their fish. It's not a where-to or a how-to book, but a few facts do sneak their way into the text. Still, any angler from anywhere in the world can read it with great amusement, and thinking - as the title may indicate - that it's for Philadelphians only is dead wrong.

The book may be a small one, but the sum of its qualities earns it a big score: Global Class.

ron P. swegman has his own webpage, which you can visit for more information on the author and his art.

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