GFF book review

Salmon, Trout & Charr

Author: Rupert Watson
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Rupert Watson
Salmon, Trout & Charr Of The World - A Fisherman's Natural History
Swan Hill press, 1999

GFF rating: 4 out of 7
Above average

Reviewed by Martin Joergensen

Two things attracted me by this book: the pictures and the price. I could have ordered it online in Paul Morgan's excellent Welsh book store Coch-y-Bonddu Books, but I actually found it in Paul's booth at The Danish Fly Festival for UKŁ12.95. That seemed like a bargain, and I still feel that I got a lot for my money. You can now find it online or in his catalog for even less: UKŁ 9.95 (about 18 US$ or 15€).

The pictures in the book was the first thing that attracted me. Good color photos and black and white photos and illustrations are spread out generously through its more than 300 pages and I'm particularly mesmerized by the under water shots, which are excellent all the way through.

The book covers close to all aspects of salmonids, which can be of any interest to anglers - and then some. But it is of course only natural history - nothing on fishing or flies, but a lot about food items and feeding strategies.

After having savored the pictures I started reading. Going for my favorite species - the sea trout - I searched the index and found the reference: pages 101-103. I skipped to that section only to realise that I had stumbled right into one of the section of the book with no pictures or other illustrations. That put me on the track of one of the problems which I have with the book: long, unbroken pieces of text. I miss some structure in the text where it's not broken up by pictures. A few more small headings and subheadings would have been nice.

But the book does obviously draw on a scientific writing tradition. Not that it is difficult to read, but the way it attacks a subject brings back memories from my time at the biology section of the University of Copenhagen. Not that that is a bad thing, but just to ephasize that reading it from cover to cover will be demanding.

The book is well structured on the large scale, with chapters on each of the major species: Atlantic salmon, brown trout, Arctic charr, lake charr, brook char, cutthroat and the Pacific salmon species covered in a couple of chapters. I have used the book many times to check facts on different occasions. In the beginning I'd just run through it to stumble over something interesting - of which there is a lot in the book. Altogether it's more than worth its price.

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