Published Nov 26. 2002 - 21 years ago
Updated or edited Sep 13. 2015

Book review: Advanced Fly-Fishing Techniques

Lefty Kreh
The Lyons Press
Publishing year: 
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Lefty takes us from soup to nuts and offers us his opinions on many things flyfishing related.

There's that word again - advanced. Whenever I see that word in a title, a little alarm bell goes off. Does the book really deal with advanced topics, or did the publishers insist on putting that word in the title to sell more copies to hopeful readers?

I wouldn't expect to see the definition of double taper or weight forward lines in an "advanced techniques" book. That is pretty basic stuff. Would I expect to see a discussion of the merits of a large arbor reel vs standard arbor? Yeah. In this book, however, we got the former but not the latter.

That's the problem with a soup-to-nuts book. It is impossible to cover everything. If you include basic material, you lose space for advanced material. If you include only advanced material, you limit your audience (and thus sales). A fine line, to be sure.

Being the 2nd edition of a well known book, I was surprised not to see some recent "fads" discussed. No LA reels. No furled leaders. No mention of the recent improvements in ceramic ring guides for fly rods. In many cases, the book remains dated, making me wonder what exactly was new compared to the 1st edition.

That is the extent of my complaints, however. Give Lefty Kreh 250 pages to write, and God knows we're going to learn more about fly fishing than we expected. In typical Lefty fashion - he dispenses opinions without apology and forgoes prolonged justifications. Rather, Lefty gives us the "this is how I do it, it works for me, try it and see if it works for you". I like that. Straight to the point, no frills. No pontificating - just sharing of what works for him. Use it if you like - or not - next.

Lefty is all about catching fish, God bless him. His chooses flies for their simplicity and effectiveness. Pretty flies, realism, complex ties - forget it. It is a guide's wisdom that Lefty passes along. Rods, lines, leaders, and flies serve a single purpose - to hook and land fish as often and as quickly as possible. There is little room for fluff.

For the most part, Lefty Kreh is most well known for his saltwater flies and fishing techniques. I found it fascinating to read his insights into trout fishing (I mean - heck - I didn't even know he went trout fishing). He draws quite often on the advice of others in his trout fishing section - Gary Borger on the Griffith's Gnat and George Harvey on hi-vis wings, for example, but he has plenty to say for himself.

On weighted vs unweighted nymphs:

"My own personal feeling is that, as in many other cases where strong opinions exist, there are merits to using both weighted and unweighted nmphs. When fishing in fast, tumbling water, where visibility is not great, I prefer nynmphs that are already weighted."

Futher, he adds:

"An unweighted pattern that depends on added split-shot descends to slowly to the target area, at least for me."

See what I mean? He gives information based on his experience - use it as you see fit. An authoritative voice, but not at all dictatorial.

For a 2nd edition, I was somewhat disappointed. I would have enjoyed reading his thoughts on some of the modern trends in fly fishing, flies, and tackle. It could be that the 1st edition was indeed a discussion of "advanced" topics, but with the number of information resources available to anglers today, much of this book was water under the bridge.


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