To me this man is as close to the US term ‘Trout Bum’ as you’re likely to find in the UK. Gordon Mackie is a one off, and after him they broke the mould. Renowned for his monthly half page column ‘From the Chalkstreams’ in FFFT Magazine, Gordon has kept diaries from sometime in the fifties and sixties and up to date, on where he fished, how he fished, through a golden period when the taking of 4 – 6lb wild fish was quite a common occurence. Written in an easy and narrative style, highly observant of his rivers and all wildlife around him, in short chapters,often quite controversial which Gordon is unafraid to shirk the confrontation and he can defend his position robustly based on a wealth of knowledge. His particular and forthright view of rivers, their management and fishing practices are based on the many years of fishing and how he sees the deterioration in the quality of our fishing today. He is candid and critical, but always with a stimulating insight. He is a minimalist in respect of what he thinks you need to carry, with great emphasis on observation and stealth skills and deep scorn for the ‘all the gear – no idea’ types. There is so much trout and grayling fishing knowledge in this man it should be sweated out of him and presented to us at fishing seminars before he expires. I think its quite possible that he’s fished more days, for wild fish, around the UK than anyone I’m ever likely to meet again. This man lived to fish and suffered hardship as a result. To finance himself he’s even been a gold prospector because it involved him with a river ! a rare man who’s pursuit and his passion of fly fishing for trout was regardless of personal and social consequence, e.g. none of us would want to research a section in the book called ‘chalkstreams on a shoestring’. If you can’t get a copy of this book, beg, borrow, enquire, and do whatever to ‘acquire’ it. Currently there are ten used ones on Amazon, go buy. You’ll not be disappointed. Makes the average fly fisherman look like a home loving wimp. My hero.
An icon of fly fishing in Ireland. If you dare to fish in Eire before reading this, the quality of your holiday will be diminished. A time gone by, written by a man with an astonishing professional career, but who’s command of language and sentence structure make me feel like a mumbling muppet. Hugh Falkus said this was one his top twenty fishing books ever written. If you’re an enthusiast of John Geirach you’ll struggle with the intellectual breadth of this mans writing on a subject that he was the master of. Read this and you know you’ve read a book, beautifully descriptive salmon and sea trout events that give you a mental workout at the same time. No golden moments of nostalgia, just hard core real knowledge with expertise imparted to the reader. The final chapters are to do with waves and the effect of stained water on a salmons vision ! if you dodged physics at school, then this bit of the book maybe isn’t for you. Whilst carving a spectacular careet in the Law and Politics, it made him financially secure whilst at the same time restricting his time with a rod, but he made up for it later. Through an era when ghillies touched their forelock, and tied flies for the master, Salmon and Sea Trout runs that we can only ever dream about, threaded throughout with nuggets of information, humourous social observations, and cameo moments. Its phraseology and terminology, not to mention some of the gaelic references make this a tome for the better readers ! – but very rewarding.
The fly pattern and materials source book. Think of a fly – its in here, together with all the regional variations of how it might be tied. Contributions and acknowledgements read like a who’s who of the fly tying world. Every fly has some little comment of note that gives insight to its history, development, application, and how to fish it. If I have a criticism at all it is that I wish the publishers had not used ivory coloured parchment style of paper as a backdrop to the flies, most of which should have been much larger. A must have book so you can tie any named fly for UK trout and grayling.
It is precisely what it says on the cover. Not really to identify flies, but showing you the detail and relevant parts and colours of flies and their familial group. Excellent drawings rather than photographs, and opposite each fly and fly family he offers suggestions of the artificial flies you might want to try. If you’re relatively new to fly tying and fly fishing, in a single plate this book presents each stage of development for the fly and points out what you should be trying to achieve when tying. No fishing advice, but thats not what it ever offers, and I found the drawings much better than any photographs I’d ever seen in other books. An excellent book from which to become more conversant with the denizens of the river and lake.
There are many more books I have but I didn’t think they deserved mention here. I’ve deliberately not included any of the John Geihrach books, not because I don’t like them, they’re entertaining and make me smile, but when you finish them you don’t ever think about them again, and don’t refer back to them, – but they did enthuse me to go fishing in the USA for which I’m very thankful.
Thats it, – there are more I am sure, so if you have a fierce support for a fishing book in particular, let me know and I’d be pleased to read and possibly include it.