Trout Hunter: The Way of an Angler
Hardbound: 224 pp.
Pruett Publishing $44.95
Like I suspect many flyfishers will, I was drawn to a fly fishing title that supports my own fantasies as not just a fisher but a hunter of trout. Why should deer and bear hunters have all the fun? Trout Hunter helps us fulfill some of our own dreams as hunters as René Harrop presents his remarkable journey across a career as writer, fly tier, guide and fisher of large trout.
Thankfully, unlike many authors who are experts in this or that aspect of fly fishing, Harrop doesn't intimidate us with scientific nomenclature. He makes it clear that you don't have to be an entomologist or animal behaviorist to advance as a flyfisher, to excel, or to even become your club's guru. You need strong intuitions born of great inspection and experience. You need to elevate your powers of observation; that is, you need to match your fishing skills to what you are learning on the water. This is precisely what Harrop gives us--insights and tools to help us see and respond to the flyfishing adventure before us.
Harrop's writing sneaks up on you. Some authors will bore you with long stories of a fishing adventure, leaving you wondering when the point will be made and what we are to take away from someone else's adventure. Not so with Harrop. I found myself enjoying a little narration, and before long I found myself immersed in a great learning experience. His chapter on fishing in the wind is a wonderful narrative of how facing adversity teaches many things about fishing under more favorable conditions.
One of the lessons you walk away with is that when you focus on the single most important thing (the perspective of the trout), details of presentation and fly construction will fall into place. Not that fly construction and presentation aren't important, but that performance in these areas will increase to the degree that you can place yourself in the fins of the fish for a few moments each time you fish.
Get your nose closer to the water, Harrop might say if he were fishing next to you. And if it gets a little wet, that's a small price to pay for getting closer to the trout's perspective on bugs and on the flies that fool them.
--Toney J. Sisk
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