Positive Fly Fishing Fly fishing book reviews 

Woolly Wisdom
by Gary Soucie
Softbound : 232 pp.
Frank Amato Publications    $35.00
ISBN   1-57188-351-7
Woolly Wisdom by Gary Soucie

All that's woolly and fit to fish, would sum up Souci's book on Woolly Worms and Woolly Buggers. When this book came across my desk, I thought, What can you say about Woolly Buggers and Woolly Worms that hasn't been said (or fished) already? After a few chapters into the book it occurred to me that, indeed, quite a bit can be said.

First of all, tying these things can be simple or complicated, depending upon the tier's inclinations, and possibly on how much time one has before the next fishing trip. Apparently, there is more to tying these little bad boys than just adding marabou, chenille, and chicken feathers. Keeping the body even or tapered, keeping the tail full and acting correctly in the different currents, canting the hackle this way and that for best effect will add new challenges for many of us who have spent most of our flyfishing careers constructing these global flies.

The numerous tying tips and variations should be welcomed by those tying these flies or their own permutations. I like tying simple flies at times, but I also like adding my signature to a fly with a bit of extra effort, consideration, or flair to help keep my head in the game and with the fish. And this book gives me hundreds of variations to think about.

Ancient patterns, as well as international ones, add additional depth to the book.  I especially like seeing 300-year-old patterns from Charles Cotton and others alongside modern patterns to keep us all a little reverent and humble about our recreational origins. After all, the current generation of tyers weren't the first to think about mimicking insects that are meaty and make a lot of noise crawling through the water.

 Soucie's treatment of his subject strikes me as an interesting and useful mix of history, biology and experimentation--without the "And boy does it catch fish" attitude often forced on readers (even though we all know how well they do catch fish).

--Toney J. Sisk


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