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Fly Fishing Large Western Rivers: Volume #2, Spring
Fly Fishing Large Western Rivers: Volume #3, Summer
Rick Hafele and John Smeraglio
DVD: 47 min  (Spring), 57 min (Summer)
Laughing River Productions    $24.95 each

Rick Hafele video Rick Hafele videoWho has not bent all the pages ragged of Rick Hafele's biblical work on insects,  The Complete Book of Western Hatches? My copy of this favorite tome is so tattered and pasted over with hatches from stream-side use that I'll be looking for an update to it soon.  Now the bug meister of Oregon along with John Smeraglio has produced what many have been waiting for, a video to give us further insights in the life of our favorite (and sometimes uncommon) bugs, the flies that mimic them and the fish that eat them.

In the spring video we get, well, spring lessons, such as how to handle the complexity of spring hatches, what part of the day to fish, when to change flies (often), and how to have a few laughs when all else fails. The summer video, summer lessons, such as fishing the peak ends of the days, adding terrestrial patterns to your fly arsenal, and having a few more laughs when all else fails.

The theme running through both videos is the necessity of exploring the life among the rocks. How to pick a fly to match a particular insect among a plethora of naturals in a typical water sample is a valuable lesson that Hafele admirably presents--right down to how to kick the rocks in just the right way to take a good sample. And you thought you already knew how to take a water sample.

Presentation is critical, too. John Smeraglio shows excellent casting skill and superb control over his line. Especially interesting is his way of fishing a large river by concentrating on a smaller portion of it next to shore, as if the smaller portion were a small river. Rarely do you see a caster fishing toward shore in these waters, but this is where the fish are.

You'll also enjoy Hafele's harmonica riffs throughout.  Yes, he does a fine harmonica, and you can hear more of it on his Howling Trout music CD.  Whether or not harmonica blues tunes helps the fishing is a matter of basic attitudes. Often, learning to relax a little on the water and not take everything so seriously will help you stay with your fishing longer. Just don't scare the fish.

--Toney J. Sisk


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