Individual taste in books varies as much as the favorite rod or fly. With that in mind, we hope to review books and videos from the ever-growing fly fishing world, and share them with you. Books will be the best of all worlds, new and old. Many of the old books are now available in reprint, and the wisdom contained is timely today. Others can be found in second-hand book stores, or by mail order dealers. As we find videos we feel are outstanding they will be included. Be assured, reviews are based on what we have actually read or viewed, and due to that fact, may not appear weekly.
MINOR TACTICS OF THE CHALK STREAM
BY: George Edward Mackenzie Skues - (1858-1949)
First published in 1910, Second Edition 1914, Third Edition, also reprinted in a combined set including Nymphing for Chalk Stream Trout, First published in 1939. The combined set was published in 1974 and reprinted in 1979 by A and C. Black, London, ISBN 0-7136-14478-1
The works of Skues can still be found on the shelves of many Out-of-Print Book Dealer and all three of his major works are available on the internet at; - https://archive.org/details/minortacticsofch00skue This will get you Minor Tactics which is available to download as a PFD file or download to a Kindle.
The work of Minor Tactics is what led to The Way of a Trout with a Fly, which was published in 1921 and was the beginning bible for the nymphing angler. Skues was a Lawyer who was introduced to fly fishing in 1874 and a like many of the time fell under the spell of the dry fly. However it wasn't long before he noticed that dry fly fishing was not always effective and therefore he began to study and experiment.
Minor Tactics on the Chalk Stream is a fascinating work which charts the process of figuring out what the trout were doing when you could see them feed but yet they were ignoring the dry flies fished over them. In this volume he didn't invent the nymph, however he used the old art of the wet fly to solve his problems, however he cast single wet flies upstream to visible trout and he proved that his methods were effective. His purpose was to modify wet fly techniques to supplement the dry fly methods not to replace them.
Skues takes you on a trip, relating with honesty that his discovery did not come about in a day but happen over several years of study and experimenting.
My own copy of Minor Tactics has 56 pages where passages are underlined and where there are notes in the margins, besides having seventeen pages of written notes and insights which are recorded on separate paper and tucked in the back of the book.
Minor Tactics of the Chalk Stream is a relatively short book 150 pages cover to cover yet it is filled with much information which will be useful to the angler of today as it first was when it was written. You might be surprised to learn the Skues had great praise for the work of F.M. Halford and the he (Skues) fished dry flies on a regular basis. He just believed that his Minor Tactics were a supplement to dry fly fishing.
Unfortunately due to the popularity of the dry fly and the power of the Halford School in the world of fly fishing, only a few anglers were intrigued by his method and when he later developed the art of nymphing anglers seem to embrace the new method and forget about the success to be enjoyed by using wet flies.
This volume will enlighten you and enrich your fly fishing experience, and should be read by any angler who is serious about Matching the Hatch and giving the trout what they are eating at various times. Allow Minor Tactics to challenge you into becoming a more complete and successful angler. Historically if combined with the other works by Skues you can follow the progress of the development of fishing the nymph, a method which changed the face of fly fishing.
Enjoy & Good Readin'