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, and due to that fact, may not appear weekly.

September 20th, 2004

How to Fly-Fish
By Cliff Hauptmann
Published by Stackpole Books

Reviewed by Deanna Birkholm

Subtitled: "The basics you need to get started & the rest for when you're ready to take on more."

One of the most frequent questions in our email box is "what do you recommend for a good fly fishing book for beginners?" The search for the 'perfect' book for beginners is over!

How To Fly-Fish

Cliff Hauptman's How to Fly-Fish is based on a different concept. One which works.

Case in point, a pediatrician I worked for while going to college had just examined a 13 year old female patient. She was pregnant. The doctor, really a super person and usually very unflappable, was livid. He took me in his office and proceeded to explain how I should teach my children about sex. I was a single college student at the time and not thinking about even having kids. But he needed to vent at someone and I was it.

His message, answer their questions, simply and honestly. Don't try and give them the whole college level anatomy class or the religious morality dogma. Short, simply and honest. When they are ready for more, they will ask.

The author of How to Fly-Fish has done exactly that. He tells the new fly fisher just enough to get them started and then has a follow-up section in the each chapter titled, HERE'S WHY THIS CAN GET MORE COMPLICATED.

For instance, there are about a half dozen paragraphs on reels in the 'getting started section.' He recommends a single-action 5 weight reel to go on the previously recommended 9 foot, 5-weight graphite rod. In the follow-up section he covers:
    Reel Types, single action, multiplier and automatic reels.
    Drag systems
    Ratchet and Pawl
    Arbor Size
    Traditional Arbors
    Large Arbors
    Righty or Lefty?
    General Quality

The section on rods is even more elaborate and detailed!

The Table of Contents has:
    What you Need to Get Started

I truly believe the absolute beginner can follow the 'getting started' section of each chapter and go out and catch fish.

Author Cliff Hauptman What author Cliff Hauptman has left out - on purpose - is how to cast. He believes having a friend give you a brief lesson, taking a casting class, or if either of those is not available viewing a video will do just fine to get the beginner fishing. It is the 'getting to it' which makes the book so different - and valuable.

If you are a beginner, know a beginner or have a friend you would like to introduce to fly fishing, this is a "must have!"

Well laid out, clearly written, illustrated with excellent black and white drawings, this should be in everyone's library - you never know when you might have the opportunity to enrich someones life.

How to Fly-Fish
Cliff Hauptman
Softcover: 113 pages
Published by Stackpole Books
ISBN: 0-8117-3137-5

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