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.

November 5th, 2006

Saltwater Flies of the Northeast
By Angelo Peluso

Reviewed by Jed Proujansky

Book cover

This is primarily a book about fly tying for the Northeast, but it is so much more. It is a book about fly fishing, the history of fly tying, a compendium of knowledge that cuts across all aspects of fishing, tying and the history of saltwater fly fishing in the northeast. To my surprise, it is unique in its content, covering far more than the classic list of flies and their recipes.

Slam Heads

First, the book is beautiful. It is in a high gloss format with original art work as well as the requisite clear and detailed fly pictures. It is nice enough to place on your coffee table as well as on your fly tying station. Along with the 400 fly photos (usually three per page) and their recipes there are numerous photos of fish art and fishermen. One might call some of these photos as fish ID photos, but that is like calling the work of Ansel Adams tree pictures.

Rays Fly

The flies are organized alphabetically. It seems simple, but it really works. Grouping flies by their origin, color, the bait they imitate or any other categorization often does not work because so many flies fall into multiple categories. Is a Clouser a Sand Eel imitation or a Peanut Bunker? It really depends on how you tie it. It is tied in many colors. What about the Half and Half fly. It is a combination of a Deceiver and Clouser. Which grouping would you put that one in. By avoiding those conundrums and alphabetizing you know you can find Lefty Kreh's Deceiver under L, K or D (nobody calls him Bernard). Of course there is also the index in back which makes these lookups faster.

Author Angelo Peluso The list of people who the author, shown left, met with and whose flies are presented reads like a list of who's who in saltwater fly fishing. Lefy Kreh, Bob Clouser, Nick Circione, Lou Taboury, Enrico Puglisi or some local favorites like Mark Sedotti or Ray Stachelek to name a few.

With each fly there is a picture, a list of parts and the materials to use. In some cases there are explanations on how to tie the fly. With other flies you get information on how and where to fish them or the history of that fly. There are many tidbits of useful information scattered throughout this book.

Kinky Fibre Fly

For AJ's Epoxy Squid: "This squid fly was designed for striped bass at Shinneckock, Long Island. It can also be tied with more durable Ultra Hair for bluefish. The fly is best fished on a sink-tip line with a stop-and-go retrieve. Use an initial two-foot pull on the retrieve, then a short pause."

Note that this is not your book with step-by-step instructions and photos along the way. There is an expectation of basic tying skills, but when there are newer or unusual materials or techniques there is often a sentence or two to help you along. Don't let that stop you from buying the book. Even if you don't tie your own flies, you can find patterns that will imitate what you want and it will let you know how to fish them. So after reading, buy your flies and have fun.

Recipe for Short Fin Squid Tentacles: "Using a bodkin, push in the tentacle assemble about 5/8 inches inside the head cone and bind the tentacle assembly to the head cone. Apply a drip of Super Glue. When glue cures, flatten the head and apply head color of choice. Apply a light coat of five-minute epoxy."

The narratives in the book are both good writing and interesting. He writes about his coming of age as a fisherman, and then about his first striper on a fly. At another point he talks about the progression of fly tying and how this works in the real world. There are tidbits about different materials to use when tying flies and why he prefers one over the other.

Slam Tails

On Stewardship" "I wonder often if you don't respect the fish that you catch how can you ever expect to protect and preserve it? Most, if not all, of the fly-fishermen I know practice ardent catch and release. It sems to just come with the territory. But I will admit, there was a time in my distant past when a measure of a successful fishing trip was a stringer of dead trout or largemouth bass."

When you add up all the parts of this book you realize that in your hands is something that is more than a fly tying guide, it is a guide to help you catch fish in the Northeast.

Because of the broad range of information and the quality of the writing it makes this book a good read, as well as a reference. All in all you have a well written, well photographed organized book on flies and fly fishing in the Northeast with much of this information and the patterns applicable for use wherever there is saltwater.

Sunset Angler

~ Jed

Saltwater Flies of the Northeast
By Angelo Peluso
Photography by Richard Siberry
ISBN 1-57188-394-0
Hardbound $39.95
Copyright 2006
Frank Amato Publications, Inc.

About Jed:

I was born in NYC and fished the Catskills during the summers of my youth. In 1968 I started fishing with the long rod. I now live in Northfield, MA where I have access to trout and warm water species within minutes of my house. Saltwater fishing is only 2 hours away.

I currently live with my wife of 28 years Joan with whom I kayak. I fish and she birds. With the kids out of the house I have more time for fishing related activities. I supply the USF&W Silvio Conte Discovery Center with their fish and am becoming a certified MassWildlife fishing instructor.

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