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 21st,1998

The Art of the Creel
By Hugh Chatham and Dan McClain
Published by Blue Heron Publications,
P.O. Box 1309, Ennis Montana 59729 email Blue Heron.

The Art of the Creel

I turned the corner of the aisle at the recent Salt Lake Retail fly fishing Show and stared into the face of a blue heron! The lovely carving was standing on top of a stack of books! Also displayed on stacks of books were several wonderful antique creels. That caught my attention, and probably the attention of a lot of buyers at the show as well. I certainly hope so, because this is an absolutely delightful book.

The color photographs, most taken in outdoor setting on the Madison River are dazzeling. Each style of creel with it's history is shown in an nicely organized fashion. Nothing stuffy here, just great information about where and when and how. Over 200 creels are shown.

The authors, neither having done a book previously, hit upon a winner the first try. I have already spent several hours going through The Art of the Creel, and expect to spend many more. It is terrific.

The differences in how creels are designed, some with multiple layers, (one for fish another for lunch or flies - or even a worm keeper in others)is facinating. As are the differences in how different materials are used in the creels, from split cane to whole willow to aircraft aluminum and more. It was also very neat to learn fine creels are still being made. Those are also included.

Leather used in practical and decorative ways adds interest to creels, as well as providing extra space for the angler in the form of storage pockets. The designs used by the various craftsmen in the leatherwork has helped identify the age and place where the creels were made.

The authors comment that in a age where catch and release is so prevalent the creel doesn't have the utilitarian value it once had. Instead creels are being recognized for its folk art appeal and the fine workmanship. Of course, creels are popular decoration for any fly anglers home.

If you are a collector of fishing stuff, this is a must have. If you just like to learn more about the history of fly fishing, you should have it. If you are looking for a wonderful "thank you" gift for someone who is a fly angler - here is the perfect solution. Don't forget, Christmas is just around the corner. ~ DB

Previous Reviews

[ HOME ]

[ Search ] [ Contact FAOL ] [ Media Kit ] © Notice