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.

October 2nd, 2000

The Snowfly
By Joseph Heywood
Published by The Lyons Press

The legend of a fantastic insect that can cause fish of unfathomable size to rise leads a former UPS reporter from the trout streams of Michigan's Upper Peninsula to Brezhnev's Soviet Union, a poisonous Canadian uranium mine, and the jungles of Vietnam. Along the way he must fend off renegade mountain men, a mysterious childhood sweetheart (who isn't what she seems), the KGB, and a macho world-famous author. The world's of espionage and fly fishing collide in The Snowfly, by author Joseph Heywood.

The Snowfly

The book follows reporter Bowie Rhodes as he traces the legend of the snowfly, a gigantic insect that hatches only once a decade - never on the same river twice - and will lure monstrous trout into a feeding frenzy. He first hears of the snowfly while a boy in Michigan, and is sure it is only a myth - until discovers a manscript in the highlands of Vietnam: The Legend of the Snowfly by M.J. Key. The manuscript is lost in the 1968 Tet Offensive but Rhodes quest has just begun.

At every turning point in Rhodes' life, the snowfly resurfaces - is he hunting for the fly or is someone using the fly to catch him? On assignment in the pre-collapse Soviet Union, his hunt for another copy of the manuscript nearly kills him. The quest follows Bowie into a radioactive wasteland of old uranium mines, to a drawing room in Cornwall, the mean streets of New York City, and finally back where it all began in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

According to the author Joseph Heywood, "The legend tells us that the fly is unusually large, the size of a human hand, which makes it a whale in insect terms. They hatch in the cold weather months only once every seven to ten years and only once on a river. The term snowfly is sometimes used out West to refer to tiny midges that hatch in winter, but the snowfly of the novel is a different species entirely."

The Snowfly When asked what drew the author (who is known for writing novels of military intrigue) to writing about fly fishing in The Snowfly he responded, "I write stories of pursuit, of hunters chasing the unchaseable, and certainly The Snowfly fits this categorization. Essentially trout fishing is a hunt that requires the angler to solve a number of mysteries in order to capture fish. Fishing in The Snowfly is a metaphor for where unchecked curiosity can lead us."

The many fishing segments are artfully written - almost a primer on how - and where - to catch the big ones. The author not only writes one heck of a book - he's no slouch on fishing either. (Read an excerpt here.) The characters are real (I think I've met some of them) and the places and descriptions very believable without being wordy. The book really moves along!

Be prepared - The Snowfly will get you. It has everything, sex (not gratuitous - after all fly fishermen are gentlemen), intrigue, danger, fly fishing, and the PERFECT trout fly. If Snowfly becomes a movie, it will blast A River Run Through It out of the water.

Joseph Heywood is also the author of The Berkut, Taxi Dancer, and The Domino Conspiracy. ~ DLB

The Snowfly
416 pages, 6" x 9"
Hard Cover: $24.95 US
ISBN 1-58574-020-9
Published by The Lyons Press.

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