Reviews

Currier's Quick and Easy Guide to Warmwater Fly Fishing. (Written, photographed, and illustrated by Jeff Currier)

There's a lot to like about this book. But the title, which leads one to believe this is a beginner's book, is totally inappropriate. This book makes an important contribution to the warmwater fly fishing literature, and it's a shame that Mr. Currier (or his advisors) felt it necessary to couch the title in terms of "quick and easy." This reminds me of the early days of what is now known as "the fly fishing renaissance," when publishers felt that fly fishing was such an arcane topic that each book about it had to start from zero, assuming no prior knowledge on the part of the reader. We've obviously gotten past that. But maybe now there's a perception that books on warmwater fly fishing should assume that the reader is a beginner. That's too bad. This book is rather schizophrenic about whether it wants to address the beginner or the more experienced angler. In my opinion, the gratuitous nods to the beginner should have been left out. They are both distracting and ineffective.
Jeff Currier is obviously extremely knowledgeable and has a wealth of fishing experience and a deep love of our sport. Despite an extensive personal history of living and working in the fly fishing industry in the American West, Mr. Currier is blessedly devoid of the trout snobbery that often comes with such a background. In this book, he easily and naturally accomplishes what Jack Ellis tried so hard to do-to make the experienced fly fisher see that warmwater fish can be worthwhile and worthy adversaries.
A chapter is included on exotic warmwater species from around the world. I must confess that although creatures like peacock bass, pirana, payara, dorado, etc. are, of course, found in warm water, I question including them in a book on warmwater fly fishing. But I suppose this does serve a useful purpose in associating with destination travel fish other than trout, salmon, or glamorous saltwater species.
The book is full of very valuable information. The description of fly fishing equipment and its uses is excellent. Perhaps the strongest chapter is the one titled "Popular Warmwater Species." Important species within each family grouping are listed, and each description includes information on geographical range, preferred habitat, foods, recommended tackle, and appropriate tactics. Another very useful item, often neglected in books and magazine articles, is "handling concerns." Here Mr. Currier gives warnings about sharp fins, gill plates, etc.
A chapter on types of water is also included-ponds, lakes, rivers, and canals. Here, too, we have information on appropriate tactics and tackle. And again, information is provided on hazards that one might encounter. This is an excellent approach.
This book, as mentioned previously, tries to make a nod toward the beginner here and there. A chapter on casting is included, but this will be of very little use to most readers. A low-intermediate-level caster might pick up a few helpful tips. But the beginner will find the nine pages of text and hand-drawn diagrams mystifying, and the more experienced will find the chapter a ho-hum waste of time and space.
The knot tying chapter is definitely not-for-beginners. Mr. Currier, probably due to his personal experience with "big game" warmwater fly fishing, tends to use many knots and connections that are more typical of saltwater fly fishing. Again, a decision needs to be made about the target audience for this book. Beginners need the simplest way to do things, not necessarily the absolute strongest and best. Bimini twists, whipped loops in the end of the fly line, and shock tippets certainly have their place in the arsenal of the advanced fly fisher. But they do not belong in a book that purports to be "quick and easy."
There are also some technical glitches in the book, most notably mislabeled photographs. Since this appears to be a self-published book, there is really little excuse for this. Mr. Currier obviously knows the difference between a bluegill and a redbreast sunfish. Yet photos of bluegill are labeled as redbreast on pages 17 and 74. This may seem like nit-picking, but a specialty warmwater book should not contain such errors.
Despite a few problems, this book does represent a significant contribution to the warmwater fly fishing literature, and any warmwater enthusiast would be well-advised to consider adding it to his or her personal angling library.

--Mary S. Kuss