Peter Hayes - Fly Fishing Outside the Box

Coch-y-Bonddu Books £25.00
ISBN 978-1-904784-56-2

Been there, caught it and wondering what’s next? Fishing beginning to lack the appeal it once had? Up for a challenge? Well, here it is, in the form of the immensely experienced Peter Hayes’ take on new perspectives in fly fishing – and what a vista it most surely provides.

The first thing I would say about this book is that it would help to have some experience under your belt before you buy it, because otherwise half the stuff in here might as well be written in Sanskrit. Fly Fishing Outside the Box is not really for beginners, because it takes many of the sacred cows of fly fishing and shoots them stone dead, but if you are moderately experienced and feeling a bit stale, then this book might well have the keys to salvation, because it will most definitely get you thinking again.

To give an example of how different this book is to the fly fishing manuals we all know and love, the first chapter starts with the Halfordian model of dry fly flotation and kicks it to death. Many fishermen still believe that dry flies float magically suspended on the tips of their tails and their hackle points, whereas as the author points out, a minute’s observation is enough to confirm that they rest half-awash at best and do a much better job imitating emergers than duns. Quite what the fish make of this, I know not, but get this – when we fish conventional tied dries, we fish upstream, with our patterns facing downstream, in the opposite orientation to most of the naturals surrounding them. Then again, the chapter on casting advocates using as short a line as possible to give you the best possible chance of seeing the fly and avoiding straight line casts like the plague, to get around the problem of drag – in fact the chapter on fishing so that the fish can’t see you should be compulsory reading.

So, a great book and one that you will almost certainly return to again and again. I’ll be interested to see what Peter writes next.

Review 23rd June 2013