Roderick Sutterby and Malcolm Greenhalgh - The Atlantic Salmon, an Illustrated Natural History

Merlin Unwin Books £25.00
ISBN 1-873674-73-2

Malcolm is, according to Merlin, able to give ‘lively and forthright interviews if you wish to speak to him’, a comment which shocks me to the core, as I have always found the author to be a retiring fellow who needs to be teased out if one is to benefit from his vast knowledge of fishing matters. This aside, Atlantic Salmon is the best monograph I have seen on the subject in recent years, not least because it has been written in a style which a layman can understand – the majority of books on the subject require a degree level science background and are of limited interest from an angling point of view.

Roderick Sutterby was an inspired choice as illustrator and has provided many stunning full page colour plates for this superb landscape format work, my favourite being his illustration of summer run fish on page 87, which is captivating in the extreme.

The chapters begin by placing the Atlantic salmon in its geographical and evolutionary niche, introducing its relatives and its feats, including its ability to jump the 3.4 metre Orrin falls in a single, epic leap. Then we are taken through the life-cycle of the fish, to its fate, death in the case of the cocks, a small chance of return for the hens. The book ends with a hopeful discussion about the salmon’s future, but the preceding 130 pages are packed with just about every fact worth knowing about this fascinating fish, interspersed with numerous asides.