“Backpack Fly Fishing: A Back-to-Basics Approach” by Daniel E. Steere is both a reminder that a simple uncomplicated method of fishing can be just as much fun as a trip using multiple complex pieces of expensive equipment and a celebration of the beauty and restoring properties of communing with nature. I am not a person who has done much fishing (as in, I have had beginners’ luck and caught one fish on my first attempt, lol) but I was curious about the concept of carrying all that was needed for fishing in a backpack.
The author has straightforward practical advice, shares his own experience and expertise, and provides a relaxing and entertaining exposition on the concept of using a comparatively inexpensive fly rod and combining fishing with other activities that can be enjoyed with those who aren’t aficionados of the sport. I love that he spent time with his family doing things that everyone liked and they reciprocated by being there for him and taking photographs or recording information for him.
The use of the ASCAL (Approach, Select, Cast, Animate, Land) technique is very straightforward and understandable, and reminds us non-fisherfolk that loud noises and heedless approaches to a potential fishing spot handicaps one from the start. I was amazed at the variety of colors present on various species of trout and even more incredulous that this particular fisherman was truly considering this a hobby, i.e. he caught and released his fish, so the true challenge was in outsmarting the fish long enough to catch it through a combination of using the appropriate lure with the proper movement in a well-chosen location and then returning the fish to its element without harming it.
The wonderful pictures are a great adjunct to this celebration of nature and my only small complaint is that I would have liked to have seen the various flies referred to throughout the book.
There are citations for various books, to provide a more in-depth education, as well as a nice summary at the end and I think everyone who loves nature would appreciate this celebration of a fun and entertaining sport.
Simplify! A simpler approach, simpler fishing trip, and simpler fly-fishing mindset.
Increasingly, the trend in fly fishing has been toward greater specialization (trout vs. bass, freshwater vs. saltwater, lightweight vs. heavier weight rods and reels) and complexity. This trend has taken many anglers away from what they loved best about fly-fishing: catching a wide variety of fish with simple, minimalist equipment that can fit into a daypack. Backpack Fly Fishing helps readers to understand why we need to get back to a simpler approach and how to enjoy doing it.
In Backpack Fly Fishing, Daniel E. Steere provides a comprehensive philosophy for this back-to-basics approach to fishing. He includes chapters on equipment selection, fish that can be caught using this equipment and how to catch them, how to approach different types of waters, and important flies and how to tie them. Additional chapters address how backpack fly-fishing fits into the context of other outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, and birding.
Everyone can benefit from Steere’s helpful information, including current flyfishermen who want to try a less complicated, back-to-basics approach; spin and bait fishermen who want to try the sport of fly fishing without breaking the bank on fishing equipment; and hikers, campers, bicyclists, and other outdoors people who want to be able to fish in waters that they may happen upon during their journeys through the wilds.