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Fly-Fishing Odyssey: The Pursuit of Great Game Fish

This is Jon Cave's first book. Cave is one of those lucky guys who goes fishing all the time not only in his Florida home waters, but also just about everywhere else: Central America, Africa, New Zealand, Baja, Patagonia - you name it.

January 5, 2002
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OdesseyCover_1

OdesseyCover_1

Review by Steve Raymond

World Publications
460 N.Orlando Ave., Suite 200
Winter Park, FL 32789
800-805-0818
hardcover, $39.95

In the interest of full disclosure,we should tell you right up front that this book was written by one of FFSW‘s most frequent contributors, edited by the guy who edits this magazine, and published by thecompany that brings you the magazine. So you can be assured of afair, honest review, right?

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Right. Here’s what editor David Ritchie had to say: ”I hope you’ll feel the freedom necessary to produce an objective review … If I wanted empty fluff, I would have gone that route. I’m looking for anhonest review, which I’m confident you’ll provide.”

It’s not often a reviewer gets such a vote of confidence. Pleas for mercy are more common. So herewith is an honest, objective review:

This is Jon Cave’s first book.Cave is one of those lucky guys who goes fishing all the time notonly in his Florida home waters, but also just about everywhere else: Central America, Africa, New Zealand, Baja, Patagonia — you name it.

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Drawing on this experience, Cave offers chapters on 20 fly-fishing destinations, including 14 saltwater sites — the Yucatan Peninsula, Bimini, Honduras, New Zealand, Senegal, Belize, Panama, Costa Rica and several locations in Florida. Along the way he tangles with sailfish, permit,bonefish, tarpon, roosterfish, snapper, dolphin, kahawai, snook, seatrout and other species.

Some trips were a little hair-raising. Preparing to board a rickety airplane for a flight toHonduras’ Mosquito Coast, Cave is nonplused when the pilotsays, ”We have a tradition of praying before every flight. Do you mind?” En route to the Hannibal Banks off Panama’s Pacific Coast, he rides out a hurricane aboard a 115-foot mothership.”Only the sounds of breaking dishes and banging furniture could be heard above the rhythmic impact of the hull into the powerful waves.”

Fortunately, most of his adventures were less traumatic. His text captures some of the flavor of eachdestination but focuses mainly on the fishing. His descriptions aresure to whet your angling appetite — and if they don’t, thesumptuous color photos will.

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The destination chapters make up onesection of the book. Another includes portraits of 19 fish species,including 13 saltwater dwellers. Cave describes their physicalappearance, life history, habitat, feeding habits and thefly-fishing gear needed to catch them. His text is complemented byDave Hall’s beautiful paintings.

An appendix explores fly-fishing gear in greater detail and offers helpful hints for traveling anglers (although these were prepared before the September 11 tragedy, so some may no longer apply).

The whole thing is handsomely packaged in a large (11- by 8 1/2-inch) horizontal formatresembling a coffee-table book. Unlike most ”just-for-pretty”coffee-table books, however, this one has a lot of solid, useful information – not to mention considerable entertainment value.

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So far, so good. Remember, though,that this is an honest, objective review, so we’re obliged tomention Cave’s tendency to create awkward, dangling phrases, sometimes with unintended amusing results. Example: ”Being from Florida, the tropical storm didn’t bother me that much.”

But these are just about the only wind knots in an otherwise smooth presentation. Honestly and objectively, Fly-Fishing Odyssey will surely inspire readers to undertake odysseys of their own.

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