Review by Steve Raymond
5067 Ritter Rd., Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
Thinking of writing your ownfly-fishing book? You’d do well to consider this one as amodel. With minimal color, no flashy graphics, plain-vanillatypography and ordinary binding, it isn’t fancy – butit does contain 218 pages of good, rock-solid, helpful information.In other words, it’s just what an instructional fishing bookshould be.
The first chapter, ”How to Fish forBonito and False Albacore,” is the best. Mitchell tells where andhow to find these fish at various seasons, outlines tactics fromshore and from boats, suggests what to do when the fishing is slow,offers tips on the best tide and light levels for fishing, anddescribes how to fight and land bonito and false albacore. Youcould search the entire realm of modern angling literature and notfind another chapter with more practical information than thisone.
The next chapter, ”How to Fish forStriped Bass,” runs a close second. It covers pretty much the sameground (or water), except it’s focused tightly on stripers.Subsequent chapters offer similarly thorough treatments ofbluefish, weakfish and hickory shad.
Then Mitchell changes gears andprobes the mysteries of fishing edges. He also explains how to dealwith selective feeders, or ”fussy fish” as he calls them, andanalyzes forage types telling how to imitate each.
A chapter on coastal migrationsoffers a rundown of spring and fall game-fish movements from NewBrunswick and Nova Scotia to as far south as North Carolina.Mitchell lists factors influencing these migrations and suggeststhat anglers keep detailed logs to help predict the timing offuture runs.
Next comes a list of ”commonproblems” and their solutions, including what to do about tangledfly lines, incorrect drag settings, missed strikes, knot failures,nighttime beach navigation and – this one I really like – what to do when the ”person next to you is catching allthe fish.”
Mitchell writes with the authorityand confidence of someone who has spent enough time on the water toknow all the big and little secrets that spell the differencebetween angling success and failure, and he shares them generously.Eight pages of color fly plates (although no dressings are given)and a number of strategically placed black-and-white photos andillustrations augment his text.
This is a gem of a book.