Pocket Water: Confessions of a Restless Angler

True, only five of its 28 chapters specifically target saltwater fly-fishing (mostly bluefish and stripers), but these alone are worth the price of admission.

PocketWater_1

PocketWater_1

Review by Steve Raymond

The Lyons Press/Globe PequotPress
Hardcover; $24.95

''A lifetime of trying and erring and trying some more has convinced me that what I don't know about fishing would fill a book,'' William G. Tapply writes in the introduction to this volume. ''This, you might say, is that book.''

And a dandy one itis. True, only five of its 28 chapters specifically target saltwater fly-fishing (mostly bluefish and stripers), but these alone are worth the price of admission. Consider, for example, Tapply's description of a bluefish blitz: ''We were in themiddle of it - birds, bait, fish, fishermen, water, blood, salt, meat. It was a complete food chain. The air was charged with adrenaline - mine and Andrew's mingled with the furious adrenaline of the predatory bluefish, the panicky adrenaline of thecornered baitfish, the screeching adrenaline of the scavenging birds. It felt electric and primal and strangely familiar. I was part of that mix.''

Tapply, who is a second-generation angling writer (his father, H.G. Tapply, wrote the popular ''Tap's Tips'' column and ''The Sportsman's Notebook'' for Field & Stream magazine), long agosecured his own rightful standing among fly-fishing scribes. Pocket Water merely underscores the fact. And although mostof the book deals with freshwater fishing, the six chapters in the final segment, ''Life as a Metaphor for Fly Fishing,'' are generic enough to appeal even to die-hard saltwater anglers. In fact, Tapply's insight, wisdom and wry wit make this work appealing for anglers of all persuasions.