What Trout Want: The Educated Trout and Other Myths
This book is a must read!
This is not a “tenkara” book per se. But the content and philosophy presented align perfectly with tenkara with the emphasis on presentation and fundamentals rather than on perfect match-the-hatch flies. If you read one fly fishing book this year—make it this one. I learned about this gem of a book from Morgan Lyle’s book Simple Flies—these two books are perfect complements to each other by the way.
In this book Bob Wyatt really goes out on a limb to challenge much of what we’ve been taught in western fly fishing. And I respect that a lot. It’s not easy to go against the grain of hundreds of years of “knowledge”. The fact that Wyatt is reducing complication and telling us that fly fishing really is simpler than we’ve been taught makes the book ring true. He doesn’t really have much to gain (if you think writing a fly fishing book is a money making prospect I’ve got some land in Florida to sell you) by myth busting. In fact he’s got more to lose by challenging the accepted notions. I know as a tenkara angler that folks don’t always take kindly to the idea that fly fishing doesn’t have to be so complicated and perhaps… gasp … that trout aren’t all that smart.
Parts of the book are devoted to analyzing and debunking previous thinking and writing on fly fishing and then others spend time emphasizing what Wyatt sees as the important fundamentals of presentation and simple, impressionistic fly tying.
Since taking up tenkara I have come to realize how much time (and money) I spent worrying about fly patterns. I would go out on a limb and say that no one thing hurt my development as fly angler more so than “match the hatch” thinking. This book can spare you that wasted time. All that time that you spend digging through the fly box and changing flies is time that you’re not fishing. And you’re not thinking of the ways that you may need to change your presentation in order to be a more productive angler.
“From a pragmatic point of view having a boxful of vague suggestions equips you for a greater range of situations. A boxful of highly specific imitations feeds the anxiety that you might not have the correct one for the job.”
It’s not that fish don’t get keyed into certain food items at certain times, it’s just that in order to “match” the hatch you don’t usually need to get very realistic with your patterns. Impressionistic patterns will most often do the trick.
Bob Wyatt presents a few fly patterns in the book (and they may be all you ever need) but if you want to explore a some more simple patterns with the same sort of philosophy behind them then consider getting Morgan Lyle’s book Simple Flies too.