Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Book Review: Trout Eyes: True Tales of Adventure, Travel, and Fly Fishing

I recently found myself wanting to read a book about fly fishing, but not instructional, something more along the lines of what else people think about when they are on the water. As I was looking through the Amazon Lending Library, I came across William Tapply's book, Trout Eyes: True Tales of Adventure, Travel, and Fly Fishing published in 2007, and this book definitely looked like it would fit the bill.

This isn't a biography, autobiography, or even a story. Rather it is more a collection of articles, and descriptions of Tapply's fishing trips from childhood through his latest adventures. A big portion of the book is a reminder to spend time with your family. He retells stories of his Dad lying on his bed at a nursing home, while he describes his latest fishing adventure. His father listens intently, eyes closed, relying on the vivid details so that he believes he is the one fishing and catching that wonderful small stream trout.

As I read the book, I kept pausing and finding myself reliving my childhood memories with my Dad. I would go back and think about our fishing trips on the local lake for Crappie. Often times, I would have one rod out with a bobber and minnow fishing for a crappie. My other rod, would be rigged up with a spinner bait, and as we sat anchored off the point, I would cast my spinner bait into the grass. Then one time, my spinner bait was hammered, I pulled back and set the hook, on a monster large mouth bass. It was HUGE by my standards, but really probably a 3 or 4 pound bass.

Similarly, he retells a story about how his Dad and him went to this pond every year. Each evening they would go out to "Volkswagon cove" which was home to large boulders in the water that looked like beetles submerged in the water. He would cast out onto each rock and every cast would bring in a smallmouth bass.

I happened to read this book just before my birthday, before I knew about my guided trip. Perhaps it was Freudian, but my wife double booked herself and had to host her book club the night before my guided trip. As a result, I had a free spot on the boat with me. If you have followed this blog then you know... my Dad got first dibs on the free spot on the river boat and flew out to meet me up for his first fly fishing trip.

Dad proudly holding a N. Platte Rainbow
The memories from that day will always stay with me. Watching my Dad battle and land his first trout on the fly rod. Not having to undo a wind knot himself, or even rig up his rod, being pampered by our excellent guide at Wyoming Fly Fishing Guide Service. I do believe I learned to cherish that day with my father even more partly thanks to this book.

The book describes his many return adventures to the rivers out west. How he remembers them, compared to how they fish now. Like most he is of the mentality you should have been here back then. But if I was there back then, he would have been annoyed by the kid skipping rocks through his favorite run most likely.

As it is, this book is a short read, probably a week at most of leisurely reading time. However, the effect of the book will have you wanting to get out on your stream, river, lake, coast line, or flats throwing that fly to your favorite targets. It certainly did for me. I certainly believe this book is a worthy addition to any fly fisherman's library.

Cya next time!

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