Friday, February 13, 2009

Jack Ellis -- The Sunfishes

The Sunfishes: A Fly Fishing Journey of Discovery The Sunfishes: A Fly Fishing Journey of Discovery by Jack Ellis

My review

rating: 2 of 5 stars
The strength of Ellis's book is also its failing. Rather than focus on technique, flies, etc. (which he does well), he essentially constructs an argument for a particular approach to fishing, and the approach just isn't that appealing.

Ellis is a fly and trout snob. When he's forced to learn warmwater fishing, it doesn't breakdown his elitism, it just gives him one more thing to be elitist about. A fair bit of the time he's actually self-effacing, but when he mocks his snobbishness, there's no hint of regret that it's there. He's critical of boats, bass fisherman, plastic worms (which, oddly, he uses to find fish and then rationalizes -- I'll throw a live worm, but I won't apologize for it).

It is interesting to see someone developing an approach, and 15 years ago this might have been novel stuff. Oddly, he shifts focus from panfish (a word he loathes) to bass, which are technically sunfish, but not the focus for most of the book, nor what most people would expect.

Also, and this is minor gripe that just got to me because it happens twice, I'm pretty sure that a spotted bass isn't a type of smallmouth. Each are distinct species, and while a spot has a smaller mouth than a largemouth, that doesn't make it a type of smallmouth.

Recommendation: read the Wilsons' book on bluegill first, and if you're really hungry for more, then come to this one.

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