Over the years I have slowly accumulated a modest library of outdoor books. Within this collection there are books that teach fly tying, casting, fishing, and tackle making. There are books with taxonomic charts and diagrams to help identify strange plants and animals. There are adventure books, essay collections, survival books, and even a few history books. Some of these books have been featured in the Book of the Month column because their educational value was especially worthy. Others were featured for more subjective reasons- I thought they were "good books." These are a few of my favorites.
The Longest Silence: A Life in Fishing, by Thomas McGuane
Thomas McGuane's acclaimed body of work includes the books Some Horses, Nothing But Blue Skies, and Ninety-Two in the Shade. His 1999 book, The Longest Silence: A Life in Fishing, is a collection of essays that together illustrate how culture, geography, and our own obsessions affect the way we view angling and the natural world. By any standard of measure it is beautifully written and thought-provoking. Read it. You'll love it.
On the Run, by David DiBenedetto
David DiBenedetto's book, On the Run is a story about the striped bass and the striped bass angler. In On the Run, DiBenedetto chronicles the fall striped bass run down on the East Coast and describes his encounters with quirky and spellbound anglers who have abandoned their normal lives to catch them. On the Run reminds us that as anglers, we are all very much alike. Don't be surprised if in one of DiBenedetto's characters you see yourself.
A Perfect Fish: Illusions in Fly Tying, By Ken Abrames
A Perfect Fish: Illusions in Fly Tying is the most unusual fly tying book I have ever read. It is poetry, art, and craft woven together to form a unique piece of angling literature. Abrame's spiritual approach to fishing and his core-essence philosophy of creating the illusion of life at the vise are refreshing alternatives to the saturated and redundant world of fly tying how-to books. A Perfect Fish isn't for everyone, but many of you will be captivated by Abrame's style and philosophy.
The Book of Texas Bays, by Jim Blackburn
Jim Blackburn's, The Book of Texas Bays, chronicles the people, politics, and polices shaping the culture and landscape of the Texas Coast over the past century. Blackburn takes a head-on look at the history of water laws, political agendas, and legislative battles that have often protected and sometimes prostituted our coastal resources. The Book of Texas Bays challenges us to take a deeper look at our own connections to the Texas Coast and our responsibilities as its stewards.
Birds of Texas, By Roger Tory Peterson
This humble little guidebook has been opened more times than any other book on my shelves. It rides on the dashboard of my truck and in the dry storage of my boat. Although I am no "pro-birder," Birds of Texas has helped me identify and learn more about many of our avian residents. Whether they are perched on your window sill, or pecking at worms in the marsh, watching birds is fascinating and having a good book to identify them is fun. It's also a great way to draw youngsters into the outdoor world.
Fly Fishing in Salt Water, by Lefty Kreh
If I was forced to choose just one book to serve as a reference for saltwater fly fishing it would be Fly Fishing in Salt Water, by Lefty Kreh. From casting, to tackle, to angling strategies, Lefty covers it all. I have found no other book that has the broadness of scale or soundness of content offered in Fly Fishing in Salt Water. Lefty's no-nonsense approach to writing and his unmatched level of experience in the field combine to make this book the stand-alone bible of saltwater fly fishing.
Pop Fleyes, by Ed Jaworowski and Bob Popovics
This collaborative work between Ed Jaworowski and Bob Popovics showcases the materials, techniques, and steps required to tie all of Bob Popovics' innovative collection of fly patterns, including the Surf Candy. Popovics' outward thinking and his unique use of modern materials like epoxies, silicones, and synthetic fibers solved many of the challenges that had plagued salt water fly tyers for years. Popovic's durable fish-catching patterns embody the spirit of resourcefulness and have significantly changed the course saltwater tying and saltwater fly fishing.
Clouser's Flies, by Bob Clouser
No other fly pattern has caught as many fish in as many places as the Clouser Deep Minnow. It is a classic fly and many argue it is one of the most versatile and universally effective flies ever invented. Bob Clouser's book, Clouser's Flies shows how to tie many versions of the Clouser Deep Minnow along with a dozen other Clouser originals, each a perfect marriage of form and function. Clouser's Flies reminds us that in the world of fly tying, keen observations and simplicity of design seldom disappoint. These attributes have made Bob Clouser's fly patterns standard issue in nearly every fly box on the planet.
Saltwater Fly-Casting Techniques, by Lefty Kreh