Tug-O-War, A Fly-Fisher’s Game, by Nick Curcione

Tug-O-War, A Fly-Fisher’s Game, by Nick Curcione

Angler Nick Curcione is one of the elders of saltwater fly fishing. He has been tossing flies at saltwater targets for decades and has written numerous books and contributed many articles on the subject. His book Tug-O-War, A Fly-Fisher's Game caught my eye recently while I was thumbing through a used bookstore catalogue and I wondered how I had previously missed it. At first, what I noticed were the unusual and beautiful illustrations by Crease Fly creator Captain Joe Blados. Nick Curcione and Joe Blados sounded to me like a deadly combination, so I ordered a copy. When it arrived I was not disappointed.

Like many instructional books, Tug-O-War is designed to teach saltwater fly fishermen how to improve their skills. To that end, the scope of the book is thorough, covering tackle, knots, flies, and angling strategies for a wide variety of saltwater species and destinations. But what I really liked about Tug-O-War were the stories and examples Curcione used to illustrate his points. Rather than just stating, "Do it this way," Curcione says, "I have learned this way works best and here are some experiences that taught me why it works best." It is a patient style of teaching that answers the questions it creates. Curcione also focuses plenty of attention on certain subjects other authors pass over, like why you need a stripping basket.

Tug-O-War is full of great photographs and Captain Joe Blados' illustrations are indeed beautiful. I found myself looking at them with the same sense of bewilderment his Crease Flies inspired years ago. Curcione and Blados click, and their collaboration makes Tug-O-War a highly enjoyable piece of work. I wish there were more angling books like it.

Tug-O-War, A Fly-Fisher's Game
By Nick Curcione
111 pp. Frank Amato Publications, Inc.

ISBN: 1-57188-250-2