Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Great Books for Christmas Giving

Call me (definitely) not a millennial; I still love to hold a book in my hands and admire them on my bookshelves.  And to give them as gifts to friends and acquaintances I know will appreciate them.  That said, here are a few books that I think would make great gifts (Christmas or otherwise!) for folks that love fly fishing, tying, art and history.  There are many great books and authors out there; this selection is just one that came to mind over the last few days.  Most are available at vendors like or even ebay.  And yes, I consider all the authors friends. In no particular order:

The Fly; Two Thousand Years of Fly Fishing by Dr. Andrew Herd (The Medlar Press; 2003).  I got to know Andrew during my tenure as executive director of the American Museum of Fly Fishing.  Our transatlantic phone calls were a hoot; he has an awesome sense of humor, and it shows in his writing.  He is among the three or four most dedicated and knowledgeable fly fishing historians of whom I'm aware.  The book comes in both a hard and soft-cover editions; the soft-cover version came out after the hard-cover; it has color plates added that are not in the hard-cover.  The hard-cover is a slip-cased edition limited to 599 copies. I'm fortunate to have both.

                                  CLICK ON THE PICS TO SEE THE LARGER VERSION

Closing the Season; Salmon Fishing in New Brunswick on the Miramichi and Cains Rivers by Brad Burns (Burns Fly Fishing, 2013,2014).  Brad and I serve on the Miramichi Salmon Association's United States board of directors.  He has done a delightful job of delving into, first, the history and people of the Miramichi region, and then reporting his thoughts on fishing those rivers via his daily journal.  Brad's journal is not just "weather, fish hooked, fish lost, companions, etc."  More, it is a thoughtful approach to his time on the river, reflecting on friendships, history, and yes, a little how-to.  If you buy it directly from Brad at you will get a signed copy.  Also available from Amazon (not signed, same price).

Water, Sky & Time; the Paintings of Adriano Manocchia (White Creek Images, 2013).  Adriano and I have known each other for more years than I can care to remember.  We've fished together, worked on his cars together, and lamented the world we live in together (often).  His subjects range from sporting scenes and still lifes (a favorite of mine) to commissions from golf courses, equine and bird dog owners to scenes of country and farm life.  His lovely better half, Teresa, wrote the text.  You can buy the book directly from Adriano and Teresa ( or Amazon.

American Fly Fishing; A History by Paul Schullery (The Lyons Press, 1999).  Paul and I both are former executive directors of the American Museum of Fly Fishing - that's how we first got to know one another.  After I left AMFF, we've continued our friendship to this day.  I've fished with Paul in Montana and Bridget and I enjoyed dinner with Paul and his wife, artist Marsha Karle, at their home in Bozeman some years ago.

I refer you to the second edition of the book which has an important new afterword by Paul in it.  Paul is the only guy I know with his own page: !  He has written a good many great books, not all on fly fishing.  In his years working as an historian for the National Park Service, he authored books on Yellowstone, bears, Alaska and more.  Like Andrew Herd, his sense of humor shows in his writing.

I have quite a collection of Paul's books on my shelves.  Three other favorites:

In If Fish Could Scream; An Angler's Search for the Future of Fly Fishing (Stackpole Books, 2008), Paul presents a truly thought-provoking discussion on catch and release fishing.

LOL, The Rise; Streamside Observations on Trout, Flies and Fly Fishing (Stackpole Books, 2006) has a great picture of me!!! (Among many amazing photos of trout rising to naturals and discussion about, first, how trout take a fly, and then how WE take a fly)

Finally, even though I did a whole blog post on the subject (, Mike Valla's book is a great opportunity to learn about hair wing flies.

Shameless advertisement for myself:

There you have it: some great gift giving opportunities, or just as fine editions to your own library.
Cheers, and Merry Christmas!