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Way With Trout by Arthur Cove
Reviewed by Terry Lawton
was going through the publisher Crowood's catalogue recently and was surprised
and interested to see that Arthur Cove's famous book, My Way With Trout,
is still in print and available as a paperback. As regular visitors to
the message board will know, virtually every question to do with stillwater
fly fishing produces an answer referring to this book. As it is obviously
still very popular - and in print - I felt that it would be a good book
My Way With Trout was published originally in 1986 and in paperback in
1992. As a result, some of the information on choice of tackle - rods
and lines in particular - is now dated. There is plenty of information
on putting tackle together and making up and using long and ultra-long
(10m or 30 foot) leaders. If your top dropper is just a metre from the
end of your line, quite how you net a fish that is still 9m away is not
explained. I am sure that somebody on the forum can tell me what to do!
An important part of Cove's claim to fame is told in the story of how
he developed his famous pheasant tail nymph. His most successful tyings
were slender and lightly-dressed nymphs - not the thick, over-dressed
flies too often on sale today - even though they were tied on long-shank
size eights and 10s. He then started to use hooks of a normal shank length
but took the dressing right round the bend "and much nicer they looked
too.". Full instructions for tying the fly are included in the appendix
and Cove recommends that you tie the fly on all sizes and weights of hook,
so that you can fish it at different depths.
There are many interesting and surprising comments and remarks in this
book from a man who, for many years, suffered from an ability to catch
too many fish. At times he comes across as the biggest fish-monger or
hungriest of otters of all time yet can write: "Remember that the
ticket you buy is to enable you to fish, it doesn't give you a guarantee
to catch fish." Sound advice indeed.
The book lives up to the title and describes a simple yet practical way
to catch fish in all sizes of stillwaters and reservoirs based, primarily,
on fishing nymphs. What more could you ask for?
I still cannot come to terms with the cover photograph. He has a cigarette
in his mouth in almost every photograph. Although I don't smoke, I don't
mind if people do; but this photograph is just awful. I am surprised that
it was ever chosen in the first place. But perhaps the publisher knew
the book's market better than I do. Anyway, it would seem that the dreaded
weed has yet to kill off Arthur Cove who is now an old man and, at least
two years ago, was still fishing. What surprises me is that he has not
produced a new and revised edition of his classic book. Let's hope that
he does before he lights his last cigarette.
My Way With Trout by Arthur Cove.
Published by The Crowood Press. 185 pages, paperback, £10.95.
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