Book Review: Simple Fly Fishing — Techniques for Tenkara and Rod & Reel

Simple Fly Fishing Book Cover

Many of us share memories of our first days of fishing. Sticks with line, a hook, and maybe a piece of bread or a worm quickly made us devotees to what might eventually become an unrestrained obsession. That obsession can easily get out of hand. Dozens of rods and thousands of flies often characterize many anglers, and it’s probably rare that their passion and enjoyment for fishing is at any higher a level than those first days with the stick and line.

For Yvon Chouinard, “the more you know, the less you need,” and his dedication to simplifying all aspects of his life has even made its way to fly fishing. When I was fishing the Rio Pico in Argentina earlier this year, I fished multi-fly rigs on $800 reels and $300 reels with $100 lines. Later I learned that Yvon uses the same fly on a cheap tenkara rod on that same section of water all day, every day that he’s down there. For Chouinard, this gets him closer to the experience. Simplifying brings a better focus on technique and enhances the experience at the same time.

Simple Fly Fishing book

In Simple Fly Fishing, Yvon Chouinard, Craig Mathews, and Mauro Mazzo offer a comprehensive look at fly fishing through simplified methods including the tenkara method. Just as the Curtis Creek Manifesto is the iconic introduction to fly fishing book, it is clear that Simple Fly Fishing is already the authoritative book on tenkara and simplified angling with standard fly rods and reels.

And while simplifying your fly fishing might simply sound like take steps backward with skill and technique, the book shows that this is not at all the case. As Chouinard states in the film 180° South, “The hardest thing in the world is to simplify your life. It’s so easy to make it complex.” Applying this to fly fishing, it can actually be a bit challenging to simplify fly fishing, and doing so might require reexamining methods on the water. Simple Fly Fishing masterfully tackles each aspect of fly fishing to reveal new deliberate and technical yet simpler ways to approach the sport. The book simplifies things while teaching strategies that might even make you a better angler.

This 188-page book is detailed in every regard. From the origins of tenkara to entomology to knots to fly tying, Simple Fly Fishing leaves out nothing while offering plenty of images for tutorials and great photographs of various techniques in practice on the water. The book even includes artwork by James Prosek, making for a truly complete work in every regard.

Simple Fly Fishing: Techniques for Tenkara and Rod & Reel is available now in its second edition. To learn more about this book, please click here.

— Tim Harden

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