The Science of Fly-Fishing

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The foundations of fly-fishing history, literature, and mechanics are firmly anchored in the disciplines of science, yet until now there has been no comprehensive work that integrates scientific components into the sport of angling for trout and other game fish. The Science of Fly-Fishing fills that void. Stan L. Ulanksi presents the basic elements of the physical and biological sciences in a way that helps the reader see their practical application to fishing.

The Science of Fly-Fishing is designed for anglers—whether they have any formal background in science or not—who are curious about the relevance of science to their sport. The angling-related scientific concepts revealed in the book require no more of the reader than a good dose of common sense and a willingness to expand his or her fly-fishing knowledge. Ulanski’s thoughtful explorations of topics such as the physics of fly casting, the angler’s environment, the diet of trout, and the role of lake geology and biology will help anglers reach a greater understanding of and appreciation for the natural aquatic home of their quarry.

Stan L. Ulanski is Professor of Geology and Environmental Science at James Madison University.

University of Virginia Press

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Editorial Reviews

M. W. Smith

A few previous books have tapped into the artistic, spiritual, philosophical, and ‘way of life’ aspects of fly-fishing—I like to call it the Zen of fishing—but The Science of Fly-Fishing goes beyond that to offer a fresh perspective on fly-fishing that will be attractive to the scientist, the philosopher, and the serious angler alike. I agree with Ulanski’s premise that fly-fishing is grounded in science, and that fishing, by nature, is an interrogatory pursuit; in clear and accessible prose, this book lends both depth and breadth to that discussion.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813922102
  • Publisher: University of Virginia Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Stan L. Ulanski is Professor of Geology and Environmental Science at James Madison University.

University of Virginia Press

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1 The Mystique and History of Fly-Fishing: Angling through the Ages 1
2 Fly Rods: Types and Mechanical Properties 20
3 The Physics of Fly Casting 38
4 The Fly Angler's Environment 53
5 Streams: Characteristics and Morphology 69
6 Survival in a Fluid Environment 86
7 What Fish Eat: The Diet of Trout 102
8 The Role of Lake Geology and Ecology in Fly-Fishing 116
9 Aquatic Optics: From the Perspective of the Angler and Fish 134
10 Salmonids: Their History, Life Cycle, and Characteristics 153
11 Threats to the Survival of the Salmonids 172
Sources 191
Index 199
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