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The Top Ten Guide to Fly Fishing

The Top Ten Guide to Fly Fishing

4.7 18
by Jay Zimmerman

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One of the most accessible guide books on the market, this guide not only provides all the information beginning and intermediate anglers need in order to start catching trout, the information is also presented in a quick and easy, highly-browsable format of top-ten lists.

Curious how to tie and use the ten best knots and rigging techniques? Ever thought


One of the most accessible guide books on the market, this guide not only provides all the information beginning and intermediate anglers need in order to start catching trout, the information is also presented in a quick and easy, highly-browsable format of top-ten lists.

Curious how to tie and use the ten best knots and rigging techniques? Ever thought about the ten most essential things to look for when selecting a new fly rod? What are the top dry flies for trout? What mistakes do most new anglers make when learning to cast?

A fun conversation starter and a set of streamside tips rolled into one, this lighthearted look at a serious sport will give beginners the value of solid instruction while more seasoned fly-fishers will enjoy quibbling with the author’s rankings and choices.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"I've never seen so much good advice in one place. All how-to fishing books should be written by people who work in fly shops."—John Gierach

Product Details

Lyons Press, The
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Barnes & Noble
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3 MB

Read an Excerpt

The Top Ten Guide to Fly Fishing

By Jay Zimmerman

Lyons Press

Copyright © 2013 Jay Zimmerman
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780762782246

Top Ten Ways to Take a Better Fishing Photo



Fishermen have been attempting to capture the memory of their catches since the first fish flopped up onto a stone age bank thousands of years ago. Thankfully, we are no longer left to paint on cave walls. Since the invention of the camera, the “Grip and Grin” shot has evolved into an art form all its own. We want to be reminded of our mood, our choice of equipment for the day, our surroundings, the weather…and of course our the fish.



10: Preparation


Always be prepared to take a magazine cover photo…or be the fisherman on the cover.  Dress like you know how to fish.  You don’t have to always be clean shaven and snazzed to the nines, but a haircut and nice shirt are a great idea. And fish with a partner who also carries a decent camera, knows how to use it, and is willing to stop casting and actually push the button.  Also, if a rifle without ammo is just a club (as they say in the Army) then a camera without film is just a rock. Charge it up the night before and be sure the memory card has space available!


9: Stop and Poke at Bugs


If the fishing action is slow, take time out to smell the flowers (and then photograph them).  Take plenty of shots of the local flora and fauna.  Close ups of aquatic bugs hatching on the stream are always of interest. These photos are great to have as reference during a long winter at the tying bench, or if you are ever needing material for an entomology presentation.  Also, it is not a bad idea to snap a quick shot of the last of those hot flies that are working so well—you are bound to lose that last one and the poor guy at your local fly shop will appreciate a photo and not a vague description of a small, brown fuzzy lookin’ thing. Choose a camera with a good macro setting.


8: Postcard Moments.


Pay close attention to your fishing partner during your day on the water.  Never pass on the opportunity to take that “postcard pic.”  Few photos capture a sense of place better, and these are usually the photos that other fishermen enjoy the most.  The person in the photo is only a small element of the overall scene and is often unidentifiable, thus allowing the viewer to impose himself into the scene. 


7: Bent Rods.


Do your best to capture the action and thrill of the fight. This is one of the hardest photos to get perfect, because it often happens quickly and neither you nor your fisherman has much control over the situation.  The number one detail that must always be featured prominently in a fighting shot is the bent rod.  The entire rod needs to be in the frame (ideally silhouetted against a light background) and both fighters need to be present. The fisherman is easy—get at least his upper torso in the frame—but the fish is harder.  Rarely will you be able to snap the shot just as the fish is jumping, but attempt to capture the point where the line enters the water.  If the water is clear enough to see the shape of the fish, or if it is splashing on the surface, then your photo will be even better.


During a lull in a long fight, encourage your fisherman to reel in line. Some line hanging loose over a knee or rock looks cool, but 40 feet of it wrapped around cattails and wading boots looks ridiculous.  There will not be time to reel in this line once the fish is landed. Also, during the fight, the photographer should be formulating a game plan.  Where is the sun?  It should always be at the photographers back.  What will make the most interesting background?  We want to get a feel for were the fish was caught.  Will this photo desperately need some color because the fisherman is wearing drab clothing?  Will I need the flash on or off?  Have I turned off the macro from the last shot of the Green Drake mayfly?  The camera should be ready and the photographer in the proper position.


6: Remove Those Sunglasses!


The protagonist in a great fishing photo should not look like the sunken-eyed spawn of the underworld. There is a ton of personality and emotion emitted from the eyes. We want to see that—it makes better photos. The problem is that almost all of us fish with the aid of polarized optics…as we should. If you have just hooked a decent fish and your fishing partner is at the ready, take the time during a lull in the fight to pocket those sunnies. If you are the partner, wait until the fisherman has the fish hoisted, then lean in and pluck them off his face. Trust me, he will be powerless to stop you…he has his hands full!


5: Fill Flash.


Do not forget the importance of a fill flash! This enables you to see your angler’s face in harsh sun under a long or wide brimmed hat. We have all seen dark, featureless mystery hero shots—or too much shadow in the eyes. Too much contrast. The fill flash icon on most cameras looks like a lightning bolt, but is usually not the Auto Flash setting. But be sure you are in range! Most flashes can only properly reach out to about 10 feet.


4: The Money Shot.


The ultimate Grip & Grin…the money shot…the photo your buddy will have blown up, framed and hung in the living room.  Consistently getting great shots has much to do with proper teamwork and communication. If you and your fishing partner are properly equipped and prepared to assume either the roll of fisherman or photographer at a moment’s notice. you will have success.  As the fisherman, your responsibilities are to mind the fly line, remove your hood (if you’re wearing a jacket) and tell the photographer where you would like to land the fish.   Once you land the fish your only tasks are to keep the fish clean (no mud or leaves) keep your hands off the photo side of the fish, and shut up.  Once the fish is out of the water the clock is ticking…listen to everything your photographer tells you (he is now in complete control).  Besides, we want to see your smile, not your silly “oh-face.”


And by the way, the photo of a fish of a lifetime is never worth the life of a fish of a lifetime.  Treat the fish as though it were your first born…and get it back into the water within seconds!


3: More Spots, Less Knuckles!


As the photographer your moment to shine begins when the fish is brought to hand.  You should only take enough time to get three quick shots before the fish is released…so think fast and act faster.  Check to see that the face of your fisherman is not in shadow.  Have him turn or even move into the sun.  Reach out and adjust his collar or lift up the bill of his ball cap.  Whoop it up a bit if you have to…get your fisherman to show some emotion! Leave plenty of border, you always want room to crop later on.  NEVER scalp your fisherman! Get all of his head in the frame.  Try to get the fly rod and reel in the photo.  You may have to prop the rod up against your subject, or stick it under his arm.  Make sure no mud or leaves are on the fish…this was the fisherman’s job, but now he should be looking at you, not the fish.  Lastly, encourage him to hold the fish up and out.  He will want the memory to be 2 inches bigger, not 2 inches smaller!


2: Don’t Forget the Fish.


Take photos of the fish, not just the fisherman.  This becomes more important if the catch happens to be less than gigantic.  The fish may still be a memorable trophy…a 14 inch brown trout from your favorite small stream taken on a dry fly, or a breathtaking little cutthroat from a high altitude lake most people never dare hiking to.   In these cases it becomes important to focus on the fish.  Only resort to the “another fish in the grass” shot if you are alone.  Remember we want the human element in these photos.  Know the difference between a photo of a fish and a fishing photo!  Also, second only to a human face a human hand exhibits the most personality—and as Martha Stewart says, “That’s a good thing.”


1: And…the Release!


Never pass up the opportunity for a release shot.  Similar to the “fish in hand” shot, the main focus should be the fish, but the entire “personality” of the fisherman should also be present.  We should only see the important parts of the person, but feel as though we can see all of him.  We should not notice that all that is in the photo is the forearm and side of the face.  We can see the emotion and the action.  After all, this is when the fisherman is letting go…he is relinquishing control of the fish as well as the center of attention.  For the same reasons it is also important that the fish be partially in the water, but not so far as to obscure the open eye of the fish.  We want its personality, too!


Excerpted from The Top Ten Guide to Fly Fishing by Jay Zimmerman Copyright © 2013 by Jay Zimmerman. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Jay Zimmerman has worked as an archaeologist, infantry paratrooper, commercial halibut fisherman, hunting guide (Alaska and Canada), and carpenter. He is currently a fly fishing guide, fly tying instructor, co-manager of the Rocky Mountain Anglers fly shop in Boulder, Colorado, a Loon Outdoors Ambassador, a commercial fly designer for Umpqua Feather Merchants and the writer and producer of the popular fly fishing blog, "Colorado Fly Fishing Reports. " Jay also maintains his own You Tube channel wherein he publishes short fishing and fly tying videos.

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The Top Ten Guide to Fly Fishing 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is this the last place anyone saw Silverstar's StormClan? I have been looking for them for almost a year, even though odds are the clan died.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Our camp is now in 'essay' res 1
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Please tell me!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You can be in WolfClan for free, just today though! Go to the relaxing WolfClan for a foot rub or a massage! ITS ONLY AT WHITE FANG FIRST RESULT SO BE SURE TO DROP BY TODAY!!!!! -Chaos of WolfClan
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A gleaming brown tom pads in. May i join.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You know you cant actually get us, right?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A tiny white kit with golden eyes limpsbin and then falls face first into the dirt
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You still have it, though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What happened now?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ingnore him if he does attack you can go to legendary res 1 for some help from my clan maybe
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wolfpelt's locked out. Also, what is this place? Kind of curious.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"We are done, I am sorry. But I never see you." She said to Shadeclaw then stalks out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Know what? I'm not living in a Clan that disrespects my past. I'm sorry Rosepetal. Goodbye." He stormed out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't post in main camp.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The ominous Dark Forest warrior padded into their camp. "Dragonwing, this is from Jaguarshade. YOUR TME IS UP!" He padded out.