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Fly Fishing for Pike, by David Wolsoncroft-Dodds - Book Review

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Fly Fishing for Pike by David Wolsoncroft-Dodds Fly Fishing for Pike by David Wolsoncroft-Dodds

This is an increasingly popular way of catching pike, and Rod Sturdy reviews this first-class guide for those interested in taking it up.

The publisher says -

A comprehensive and authoritative guide to an increasingly popular sport.

Fly-Fishing for Pike is a relatively new sport, which is generating much enthusiasm and many converts. The author has enjoyed many years successfully fishing for pike and is keen to open the fly-fishers' mind to the excitement of fishing for a large, wild and challenging quarry. This comprehensive guide shares techniques, tackle, flies and tactics which are tried and tested by the author and his many pupils who have been converted to the enjoyment of catching pike on the fly.

The book covers many types of water from small English rivers and old estate lakes to huge Irish loughs, Scottish lochs, Welsh lakes and English trout reservoirs - even the Baltic! Fly-Fishing for Pike deals with techniques that will encourage and enable both the newcomer and experienced angler to catch pike throughout the changing seasons of the year.
David Wolsoncroft-Dodds is a professional pike fly-fishing guide and instructor. He writes on the subject, demonstrates at game fairs and gives talks at fly-fishing clubs. He has pursued his passion for the sport on the many types of water that pike live and in many different countries. He is a consultant to Hardy's, the celebrated fishing tackle suppliers.

The Reviewer says -

When I first picked up ‘Fly Fishing for Pike’ by David Wolsoncroft-Dodds, an expert if not the expert on the subject in the UK, I was very soon convinced that here was tangible evidence of a revolution within coarse fishing. Or was it indeed also one within game fishing? For here is a book which crosses the game-coarse fish divide. It deals with catching a ‘coarse’ fish on a ‘game’ method. Ultimately, there is no such thing as ‘game’ and ‘coarse’ fish: there are simply fish worth catching, and there are enjoyable ways of catching them. What our North American cousins call ‘sport fishing’.

The author is of course not the first to write about the possibilities of taking pike on the fly. But he is the first I know of to assemble a complete package guide: techniques, seasonal variations, types of water, ethics, and of course tackle. Not to mention sound advice  based on a considerable time spent fishing abroad. Wolsoncroft-Dodds is a game fisherman who has moved on from trout fishing and proved that catching pike on the fly is just as much a practical proposition as catching stocked rainbows, and certainly a much more exciting one. A good pike is nothing less than a streamlined fighting machine. And the ‘mobile, searching approach’ the author advocates is a most welcome antidote to the now all too familiar sedentary style of angling of  ‘big fish at all costs’ coarse fishing bivvy and bite alarm brigade who seem to be everywhere these days.

Pike welfare is clearly a subject dear to the author’s heart. He goes into some detail on the typical cycle of pressure which occurs on many pike waters. Pike thrive on neglect, and once fished intensively, a given water may not always recover. It is therefore refreshing to see this book come up with admirable advice on conservation: such as taking the opportunity to leave pike alone at certain times. Environmental concerns and proper fish handling take precedence over trophy hunting, which is exactly as it should be.  

‘Fly Fishing for Pike’ is also an excellent, very thorough and profusely illustrated text book, a how-to-do-it volume which, in addition to taking us through the various types of pike water at various times of year, includes a chapter on large, specialised pike flies and methods of tying. The interested pike-coarse fishermen will get off to a flying start with this comprehensive instructional material. And the existing fly-game fisherman will find all he needs to branch out into this new territory. The author expects to catch around four hundred fish per year on the fly, and there is ample photographic evidence in this book of the impressive specimen size which can be achieved using this method. Like all good instructors, Wolsoncroft-Dodds includes a list of useful sources and their contact details, including his own, with the offer of advice freely given to those who request it.

And the reader will, if he has managed to lose sight of the fact that fishing and catching any species is about pleasure and satisfaction, re-discover that simple fact. And of course he will also realise that conservation and preservation is a key component in the process. If he succeeds with this technique, he will have developed as an angler. And his quarry will be well on the way to losing that antiquated ‘coarse fish’ label. ‘Sport Fishing’ will have arrived.  

Rod Sturdy

Take a preview at the publisher's site by clicking on the open book.

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