Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thursday Review: The Complete Fly Fisherman by Theodore Gordon

Thursday Review: The Complete Fly Fisherman by Theodore Gordon

Today, I want to review a book that first came out over 60 years ago. 1947, to be exact. That year, the John McDonald-edited The Complete Fly Fisherman: The Notes and Letters of Theodore Gordon was published by Charles Scribner's Sons of New York. And fly fishing was never the same.

It would be too much to say that Gordon was an unknown before this. Certainly during his lifetime he developed a lot of notoriety, first in Britain writing for The Fishing Gazette and later in America as a correspondent for Forest & Stream. But it was McDonald's seminal article on fly angling in Forbes magazine in 1946 that helped introduce this fascinating character to a new generation of writers.

The first line of the book sums it up well: "The best thing about Gordon is that he wrote well and with remarkable knowledge about contemporary fly-fishing." Actually, I think it goes beyond that. I would add as an addendum that he also was years ahead of his time in his theories about fly fishing in general.

This is a thick book (551 pages) and some of it is repetitive, and moreover the book is out of print and getting pricey to find. Which is exactly why I suggest you track down a copy sooner rather than later. Gordon was a legend and the information in this book covers everything from fly fishing theory to rod design to fly tying.

If you've never read it, you are in for a real treat. If you have read it, pick it up and read it again. It is that good.

-- Dr. Todd

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