Thursday, September 5, 2013
THURSDAY REVIEW: Victor R. Johnson, Jr.'s Eight Points of Light
Many of you know Victor R. Johnson, Jr. as one of the seminal figures in the fiberglass fly rod renaissance. The author of a number of books on glass rods and their history -- including a history of Fenwick and the history of the glass fly rod those in the know call "the Bible" -- he is also interested in other aspects of fly fishing history. His latest book bears this out. It's entitled Eight Points of Light and it is a series of portraits of important figures in fly fishing history.
The eight figures covered are Theo Bakelaar, Art Nuemann, Tom Whiting, Jim Green, Hal Janssen, Myron Gregory, Dick Posey, and Pudge Kleinkauf. Between them, they span the breadth of post-World War II fly fishing, covering such subjects as bead heads, advanced fishing techniques, tournament casting, and yes, fiberglass fly rods.
Without digging in to the individual chapters (each is like its own separate gem filled with delightful bits of information on nearly every page), I will say this is a book anyone interested in fly fishing will want to own. My particular favorites were the chapters on Neumann, Green, and Janssen, as they were important figures in the history of fly rod design. All of the characters, however, are well deserving of the royal treatment that Johnson gives them.
I had a chance to hear Victor Johnson Jr. give a talk on his book at the First International Glass Rod Expo and was greatly impressed with the depth of knowledge that he possesses, and the passion he has for fly fishing history. It was (and is) inspirational. This book is no different. Anyone with even a passing interest in the subject owes it to themselves to get a copy. Plus, it comes with a DVD containing rare materials/interviews/clips of the people profiled in the book. That alone is worth the price.
The book is not yet up on the publisher's web site, but I suspect it will be soon. You can contact the author through the previous link for more information.
-- Dr. Todd