Salmon fishing, once the private sport of a handful of grand old ladies and gentlemen with their own water on the Restigouche, has become more proletarian in recent years. The grande dames and gentlemen remain, but these days there are also a great many folks driving to Canada or flying to Norway to "kill" salmon. Indeed, the most enthusiastic salmon hunter I know is our sometime TV repairman, whose proclivity for this far-ranging sport explains a lot about his fees for house calls.
As the corps of salmon fishermen has grown, so has the need for a readable and authoritative guide. In this regard, Joseph D. Bates Jr. has done valuable service with his latest effort, Atlantic Salmon Flies & Fishing (Stackpole Books, $14.95). Any fishing book by Bates is pretty sure to be a solid work, of course: his Streamer Fly Tying and Fishing is a unique and important study. His newest book removes a lot of the hocus-pocus from salmon fishing. He has a good deal to say in it about traditional salmon fly dressings, but a great deal more to offer on bucktails, streamers, nymphs and the revolutionary hair-wing patterns. He conducts the reader on a no-nonsense tour of salmon rivers in North America and Europe, talks about the "new look" in tackle, discusses dry-fly and low water "tricks," and tops it all off with chapters on fly dressings from Maine to Spain.
A second and considerably revised edition of George W. Bennett's Management of Lakes and Ponds (Van Nostrand Reinhold, $15.95) has just been published, and bass fishermen as well as scientists can benefit from it. Dr. Bennett is the head of the aquatic biology section of the Illinois Natural History Survey, and there probably is no one who knows more about black bass, sunfish, yellow perch and the rest of the so-called "warm water" species.
When John McDonald's The Complete Fly Fisherman; The Notes and Letters of Theodore Gordon appeared in 1947, it was hailed as a classic in angling literature. Gordon, who died in the Catskills in 1915, was the father of dry-fly fishing in America. The book was not long in going out of print and copies sold for as much as $40. Now McDonald, an editor of FORTUNE, has assigned the copyright to The Theodore Gordon Fly-fishers, and that club has now brought out a handsome new edition limited to 950 copies and to be sold only by mail. The price is $25, and checks should be made out to The Theodore Gordon Flyfishers, Inc., c/o Colonel Henry A. Siegel, Goshen, Conn. 06756. A fine gift for Easter.