- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 13, 2004

I have no idea why publishing houses release an avalanche of new books when the temperature is in the 90s, but they do it every year. Imagine trying to sell fishing books to people who are out fishing rather than reading tomes on the worth of the Woolly Bugger fly. (There actually is a book called “True Love and the Woolly Bugger,” but for now we’ll ignore it.)

However, in no particular order here are seven new releases that might interest you:

“Flyfishing for Trout A to Z” by Mike Faw ($24.95, 195 pages, full color, Stoeger Publishing Co., Accokeek, Md., 301/283-6300). Faw did a fabulous job introducing new trout anglers to an activity that can captivate their sporting hearts. Exceptionally well illustrated, the book takes you from proper flyrods, reels, and lines, to tying the best knots and identifying the various members of the trout family.

Faw shows you where trout live, how to tie your own flies if you wish, float tubing for the salmonids, wearing the proper clothing and finding the water temperatures that trout are most comfortable with.

Tap’s Tips Practical Advice for All Outdoorsmen” by H.G. Tapply ($24.95, 333 pages, black/white sketches, Lyons Press, Guilford, Conn., 800/962-0973). Who hasn’t heard of Tapply? His useful outdoors advice graced Field & Stream magazine for decades. His son, William, has taken over now, but it was dad’s down-to-earth approach that made us look every month.

For example, the tips include one that makes total sense. If you’re into scaling fish for dinner, Tap says, “scrape off the scales while holding the fish under water in a dishpan. Scales come off easier, and they don’t fly all over the kitchen.”

There are hundreds more, from hunting birds and cooking fish to becoming a better wingshot, or choosing lure colors, puppies, or making matches waterproof.

Fish Grilled & Smoked” by John Manikowski ($16.95, 260 pages, nicely illustrated, no color, Storey Publishing, North Adams, Mass., 413/346-2100). Manikowski’s publicist sends book touts that claim there are 34million anglers in our country. This flack doesn’t know it’s nearly double that, but don’t blame Manikowski for that.

Instead congratulate the author for a wonderfully detailed effort as far as the proper grilling of fish is concerned. In fact, there are 150 easy-to-follow seafood recipes for saltwater and freshwater fish that will have you salivating.

I particularly enjoyed Manikowski’s fish-smoking section because I’m into smoking. He provides curing solutions, special dill rubs and more and also shows you how to build your own smoke system, even elaborate smoke houses. He grills and smokes fish, then also offers recipes for side dishes made of wild mushroom, grilled eggplants or tomatoes. Definitely recommended for the do-it-yourselfer.

Catchin’ Chesapeake Rockfish” by Rich Novotny ($24.95, includes shipping and handling, 196 pages, black/white photos. From Chesapeake Sportfishing, P.O. Box 643, Pasadena, Md. 21123). Novotny, a licensed charter fishing captain since 1974 and executive director of the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen’s Association for the past 15 years, knows his subject.

Mind you, Novotny isn’t going to win a Pulitzer Prize for literature, but if you want to know how, when, where and with what to catch striped bass, he will show you. Over the years, Novotny and his charter clients have caught thousands of stripers, and this happy captain covers everything from trolling for trophy rockfish, planer boards, fishing with eel baits, chumming, circle hooks, to global positioning systems (GPS) and the best spots on the Chesapeake. He provides GPS waypoint numbers. But remember, this is for trollers, drift anglers and chummers.

Flies for Bass & Panfish” by Dick Stewart and Farrow Allen ($19.95, 80 full-color pages, the Lyons Press, Guilford, Conn., call 800/962-0973) is a comprehensive guide to the most popular bass and panfish flies being used. Large color plates depict each fly individually, accompanied by a complete accurate description of the fly’s components.

This is for accomplished tiers, not really for novices — although they, too, could learn about the looks and uses of baitfish-like streamers, frogs, poppers, leeches, mice and insects.

Successful Black Bear Hunting” by Bill Vaznis ($24.99, 144 pages, 150 color photos, order from Eders, 877/656-0808, or eders.com. Autographed copies, add $4.99 and send to Successful Black Bear Hunting, P.O. Box 131, Conesus, N.Y. 14435 ). Vaznis wrote and illustrated this fine hunting book, and it’s a total winner. Having hunted black bears myself, it took less than a minute to realize that Vaznis’ bear book is chockful of valuable, useful information, dos and don’t’s, how not to get burned by an outfitter, baiting, tracking, proper camps, stalking bears, tracking even wounded ones, or still-hunting. A terrific book filled with breathtaking photos and worth every penny of the asking price.

Fishing Made Easy” by Wade Bourne ($24.95, 160 pages, amply color-illustrated, Stoeger Publishing Company, Accokeek, Md., call 301/283-6300). Bourne is an award-winning outdoor writer and veteran radio host who knows the outdoors like few others do. This time around, the Tennessee native primarily tackles freshwater fishing. He practically guarantees that you’ll catch fish if you pay attention.

Bourne covers all types of baits, how to rig them, using a variety of lures for fish that range from bass to walleyes. Also covered are the best ways to fish with lures and how to pick a fishing spot from a boat or from the shoreline. Everything is nicely arranged, illustrated and explained. I would not hesitate for a moment to recommend this fine book.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com.

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