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Book Review: Time Holschlag's Smallmouth Fly Fishing

Review written by Troy Winebarger (Shoalieman)

Having previously read Stream Smallmouth Fishing, also written by Tim Holschlag, I was pretty sure this writing would also be worth my while. After just a few chapters of Smallmouth Fly Fishing, it was evident my feelings were correct. Fly fishing enthusiasts of all levels of experience will find this work enjoyable and informative.

The author covers far too many techniques, methods, and ideas for me to hit on all of them in a review format. However, I found the guidance on pursuing big smallmouths quite interesting.

Firstly, key on the top or bottom of the water column if you desire hooking up with a porkster bronzeback. Topwaters are most effective when depths are five feet or less. If the trophy fish have seen too many flies on top, begin scraping the bottom and many can then be fooled in this manner.

Secondly, stay late if you want to end the day with a trophy. The river that was seemingly dead at 4 PM often comes to life near dusk. A sunset angler can often cast to the hawg that was invisible during the intense afternoon sunlight.

While studying this instruction manual on using the long rod for bronze, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a history lesson. Did you know that as early as 1785, there were anglers fly fishing for smallies on rivers around Montreal, Quebec? I will bet you were unaware that wealthy gents would dress up in some of their finest attire to go chase smallmouths on the long rod. Could you imagine a fellow, in a suit and tie, wade fishing a river in our day and time? The 1920s and 30s were the first golden age of smallmouth fly fishing.

Also, the author did not hesitate to point out that chasing trout and bronzebacks on the fly are very different matters. Another well known writer and fly angler, Harry Murray, also mentioned that they are not exactly the same. In a nutshell, trout are more geared to small insect-like clear water offerings whereas smallies tend toward bigger, flashier, and more minnow-like presentations.

Please do not feel left out shoal bass lovers! The information shared will work just fine for chasing the tiger-striped “deep south smallmouth” too.

In closing, Smallmouth Fly Fishing is a book each and every fly fishing enthusiast can  benefit from. Heck, there is even a section dedicated to locating the finest bronze fisheries in North America. This writing represents about 40 years of the life of Tim Holschlag; the book is really three volumes packed into one convenient package. There is no doubt it is a fine addition to the library of any long rod enthusias. 

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