The Lore of Sportfishing is a book near and dear to my heart. I remember first finding a copy of the book as a kid in my uncle’s office library. The illustrations got my attention right away. I spent hours just flipping through this book, looking at all the colorful pictures of fish I had never seen before. The text didn’t mean all that much to me yet though. I was barely beyond using kernels of sweetcorn at the lake for bluegill at that age. But the older I got the more I realized how useful the information in the book was. While it was not a one for one guide to catching fish, it was a good backbone of information in fish, sportfishing techniques, and gear. Or, at the very least something interesting to flip through and read when the weather was cold and wet out.
Opening illustration and title Introduction Fully Illustrated page on the Aquatic Environment
Contents of the Book
This book was originally published in 1976 with many different reprintings throughout the years. So, the information is a bit dated, but most of the broad strokes are still relevant today. The book starts with the beginning of the sport angler, and the history of sportfishing till the modern-day. Then, moves onto the different habitats of fish, the factors of those habitats, and the effects of those factors on the fish. After which is the largest section of the book.
There are 200 pages dedicated to just the fish themselves. With 20 of those pages are dedicated to covering the anatomy and physiology of fish. Those pages are a comprehensive guide on the biology of fish; how they breathe, swim, breed, eat and survive. Then, the book moves on to the hundreds of species of fish. Each species has its common and scientific name on its entry. Then, under that a description of all its identifying features along with its distribution and other general information. Every species entry has a number that coincides with an illustration of the same number.
Color Illustrations of species of Char Color illustrations of Snappers
Once past the catalog of fish and the illustrations. There are sections of instructions on how to fish various conditions and methods. This includes both freshwater and saltwater techniques and methods. Pages on how to read lakes and rivers for locating fish. Techniques for using lures, rigging live bait, and what you can catch with them. There are over 30 different types of fishing covered here. From fishing a trout stream, throwing poppers for pond bass, to bottom fishing for reef fish offshore.
Book Review: The Lore of Sportfishing
Along with the methods of sportfishing, the tackle is covered as well. Pages on the different types of reels, rods, and terminal tackle. Sections that cover different types of boats used for fishing as well as how to utilize the boats. There is a particularly large section on how to do different fly casting techniques. These pages are fully illustrated with step-by-step instructions on the casting technique. Additionally, there is troubleshooting available on these pages to help with particular issues that may be encountered.
Illustrated page on fishing the thermocline, live bait use, and fishing spoonplugs. Illustrated pages with instructions for fly casting techniques
The book also covers fishing adjacent topics. Such as tying flies and different methods of taxidermy. Many different flies are covered in the book, all of them coming with instructions as well as illustrations so you know what your fly should look like at that step. The sections on taxidermy cover the origins of preserving your catch and has step by step instructions as well. as different types of skin mounts and even Gyotaku fish prints. With the Gyotaku method, you’re not preserving the skin of the fish but taking a print of the fish using either traditional Japanese black ink or paint.
Step-by-step instructions for tying a fly with illustrations. Instructions for Gyotaku – Japanese Fish Prints
Though I may be personally biased by my nostalgia and experience with this book. I highly recommend for everyone who enjoys sportfishing or a high-quality book to go buy a copy. These books are very well made, using nice quality paper and bound well. Even without the dust cover the hardcover underneath is a nice blue linen material with a silver foil gyotaku fish that is embossed into the cover.
For their age and quality, these books are still available for affordable prices readily online. This copy, in excellent condition, cost all of $12 shipped to my door. While the material inside is old, the information is still very usable and viable to use. Get this book for your collection or as a gift to someone else who enjoys fishing. This is either a very nice coffee table book or just add it to your library as reference material. For the price, you can find these books for, you really can not go wrong with purchasing a copy.