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Book review: “Simple Fly Fishing: Techniques for Tenkara and Rod & Reel”

Outlaw Partners



By Joseph T O’Connor Explore Big Sky Managing Editor
Patagonia Books


144 pages

Simplify. It’s the reason many anglers head to the nearest river or lake to appreciate the joys and meditation of fly fishing. In a new book, three fly fishing gurus take simplicity a step further.

“Simple Fly Fishing: Techniques for Tenkara and Rod & Reel,” written by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, West Yellowstone’s Blue Ribbon Fly shop owner Craig Mathews, and renowned angler Mauro Mazzo, sheds the bulk, cost and misconceptions of the sport.

Part elegant and pragmatic paintings and illustrations, part how-to, part fly-fishing doctrine, the book explores the history of angling and the simplicity it requires. Whether fishing using the Tenkara method, or with rod and reel, “Simple Fly Fishing” will untangle the complications of fishing for beginner and expert alike.

Tenkara is a centuries-old Japanese fishing technique that uses a line attached to the end of a long fly rod, as opposed to using line spooled on a reel. It’s the “easiest way to learn to fly fish,” according to the book. “It can be taught to an 8 year old in minutes.”

As former Livingston-based landscape artist and fly-fishing aficionado Russell Chatham explains in the book’s forward, “At its most profound, fishing is a way of remaining forever a child.” – J.T.O.

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