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Book Review: Fly Fishing for Striped Bass, by Rich Murphy
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Fly Fishing for Striped Bass
Rich Murphy
Wild River Press, 2007
457pp

The claim that any book is “definitive” has always caused me to dismiss the reviewers glowing claims that inevitably follow – and I’ll not use the term in this review – but Fly Fishing for Striped Bass by Rich Murphy comes close to meeting this ideal. I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with Rich at the Somerset show in the past and marveling at his beautiful and innovative fly patterns. When I asked him if he’d ever caught a tautog on a fly (something I’ve tried to do for years, without any luck) he responded with a tone suggesting that it was downright easy. Looking at his crab patterns, it doesn’t surprise me that ole Mr Tog would fall for ‘em. Anyway, this book, is simply put, a pleasure to read or just peruse. Replete with color photos on every page, it’s a coffee table book that reads just as well. In its 9 chapters, FFfSB starts with an intriguing chapter that follows the migration of “Sax,” a fictional, fifty pound cow bass on her migration up the coast. Other chapters describe the various techniques for flats, rocks, bays, etc as well as Rich’s excellent flies and other gear. Murphy, a driven, rail thin runner and type A angler is highly intelligent and you can sense his intense focus on every page. The book can be difficult to read in a bit too many sections and sometimes it seems that Murphy tries a bit too hard by half to find a sophisticated voice, writing too many passages like this:

We know from Chapter 2 that a major physiological change happens in her eyes at sundown – the color receptors or cones on the surface of her eye’s retina retract and contrast detecting receptors, or rods are deployed in their place. This enhances her capacity to detect subtle changes in the contrast gradient of the water column around her caused by the movement of her prey or predators…My surface night patterns are configured to generate a significant and/or unusual acoustical air/water intersurface rip, and like my subsurface patterns, to develop a long and sinuous horizontal profile to as maximize their silhouette against the night sky.

If you can get past some of this wordy verbiage, however (Tom Pero admits that editing the book was a challenge), there is a tremendous amount of useful information. I particularly found his water temp charts by season to be fascinating. Murphy also covers fly fishing the coast of California for stripers, a region often overlooked in other striped bass fly fishing books. This is a big book and not cheap to buy but I’d highly recommend it, especially if you’re a bit past the stage of beginning striper angler and are looking to learn some more innovative tactics and outside conventional fishing methods.

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Posted on: 2011/7/25 22:51


Re: Book Review: Fly Fishing for Striped Bass, by Rich Murphy

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Thanks for the great in depth review. I probably should get this given our threats of surf this Fall.

One of the reviews I read state that this book is heavily slanted toward the New England states, particularly MA and avoids Chesapeake Bay, bridge fishing, boat fishing, etc. Did you find this to be true? Does it translate to your NJ fishing?

Posted on: 2011/7/26 13:38


Re: Book Review: Fly Fishing for Striped Bass, by Rich Murphy
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Yes, Murphy is a New Englander and, not surprisingly, tells a lot of stories set in that arena. I mostly fish NJ however and would ague that his methods/flies are just as relevant there. If you substitute words like "Barnegat Inlet" for "Race Point" I think you'll find it works fine. He does cover the Chesapeake Bay but perhaps not as much as some would hope and bridge fishing isn't a mainstay for FFers. The CB is simply too big for every bay and river to get mentioned in a book like this and RM is a shore/wading angler whose only boat is a canoe (another reason I like the guy, as I'm in the same category). The CB is mainly a boat striper fishery - which is why I personally prefer to make the longer drive to the NJ shore.

Posted on: 2011/7/27 19:51


Re: Book Review: Fly Fishing for Striped Bass, by Rich Murphy

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Ahhhhh...loved race point! does he touch on fresh water at all?


Posted on: 2011/7/27 22:07


Re: Book Review: Fly Fishing for Striped Bass, by Rich Murphy

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Quote:

Fishidiot wrote:
Yes, Murphy is a New Englander and, not surprisingly, tells a lot of stories set in that arena. I mostly fish NJ however and would ague that his methods/flies are just as relevant there. If you substitute words like "Barnegat Inlet" for "Race Point" I think you'll find it works fine. He does cover the Chesapeake Bay but perhaps not as much as some would hope and bridge fishing isn't a mainstay for FFers. The CB is simply too big for every bay and river to get mentioned in a book like this and RM is a shore/wading angler whose only boat is a canoe (another reason I like the guy, as I'm in the same category). The CB is mainly a boat striper fishery - which is why I personally prefer to make the longer drive to the NJ shore.


Thanks, that makes a lot of sense.

Posted on: 2011/7/27 23:53


Re: Book Review: Fly Fishing for Striped Bass, by Rich Murphy
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Quote:

David wrote:
does he touch on fresh water at all?


No, this book deals only with saltwater.

Posted on: 2011/8/8 11:53


Re: Book Review: Fly Fishing for Striped Bass, by Rich Murphy

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Quote:

Fishidiot wrote:
Quote:

David wrote:
does he touch on fresh water at all?


No, this book deals only with saltwater.


Fresh water stripers seem like an even more daunting task.

Posted on: 2011/8/10 14:27






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