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Book Review: Fly Fishing for Striped Bass by Rich Murphy

Published by David Weaver [Fishidiot] on 08/30/2011 (4876 reads)
Fly Fishing for Striped Bass
Rich Murphy
Wild River Press, 2007

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.

rich murphyOther 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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Author Thread
Published: 2011/8/31 6:37  Updated: 2011/8/31 6:37
Joined: 09/09/2006
From: Delaware Co.
Comments: 1120
 Re: Book Review: Fly Fishing for Striped Bass by Rich Murphy
This book is the bible IMHO
Published: 2012/2/24 6:14  Updated: 2012/2/24 6:14
Joined: 08/15/2011
Comments: 12
 Re: Book Review: Fly Fishing for Striped Bass by Rich Murphy
The book is written in easy to read language. It is informative. Content is well organized (sometimes the authors jump from one thought to another, from this hard to grasp the essence. Murphy certainly not such writer). I can not say that 100% of the book is universal (so my impression formed from the the author examples). but in general the book is very useful: tons of good information, history, ichthyology, techniques, tactics, locations, stories, fantastic illustrations and photography.

Best regards, RcSt

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