Monday, April 14, 2008

Fishing for newbies

I say 'newbies' because even though Ken Schultz's North American Fishing is a nice book with great photos and interesting information, it's an entry-level book. Anything that covers the entire North American continent in less than 250 pages is going to leave some specifics out, and the seasoned mariners on our little isle probably know all this information.
BUT: if you are going to do some fishing down south for species you've never tried before (swordfish off the Florida coast or catfish in Missouri, for instance), then this would be a good book to look at. Or if you grew up in Phoenix and have recently moved to Ketchikan, then this book is for you.
Schulz starts with individual profiles of 39 different species (including sharks - apparently some people actually want to catch the darn things). He includes steelhead, coho salmon, Arctic charr, halibut, rockfish and snapper. He then discusses tools: rods, reels, lures, lines, bait, tackle and GPS. The most helpful chapter is the one on Skills and Techniques. This is the hard part of fishing, and he explains the difference between trolling and drifting, as well as how to jig and use a downrigger. He shows you how to tie knots, sharpen hooks and land a fish. As an introduction to the art of fishing, this is an excellent resource for anyone who dreams of spending their summer out on the water, filling up their freezer with prime Alaskan seafood.

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