Over My Waders

Much has been written concerning the varied aspects of the "Contemplative Sport".
In these pages I will add to the burden a few words that I hope come from serious contemplation by streamside and are not just errant bubbles from leaky waders.

The December 2012 issue of California Fly Fisher included this review by Ralph Cutter of www.flyline.com of "The New Scientific Angling - Trout and Ultraviolet Vision".

The New Scientific Angling: Trout and Ultraviolet Vision
By Reed Curry
Published by Buckram Publishing, 2009; $27.95 softbound.

I bought this book within weeks of its publication back in 2009. The spine is thoroughly broken, and my scribbles and dog ears abound throughout my copy. I have obviously found it useful and intriguing, but never considered doing a book review, because it is such a geeky subject. I mean, how many people out there could actually care about trout seeing ultraviolet? As it turns out, the fly-fishing industry is betting on the idea that lots of folks are going to buy into the importance of UV reflectance in flies, materials, and streamside clothing. Wapsi, Hareline, and Spirit River are among the big-name com-panies pumping their UV-enhanced products into the market. Spirit River has an excellent and quite honest evaluation of UV products. Check out their Website at http://spiritrivernet/uv.

The first 20 percent of this book describes how ultraviolet light works, how animals use it (turns out humans are one of the few creatures that can't see UV), and how we can apply it to our advantage. The book then delves into how trout see, how they perceive, and how they react.

The part of the book to which I have returned over and over again are pages 47 through 128. The author, with extremely cool (and expensive) UV photo gear, has photographed dozens, if not hundreds, of items used in fly fishing. Flies, feathers, fur, thread, and even clothing and fly lines are displayed in their full glory reflecting UV light.

My favorite photos, of course, are the insects. These are dead, dried bugs skewered with pins, then photographed in a studio, so I know they are quite different from what a trout sees, but they are the best I have found anywhere. Until someone does this work with a spectrophotometer on living insects, it is the best any of us are likely to see. Since we can't see UV, if you are going to tie flies intelligently with the new UV-enhanced products, buy this book!

It is a book, by the way, that is apparently self-published without an editor. I could hold its feet to the fire for a number of technical and aesthetic reasons — including the title, The New Scientific Angling (?) — but the book is much more than grammar, layout, and flow, This is a content-driven work that will thrill the geeks among us and bore the rest. You probably know which you are.

Ralph Cutter

California Fly Fisher Dec. 2012

Available from Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/New-Scientific-Angling-Ultraviolet-Vision/dp/0984086307/

The Contemplative Angler
The Contemplative Angler provides, I hope, some refuge from the mundane. It has a collection of short essays, some editorializing, and some humor. Chortles, guffaws, and harrumphs are appropriate and welcome.

The Contemplative Angler

All content copyright Reed Curry © 2006.
Cartoon by Walter Young © 1961, used by permission.