“What are your three favorite flies?”
Whenever a seasoned Maine fly fisherman shares his knowledge with me and my radio listeners on my radio program, “Maine Outdoors,” Sunday nights (The Voice of Maine News-Talk Network), I pose this question. Yes, the responses vary, but there are some common denominators, which I have squirreled away and will share with you one day.
If you are a die-hard fly angler who is forever trying to boil down the most useful array of artificial flies from a dizzying and almost infinite array of choices, the answers matter.
So, I could not wait to open the pages of Bob Mallard’s new book, “Favorite Flies of Maine, 50 Essential Patterns from Local Experts.” Published by Stackpole Books, it is available on Amazon for $24.95 and worth every penny.
This book has all the attributes you would expect from a high-quality “coffee table” book and worthy collectible. Well written. Exceptional photography. Thoughtfully organized. This book is full of fascinating facts and historical tidbits about each pattern, as well as about Maine places and people across the spectrum of our state’s fly-fishing and fly-tying community.
Above all else, what makes this book so special and a keepsake contribution to Maine’s angling legacy is its emphasis and framework. As Mallard concedes in his introduction, he had some sage advice from his editor. This book is not about the author’s favorite flies! Mallard’s research led him to identify fly patterns that were so-called “local pattern-centric.” He writes, “I added what I knew to be favorites, whether I used them or not, and researched local patterns to make sure there were no glaring omissions.”
Maine fly fishermen spend a lot more time chasing trout on ponds and lakes, rather than moving water. This fact dictated Mallard’s approach to the book. To be honest, some flies I knew well but there are others in the book that I had never heard of.
Whether you are a newcomer to fly fishing or a seasoned fly fisherman with a hat full of old “go-to” patterns, you will come away from this book knowing a lot more than you did. You will learn not only about fly patterns unique to Maine, but about the people who created them and, in some cases, where they fished.
I was pleased to see that the Maple Syrup, the late Wiggie Robinson’s favorite trout fly, made the book. According to Mallard, this simplest of artificials is inventor Alvin Theriault’s best-selling fly.
Bob Mallard is a stalwart guy who has few peers in Maine when it comes to his dedication to preserving wild native fish and his abiding passion for angling. He writes with style and confidence.
Of all of his outstanding books, I count “Favorite Flies for Maine” as his tour de force.
The author is editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal. His email address is [email protected].