It sounds horribly parochial, yet JN Watson’s Angling with the Fly: Flies and Anglers of Derbyshire and Staffordshire is a fascinating tome, a perfect example of the present being informed by the past, as the author weaves a blend of the men, methods and waters that underpin the story of flyfishing in these two midland English counties.
Much of the book is devoted to the angler-authors and other fishermen who influenced the sport in this region, their haunts and favourite flies and it is their stories that make the book so much more than a dry travelogue. Other sections look at local flies that have been proven down the years, the rivers on which they were put to work and shorter chapters on the history of waterkeepers, tacklemakers and angling accommodation.
Completing this comprehensive look at fly fishing in Derbyshire and Staffs, are maps and sumptuous photography of waters and popular flies, together with full details of the latter’s ingredients, the overall package being a coffee-table book as elegant as it is enjoyable. All that is needed is a week’s angling sojourn in the areas covered to bring this fine book well and truly to life.
Ken Smith Publishing. Hardback. 346 pages. RRP £35