It sometimes seems there are hundreds of books out there for people who flyfish for trout while only a handful of titles for everybody else. Flyfishermen are a small minority among all anglers. Are they the only ones who read?

I hope not, although sometimes it seems that way. There are a few books about bass fishing. I think a lot of them are plain junk. One that is not–in fact, one that is among the best fishing books I own–is called Knowing Bass by Keith Jones. If it’s not on your Christmas list, it should be.

Jones is the long-time director of Berkley’s fish-research operation in Spirit Lake, Iowa, where he studies bass biology and behavior with an eye to building more effective fishing lures. His book is not so much about tackle or tactics or 101 ways to slam them hawgs or some other horrible bass-fishing cliche. He instead takes a detailed, scientific, and well-written look at how and why bass act the way they do.

I happen to think that learning about fish themselves is an enjoyable part of fishing. And I also think that the more I learn, the more I’m going to catch. At least sometimes. Jones’s book is a big step in that direction, and I wish there were more books like it….