Book Review: 50 More Places to Fly Fish Before You Die

At this time of year, I start hearing about all the new fly fishing products planned for next year... new rods, reels, waders, and all of that.

You know what product category I am most impressed with, in terms of what I have seen so far? Books. I have a tall stack of fly fishing books on my desk now... and most of them are great. Great writing. Great production. It's as if the publishing world decided, "Gee, people actually do read beyond the computer screen," and are back in the business of making good fishing books.

I'll be sharing more reviews on these books in the coming weeks, but I'll start at the top of the stack (it's on top for a reason): Chris Santella's "Fifty More Places to Fly Fish Before You Die." Now, I'm admittedly biased, because I was included in this book, recommending place number one, the Karluk River on Kodiak Island in Alaska. And a guy named Tim Romano is also in here, having recommended fishing the Hill Country in Texas.

What I like most about the book, however, is that, while it is clearly about exotic destinations, many of which are far off the lifetime radar of most anglers (it's still okay to dream... that's the point), Santella has rounded the offering out by including some "lifetime" destinations that aren't necessarily eight time zones away. For example, he lists carp fishing in the South Platte River (recommended by Will Rice). Is the Dirty South Platte one of the 50 (now 100) greatest fishing destination rivers on the planet? No. But is the experience there worthy of including on a life list? Absolutely. Same is true for shark fishing off of San Diego, or floating Romano's Hill Country.

Let's face it, if you knock off five of the 50 before you, well, knock off, you're in the lucky crowd of anglers. But dreams are for everyone. And having some of those well within reach makes this book shine. I like it as much, or a little bit more, than the first 50 Places, making this a rare "sequel." The photos are sharp, the prose is compelling (Santella is one of the best in this business), the research is supremely thorough... and as such, the ride through "50 More Places" is very much worth taking. Published by Stewart, Tabori, & Chang, price is $25.