Fly Fishing Outside the Box:
by Peter Hayes
Hardback in dust-wrapper. £25.00
Leather-bound edition in slipcase, signed and numbered by the author and limited to only 100 copies. £95.00
"The good news about Fly Fishing Outside the Box: Emerging Heresies is that it will make your head spin. The bad news about this book is that it will make your head spin. There is no escaping its effect: this is a complex, heady book... When it comes to wading outside the box, Peter Hayes is the Malcolm Gladwell of the fishy set and deserves our attention... Fly Fishing Outside the Box is at turns witty, urbane, erudite, and occasionally esoteric. It is also well researched, so that even the foot-notes, attached to the end of each chapter, are delightful and informative and constitute their own sub-narrative on angling history and literature... Coch-y-Bonddu Books produces handsome and attractive angling books, and this one is no exception. Bountifully enhanced by colour photographs, sketches, illustrations, excerpted pages from historical texts, as well as purposeful lists, columns, graphs, and an appropriate bibliography. Fly Fishing Outside the Box is a visual treat and a worthy challenge for any angler serious enough to willingly desire retro-fitting. You will talk back to this intriguing book, but you can't help learn from it." (selected quotes from an extensive review by Bob DeMott in the Bulletin of the Angler's Club of New York, Spring 2014).
"Going against the grain of much received wisdom and aimed at the experienced angler who likes to think laterally about trout and their behaviour, this refreshing study combines practical advice with modesty and humour. Can an artificial fly float too well? Would nymph patterns be better dressed backwards? Well versed in the sport's literature and with excellent colour illustrations, this impressive book is likely to prove quietly influential." (David Profumo, Country Life, February 2014).
"Fly Fishing Outside the Box isn't a conventional title and neither is this book's content. This brave, exciting work by Peter Hayes challenges many fly-fishing beliefs. It's not a whimsical or throwaway commentary intended to provoke controversy; instead it provides information based on years of close observation and is carefully argued... what you will find is an outstanding publication crammed with useful information, set out in a way that will stimulate newcomers and seasoned rods alike. With its refreshing slant, Fly Fishing Outside the Box really does question convention and belongs on the shelf of every fly-fisher's library." (Paul Procter).
"Hooray! At last a fly fishing book that challenges. Everything.
Peter Hayes does not suffer fools gladly (I hope I am the exception) or underestimate trout. Therefore, this book is a breath of fresh air that will ruffle the odd tranquil surface and reveal a world on all river fly fishing levels and I promise you will change (for the better) because of it.
What I love about '...Outside the Box' is its breathtaking originality and breathing life into a fairly tired, threadbare subject. It seeks not to dumb down; the book challenges you, convention, and myths and widely held dogmatic opinion. Basically, the book tosses a fly-fishing gauntlet into your casting path. Pick up the gauntlet: accept the challenge and be a far better river fisher as a result." (Charles Jardine).
"Those who review game angling books receive a constant stream of new titles. Most are adequate, or better than 'adequate', 'how to do it' books or reminiscences; too many are far less good. Just a very few stop one in one's tracks, are truly difficult to put down, explain compellingly the truth behind things we thought we knew but didn't, and really make one think about one's sport.
For me, Brian Clarke's The Pursuit of Stillwater Trout (A&C Black, 1975) is an obvious example of the latter. It changed completely the way in which I thought of and approached stillwater fly fishing. The same went for Vincent Marinaro's In the Ring of the Rise (Lyons & Burford, 1976). There are just a few others, including Peter Hayes' new book, Fly Fishing Outside the Box. It is aptly named." (Peter Lapsley).
"Fly Fishing Outside The Box takes a hammer and chisel to many set-in-stone fly fishing and fly-tying perceptions and practices. The book will do for the 'want to do better' flyfisher what a spell at the Harvard Business School does for the aspiring business supremo - but speaking from personal experience, will be a lot more fun!
This brilliant book challenges assumptions, shows why many time worn practices need to be rethought, and provides parameters for new action, all based on logic and a raft of common sense.
I challenge any flyfisher - whatever their level of expertise - not to benefit from this, the most important book for trout and grayling anglers since John Goddard and Brian Clarke's classic, The Trout and the Fly." (Timothy Benn - Publisher, The Trout and the Fly).
"During the past 125 years a few essential books have appeared that most significantly advanced our understanding of the feeding behavior of trout and how that behavior relates to the design of the flies we fish. The primary early texts included dry-fly father-figure Frederic Halford's second book,"Dry-Fly Fishing, Theory and Practice" (1889); George LaBranche's (the only American in this early group) "The Dry Fly and Fast Water" (1914); J.C. Mottram's amazingly prescient "Fly Fishing: Some New Arts and Mysteries" (1915); G.E.M. Skues' eloquent and penetrating "The Way of a Trout with a Fly" (1921), and Col. E.W. Harding's scientifically rigorous "The Flyfisher & the Trout's Point of View" (1931). It is disappointing that so few American fly fishers bother to find their way to these theoretical classics, because they form the foundation of much of what we modern fly fishers do. Later books that been well received and recognized as heirs of this tradition include Brian Clarke and John Goddard's "The Trout and the Fly" (1980), and more books by Americans: Vincent Marinaro's "A Modern Dry Fly Code" (1950) and "In the Ring of the Rise" (1976); Datus Proper's "What the Trout Said" (1982); and Paul Schullery's "The Rise" (2006, which is too recent to know if this one will last). Readers who have followed this subject will no doubt have other titles they would nominate for the list, but these titles are a good start.
It is especially a good start because now we have Peter Hayes' beautifully produced "Fly Fishing Outside the Box," which picks up the energetic dialogues, debates, and outright disagreements offered by the authors listed above and moves the whole enterprise of fly-fishing theory along on many fronts. This wide-ranging, stimulating, and iconoclastic book, as entertaining as it is provocative, offers a respectful review of the best (and worst) thinking of Hayes' many predecessors. He takes on traditional (Both Halfordian and Catskill-style) dry-fly design, which at least since Marinaro's time a few people have taken to task for flaws of almost mythic proportions. He addresses some perplexing and almost universally ignored questions, such as "Which way do natural duns face as they float downstream?" and "Do our imitations face that way?" and "What do trout make of the leader that they can see clearly attached to every fly we cast to them?" He reconsiders tippets, leaders, nymphs, presentation issues, the tricky physics of the surface film, the surprisingly important heritage of Tenkara-type fishing, and many other matters of interest. Thinking fishermen, especially those with a fine eye for the longstanding theories behind modern fly design and trout natural history, will find much here to interest, surprise, and perhaps even annoy them; which is as it should be in a book about something as quirky and bewildering as fly-fishing.
Most of Hayes' stories and examples take place on British streams, but you would be foolish to let that put you off or make you think these things don't apply to your fishing. Remember that when Pennsylvania limestone-stream fisherman Marinaro published his masterpiece "A Modern Dry-Fly Code" in 1950, his most meaningful sources of information and inspiration were those earlier British writers before him. Trout are trout and streams are streams, whether they flow through a Wyoming sagebrush flat or a Hampshire water meadow.
REVIEWER'S DISCLAIMER: I've read all the books I've mentioned. I have not met Mr. Hayes, but at his request I did read the manuscript for him prior to its publication, which is how I came to hold such a high opinion of it." (Paul Schullery, Amazon US review, 28th of October 2013).
"Been there, caught it and wondering what's next? Fishing beginning to lack the appeal it once had? Up for a challenge? Well, here it is in the form of the immensely experienced Peter Hayes' take on new perspectives in fly fishing – and what a vista it most surely provides… a great book and one that you will almost certainly return to again and again. I'll be interested to see what Peter writes next." (Dr Andrew Herd).
"Peter Hayes is an original thinker and someone who challenges convention; combine this with the fact he is a very experienced and successful angler and you have a book that is essential reading for the trout (and grayling) fly angler." (Tim Jacklin in Salmo Trutta, the magazine of The Wild Trout Trust).
"Peter Hayes has done fly-fishing a great service by taking a deep breath and blowing the dust off a century or more of an accepted or imposed theory and dogma. By doing so we are able to take a fresh look at fly-fishing... I doubt if any angler who reads Fly Fishing Outside the Box will ever again be able to turn up at a river and just go through the motions." (Mike Shanks, editor of Irish Angler Magazine).
"One of the many joys of angling is that it generates a great diversity of literature, some of it valuable, some less so. Fly Fishing Outside the Box belongs firmly in the “valuable” category, and will be seen, I think, as being one of the best books of its kind. The breadth is great, the language is plain and direct; anyone, regardless of experience, can profit from reading it and perhaps become a better, even a happier, angler." (Bob Male, editor of Grayling, magazine of The Grayling Society).
"...a book full of hints, tips, and experience from an angler who has put in the hours, caught the fish, and wants to share his extensive knowledge...may make you think things a little differently...within the 263 pages there are some real gems of information ...so would I recommend the book? The answer is a resounding yes. I think it would be difficult for an angler of any ability to read it and not take away something from it." (Pete Tyjas, Eat Sleep Fish).
"It’s difficult to find the right adjective to describe Peter Hayes’ new book, Fly Fishing Outside the Box - Emerging Heresies. Many come to mind – intriguing, enlightening, fascinating – but none really do this brilliant work full justice and the title delivers precisely what it promises... Hayes undertakes a major debunking of many long held rituals, beliefs and philosophies in fly fishing and fly tying and he does it convincingly – with surgical precision in some instances – and always with underlying modesty and an unassuming grace...I could go on, but I’d rather you discovered this book’s wisdoms and gems yourself. Looking around my study right now and doing a quick count, I have a little over 550 fly fishing books on my shelves. I’d guess 60% of those are ‘How to’ books, say around 330. This book is now firmly among the top 10 best of all those.
Should you buy this book? Yes.
Will it help you catch more fish? Yes
Will it teach you a lot and make you think, no matter how good an angler you are? Yes
How much does it cost? It doesn’t matter." (Tom Sutcliffe, The Spirit of Fly Fishing).
"...Truly heretical...With a sense of humor Hayes wants to challenge the fly-fisher and eventually getting him to reconsider the official opinion of the church (after all fly-fishing is still a religion, isn`t it?). Finally you shall convert to his deviant teachings...A very exceptional book, which you will like to read, again and again; due to the many different subjects the book is rather hard to categorize, but one thing is certain: fly-fishing novices and also the more sophisticated fishers will have fun reading the 22 chapters. And there is a lot to debate." (Axel Wessolowski, Fliegenfischer Magazine).
"Peter Hayes, one of the deepest thinkers about fly fishing around today, has just published his masterpiece “Fly Fishing Outside the Box, Emerging Heresies”, which, as the cover says, takes a hammer and chisel to many set-in-stone fly fishing and fly tying perceptions and practices." (Paul Knight, Director of The Salmon and Trout Association, in Gamefisher Magazine).
"Those who do not know Peter will be taken aback at the extent of his fishing credentials, those who do will not. This is a book by a fisherman who has not only walked the walk, but fished all the waters en route and during the process catching some of its largest and most cunning denizens. From start to finish I didn't find anything that I’d previously read in any other fishing books, and quite a lot of fishing food for thought. Peter isn't one to rehash other peoples thoughts, rather the reverse. Every subject and chapter has been carefully thought through, his thoughts and suppositions validated through many years of standing on or in a river proving, endeavouring to prove or disprove, and analysing his findings for himself. Then, and only then he lucidly details his reasoning under each chapter heading. Quite unafraid to challenge generally held perceptions and fishing dogma, from the books title through to its intriguing chapter headings, this book will engage and inform, but more essentially, it will empower you to go fishing with a different mindset, a different authority. There are probably a dozen fishing books on your shelves that you should throw in a skip, the space is more than adequately taken up with this one volume." (Roger Fagan, for Riffles & Runs).
great read ! challenges established ideas and makes a lot of sense, cant wait to apply some of this wisdom and see if it really does make a difference! ("SC", Amazon review, 26th April 2014).
"It was a book well researched and very well written.
I did not know the author previous to buying the book, but the title made it sound of interest.... It did not disappoint it was a beautifully printed book on fine stock and arrived with the signature of the author Peter Hayes.
I have enjoyed reading the book and being a fly-fisherman for nearly 50 years it still made some interesting points from many angles of the sport." (David Henry Talmadge, Amazon review, 8th of March 2014).
"Provocative contemporary book. Not all will agree with some of his theories but it is healthy to challenge traditional techniques and views." ("hatter1958", Amazon review, 24th of February 2014).
"Very good book brings fishing and flytying to a different level a lot of new ideas easy to follow flytying and flies." (Mark Green, Amazon review, 30th of January 2014).
"This book was billed as a major work on modern fly fishing. It certainly is a major work, all 272 pages of it, and well worth a read by anyone open to trying different things and prepared to think for themselves. The writer has a somewhat irritating style but do not let this detract from the messages that the book contains. In terms of the content there is very little that is new in this book, it merely takes many factors that have been known for many years and offers some salient thoughts as well as some very useful analysis. If you can take from this book things that improve your fishing then the book will have succeeded. Throw away the dust jacket and study the text, it will reward you if you are receptive. It must be said that this book is essentially about chalk streams, though most principles are common to all rivers. Perhaps the author should have ventured further out of his box, but this should not detract from a valuable and thought provoking work." (Barry Nicholson, Amazon review, 3rd of January 2014).
"This is something special in flyfishing literature - it's truly different It has authority and imagination and genuinely pushes the boundaries of thinking. Above all, it's entertaining. On page after page I found myself saying 'why didn't I think of that?' Congratulations to Peter Hayes on a brilliant piece of work." (Chris Ogborne, Amazon review, 20th of November 2013).
"A different approach to many of the situations that puzzle the average fly fisherman with lots of references to add weight to the various theories." (John Frazer, Amazon review, 10th of November 2013).
"In my opinion the greatest thing about fly fishing is the thrill of learning and discovery. Peter Hayes in this beautifully written, deeply insightful, book shows that there is still plenty to learn and discover about trout and how to fish for them. I was intrigued by the author's numerous insights on things that matter to trout, such as nymph and adult orientation during the drift and tippet flotation (just to name a few), but that I had failed to realize in all my years as a trout bum and reading of the popular literature. The author's fly designs, with instructions, look really great - I can't wait to tie some up and try them myself. I highly recommend this book to anyone serious about their trout fishing." ("Bevillenz", Amazon US review, 6th of November 2013).
"There are many, many books on fly-fishing. But this one is different. It challenges long held beliefs and traditions and gives you, the reader, much to ponder with plenty of new theories. A great read." (Stuart Crofts, Amazon review, 31st of October 2013).
"Fly fishing, and especially chalk stream fly fishing, is steeped in history, but often bogged down by tradition. This book analyses and questions the traditions, and encourages readers to think for themselves.Anyone who fishes beyond the occasional mayfly day will find this book an inspiration." (Denise A. Ashton, Amazon review, 20th of October 2013).
"A beautifully produced book with a refreshingly different approach. I tied the flies and caught fish with them.
The flies aren't all it's about though. Roll on next season!" (Michael Hallam, Amazon review, 5th of October 2013).
"Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book (recommended by mate Pete Tyjas of the Devon School of Fly Fishing fame) and will go back & read it again & again to pick up more pearls of wisdom. Fly fishing, especially the way it has developed in the UK (I'm an American but have lived & fished in New Zealand for the past 11 years) is a bit stuffy & full of rules & strict ways of doing it. This book busts it up a bit & gets more in the groove I am used to following when it comes to fly fishing.
Get a copy & change your modus operandi of fly fishing!" ("Troutbum", Waterstones review, 17th of August 2013).