Sunday, January 2, 2011

Facts of Fishing: 135 Secrets Fish Don't Want You to Know by Dave Mercer with Terry Battisti

Reviewed for Harper Collins

This book is absolutely full of very helpful tips told with humour and common sense. I particularly was pleased to see the very first item mentioned was to always where a lifejacket. That put me in the mood right there, because fishermen, especially when those jackets were bulkier, do not always want to wear them.

Great descriptions with illustrations of the various knots with their names, reels and their purposes, line comparisons and when to use them, and much more. I began fishing when we were still using what I think was called cod line, cloth, pre-nylon. Some of the cloth line was lighter, which I usually used, winging it around and around above my head then letting go. We've come a very long way from that to high-tech line. I probably wouldn't have lost both handline and fish in Horseshoe Bay in the 1940s if we had what is available now. Pulled it right out of my hand. But enough about me (all fishermen have a story and it takes nothing for them to tell it, please excuse the interruption in my review).

Dave Mercer is well-known for his TV series and seminars. The book is very easy to read and to understand. It is also sized to pack in with your tackle or carry around with you when out shopping for your new equipment. There are tips for getting out of snags, undoing tangles, winterizing your seasonal equipment, and what not to do when lubricating your reel. I was particularly interested in Tip 39, Back Off Your Drags. This tip explains how your drag can seize up, why it can happen, and how to avoid it. I personally, besides what I mentioned before, have done mostly trolling and jigging, living on the ocean, but now living in lake country I've been interested in trying other methods, so the book has been particularly helpful to me.

Tip 125, Keep It Right, has information on keeping your line healthy. Heat and sunlight can weaken it. Aside from covering a lot of information, the author provides a few personal fish tales, plenty of great photos and there is a glossary in the back. One thing I wish had been covered was information on keeping and landing fish on barbless hooks. Barbed hooks are illegal here. That aside, I really enjoyed the book, learned a great deal, had a few laughs, said to myself "so that's why that happened", and can hardly wait to go fishing again now that I have some fresh insight! Great book, Dave, hope you do another, perhaps including barbless fishing and ice-fishing.

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