By Terry Lawton

Whilst there is much fine literature that has been written over the years on the development and history of the dry fly, for too long the the other great style of river fishing for trout and grayling was overlooked, other than up here in the North of England. Thankfully, the balance is now being redressed.

This book is a scholarly tome which deals with many of the aspects and issues in the development of the the northern style of wet fly fishing. In so doing, it takes the reader on a journey from the early days of trout and grayling fishing, through the development of understanding around the entomology of the insects which led to the development of the flies. In this last part, the author brings in many of the schools of thought that were happening at the time.

The Upstream Wet FlyMany anglers tend only to think of the Lancashire and Yorkshire greats of the period e.g. Pritt, Edmonds and Lee et al. However, Terry also gives weight to other anglers around the country, notably Derbyshire and the south west, who were working along similar lines as well as the Scottish school led by the likes of  Stewart and Chomondley Pennel.  To bring things further up to date, he has also brought in some aspects of the American school as well; some UK anglers may have heard of Jim Leisenring, who was one of the leading lights in the USA.

The journey goes on to look at the development of the philosophy of the upstream wet fly and many of the arguments that took place in its development, and also the impact of what was happening on the chalkstreams and how some southern prejudices also had their impact. However, as with so many things in angling, the full story is always more interesting and often slightly different to the way you think things may have been.

Always interesting are many of the debates that took place between the protagonists of different schools of thought, and some of the spats were indeed priceless! Which just goes to show that nothing changes!

This book is a seriously well researched and evidenced piece of writing that is essential  reading for those of us who ply the Northern style of wet fly fishing

 I am one of the very lucky people as, living up here in Lancashire, I have access to many of the rivers, and indeed the beats, on which the Northern style of fly fishing was developed and as a long standing game angler I have a strong sense of history, as I fish many of these places. This book has added a further dimension to my enjoyment of this fascinating way of fishing for trout and grayling and I would heartily recommend it to anyone.

Author: Terry Lawton
256 pages
ISBN 978-0-7090-8862-2
Publisher:  Robert Hale London
Recommended Retail Price: £30

A Review by M.A.Roe



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