Book - Simple Fly Fishing
Simple Fly Fishing
published by Patagonia Publishing
written by Yvon Chouinard, Craig Mathews, Marro Mazzo
We tried to buy from Patagonia, but couldn't cough up an opening order of $10,000—of course we like their stuff, but we have our own gig and I don't want to compete with other Patagonia clothing dealers, online or otherwise. But I really love this book and wanted to sell it, so we bought these online from Amazon at Amazon’s discounted rate that was still more than normal book wholesale. It was the only way to get them. We’re selling them for the real and legitimate cover price, just like we always do with books—like a bookstore does.
Our point in stocking this book is not to turn anybody on to fly-fishing or even to make money on the book. I kind of think there are too many fly-fishers already. Just because something is pleasant and whatever other positive adjectives apply, doesn’t mean too many people won’t have a negative effect on it. I might feel differently if Rivendell depended on the sale of fly-fishing paraphernalia, but we don’t, so I don’t have to play that game. (I think it’s a better “game” to play than most, but my point is that we don’t have to do it, and in this case, that’s a luxury.)
It’s the approach to any activity that makes this book so good. It uses fly fishing as a medium, and it doesn’t pretend to reach outside the fly-fishing sphere, but it does that anyway.
Every simple thing that gets popular gets complicated, because complication leads to growth of customers and new products, and growth is where the money is. Those who stand to make money from it make sure it has the broadest appeal possible, so new categories of equipment are created under the banner of choice and selection. New target markets are identified under the banner of inclusion and spreading the love. Small businesses become mini-empires and skyscrapers of cards that need constant promotion under the banner of taking care of business and keeping people employed. There’s no evil anywhere along the way, but that’s where Simple Fly Fishing really shines. Probably to fully appreciate it requires a background knowledge of the the pre- and post- A River Runs Through It eras, which together are a mixed bag of unintended consequences, absolutely including some positivity, just not ALL positivity.
The lessons of Simple Fly Fishing apply to any past-time, any sport, any activity you can do, no matter how much or little equipment it requires. It won’t reduce bicycle riding to a unicycle or even a fixed-gear bike. It won’t make you feel shame for owning ten bikes…or ten fly rods or ten of anything else, for that matter. Its focus is on a type of fly-fishing that started in Japan 400 years ago and is now being reborn or resurrected or repackaged as Tenkara. The fishing itself, the riding itself.
Tenkara by now is its own sub-category of fly-fishing. Naturally, it’s getting fractionalized and misunderstood and modified and changed, people want in on the action while it's hot. But none of that is in this book. Even though it is all about Tenkara fly-fishing, you can get a ton out of it, more than most fly-fishing books, even for regular fly-fishing. Also…Sergio here doesn’t even fly-fish, and he got this book a couple of years ago, and likes it. It’s a far-out and far-reaching book that is true to its title, but the title is only half the iceberg.
Graphically and layout-wise, it’s stunning. The illustrations and photos are killer, the writing is super—no nonsense, authoritative, but clear and friendly. Plenty of white space, if that's your thing. Books of this quality and production value ordinarily sell for $45. Patagonia Publishing is giving the world a deal and a half.
All of the profit from this book—we’ll call it $6.50 per book—go to a fishy conservation group to be determined and announced later. Our goal is to sell 100 copies this year.
Last thing: If you like the cover illustration, check out the artist's site. Wowza: