Stock and distribution of Wild River Press have been taken over by Coch Y Bonddu, hence the price of this is now £50 (half the original price). This looks like a ‘coffee table’ book, a big heavy hardback with a glossy cover, plenty high quality pictures inside. After a blistering and very serious foreword by Orri Vigfusson, and a thoughtful and personal note by Simon Gawesworth, Topher Browne gets going. Browne is a salmon fisher, obviously, a former guide, a senior casting instructor and he was part of the team who brought out Spey to Z – in my opinion the best Spey-casting DVD and arguably the best casting DVD I have watched. His scope is international, obviously his home waters are in the north east of America, so I think all the countries, certainly all the areas with wild Atlantic salmon stocks are mentioned, fishing and casting is discussed and a super collection of contemporary salmon flies builds as this book unfolds.
Atlantic Salmon Magic explains salmon fishing, yes I should say Atlantic salmon fishing but where I live there is only one salmon species and rather too few of those. After a short first chapter setting the fishing scene, Browne delves in to the nuts and bolts of salmon fishing, which to my mind is where this book becomes exceptional. Browne analyses how he fishes, at how earlier writers fished, he explains what he tries to do and why. Where necessary he critiques or challenges earlier writers, for the most part he treats them with real respect, so he lists references and offers a bibliography.
But this is not a dry book of salmon theory, Browne weaves theory and instruction with memorable accounts of fishing, more than a little recent salmon fishing history, including mentions of both celebrity anglers and angling celebrities (e.g. Bing Crosby the former, Lee Wulff the latter.)
To my mind Browne is particularly good at explaining particular techniques or styles, setting them in context, pointing out what one does so well that others don't do so well. Reading this reminded me a little of reading Falkus; that sense of an angler who understands what he is doing, who can explain the effect of doing this or that. I prefer this writing/teaching style. Browne seems less dogmatic than Falkus, and more convincing.
If you enjoy salmon fishing, whether you are a dabbling novice or have a good many seasons under your belt Atlantic Salmon Magic has something for you – this is an excellent book.
Atlantic Salmon Magic By Topher Browne
Published by Wild River Press
From: Coch Y Bonddu Books