Picks and Pans Review: Scientific Anglers Trout Series

updated 08/29/1988 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/29/1988 01:00AM

For those already hooked on this lovely but fiendishly complex sport, the next step might be this series' 15 tapes, most about an hour long and designed for various skill levels. One of the instructors is Doug Swisher, a fast-talking little guy who comes on like a used-car salesman. But he's a fly-rod virtuoso and coauthor of two seminal works, Selective Trout and Fly Fishing Strategy. Among his tapes, Basic Fly Casting divides casting into its component parts. The visuals are clear and concise; the casting method is refreshingly simple. A hint (no kidding): It's all in the wrist. Even advanced fly fishers can use this tape to detect flaws in their delivery. Strategies for Selective Trout may be the series' most useful tape. At streams in Pennsylvania and Montana, Swisher demonstrates the skills needed for fishing dry and wet flies, nymphs and streamers. On nearly every cast, he lands a trout the size of a nuclear attack submarine. Advanced Fly Casting is what it purports to be: not for the guy who still hooks himself in the earlobe. It's for the doctoral student. The esoterica covered include such casts as the double haul (for long distances), the steeple (for brushy streams) and the squiggle (for countering water drag). Advanced Strategies hits a level most fishermen attain only in fantasy. Playing upon the fly rod the way Stern does his violin, Swisher explains such techniques as stack mending, skittering and mend-shooting. Here, on nearly every cast, he catches a trout the size of an aircraft carrier. Doesn't this man ever have a lousy day on the stream? Buying all 15 tapes in the series wouldn't be cheap. But after you buy the funny looking hat, the state-of-the-art graphite rod, the waders, the vest, the creel and the library of fly-fishing books, you will hardly feel the pain. In fact, if you study the tapes and practice, your fishing and even your stories may improve. (3M, $19.95-$59.95 each; 800-227-6254)

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