New Fly Fishing Book Aimed at Beginners

"Where are the fish?" and, "Why won't the fish take my fly?" are among the most commonly asked questions by beginner and novice fly fishers. And until now, the answers have not been that easy to work out.

Fisheries scientist and avid fly fisher Dr. Robert Sousa, who's also widely acclaimed for initiating the Fly Fishing Merit Badge for the Boy Scouts of America, has a new book out this spring that simplifies the process of finding and catching fish.

The book - The 24 Greatest Flies You Don't Leave Home Without, outlines a clear fly selection procedure and discusses extensively where feeding fish are holding.

Sousa has a deep understanding of fish behavior: He has a Ph.D. in fisheries sciences and has worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for more than 30 years. Combining this knowledge with decades old time-tested techniques, Sousa understands fish habitat like few others.

In the book, readers will learn:

  • How to Select the Right Fly
  • What are The 24 Greatest Flies
  • How to Deliver Your Fly to a Spot
  • Where Are the Fish?
  • Common Fish Behaviors
  • Why a Fish May Take Your Fly
  • Why a Fish Refuses Your Fly

"The book provides you we a simple process that will improve your catch rates," says Sousa.

In the book, Sousa distills from the thousands of flies available to modern anglers today and reveals 24 of the highest performing flies for any fish in any situation. The guide is aimed at helping beginner and intermediate fly fishers take the guesswork out of fly selection.

The premise of this new book is based on the fact that most expert fly fishers catch most of their fish on just a handful of flies - as few as six, even. "If you got all of the best fly fishermen in the same room and asked them about their best flies, there would be a lot of commonality among them, and most of their favorite flies are in my group of 24," says Sousa.

"Knowing about these 24 commonly available flies is a big help, but this knowledge is only the first part of the puzzle," says Sousa. "My book also teaches the most effective way to fish these flies, where fish are likely to be and reveals why fish can't resist them, unlocking many mysteries of fly fishing."

The book is cleverly packaged as a fly box, with a photo depicting the 24 greatest flies on the inside cover page. Sousa details each of the 24 greatest flies and also lists the flies in the four most commonly targeted fish groupings: Trout/Salmon, Black Bass, Panfish and Coastal Predators. Accompanying flowcharts help simplify fly selection. The 200-page book is printed in full color, with illustrations, charts and beautiful photos.

Sousa says he is a life long promoter of fly fishing as a recreational activity because he believes it greatly improves a person's quality of life, most notably by reducing stress.

But some people find fly fishing mysterious and intimidating. Sousa hopes his books will dispel the mystery, and that people give fly fishing a try. Fly fishing is a life-time sport, he says.

"Fly fishing is not a passive sport that requires you to wait for something to happen," says Sousa. "Rather, it's active. You must make something happen. By changing flies, changing location or depth, casting to a well chosen spot or using the right technique, you provoke a fish into believing your fly is real food."

"Fly fishing forces you to slow down and pay attention to your surroundings - listen, watch and observe. You need to be become interactive with natural things - seeing flowers, smelling the good fresh air. You're not in an automobile in rush hour; you're on the water. You can smile and you can really relax," he says.

The 24 Greatest Flies You Don't Leave Home Without (ISBN: 978-0-615-32120-2) is published by Warren, RI publisher Husking Bee Books. The book is sold at bookstores, fly fishing shops and online at

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