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25 Nov

It’s time to again think about Christmas gifts and FLY FISHING DOJO has several unique Christmas themed logo products that are ONLY available here.

All FFD logo products are designed to earn a black belt rating for reliability and customer service.

Here is a sampling of a few of the Christmas products emblazoned with the unique Fly Fishing Dojo logo, sure to make the fly fisherman in your life smile on Christmas morning.


Purchase your own unique, one-of-a-kind- FFD Christmas ornament. Link to purchase:


Give Santa a convenient place to put all those “stocking-stuffers” – the unique FFD logo stocking. Link to purchase:


An alternative snowflake design to the FFD logo stocking. Link to purchase:

In addition, let the fly fisherman in your life know how much you care about them with


You can click here for a FREE video preview: . You can also read purchaser testimonials by clicking this convenient link:

Tell the fisherman in your family that you care about their physical and spiritual well-being. For only $ 11.99, you can purchase Sensei John’s unique Sanchin DVD safely & securely on e-bay, and let the fisherman you love start to improve their well-being.

Information on how to purchase Sanchin tutorial products may be found by clicking this convenient link:

Don’t delay and “window-shop” the unique FFD logo store featuring over 20 different logo products from the convenience of your own home – purchase safely and securely with the established online store hosted with CafePress. Link:

Thank-you for considering a FLY FISHING DOJO product to make your Christmas and Holiday enjoyable and memorable.

Sensei John

Sensei John is available for lectures on the interrelationship of fly fishing and martial arts protocol, ideology and philosophy. Please see the “LECTURES & LESSONS” Page tab above for more information.

Follow FLY FISHING DOJO on FACEBOOK, please send a friend request on Facebook; see our “Video & Media” Page for more information.

You are also invited to read my martial arts protocol, philosophy and ideology weblog for non-martial artists at WWW.SenseiJohn.Wordpress.Com.



13 Mar

Announcing two exciting new FFD Logo products to make the trip to your favorite fly fishing water in FFD style.

The official FFD Logo aluminum key chain.

The official FFD Logo Aluminum Front License Plate.

Your fly fishing vehicle says it all, so while you are on the water flicking flies at magnificent denizens of the deep, let those around you know, you are a fan of FLY FISHING DOJO.

To see these products and more, visit the “SHOP” page above, or click tis convenient link.

Thank-you for your support.

Sensei John

You are also invited to read my martial arts protocol, philosophy and ideology weblog for non-martial artists at WWW.SenseiJohn.Wordpress.Com.

MARCH MADNESS: Road To The Final Fish

10 Mar

I just received information pertaining to an innovative, fun and worthy contest. It is the “March Madness: Road To The Final Fish” contest sponsored by the good folks at Cheeky Fly Fishing.  Ted Upton of Cheeky Fly Fishing describes the contest as follows:

It is basically a march madness style bracket tournament, except game fish are substituted for basketball teams.  Thirty-two fish have been seeded in a bracket (which you will find on the site), and over the course of a number of matchups, one will be crowned champion based on fly fishermen’s votes.  Individuals fill out brackets by selecting which fish they prefer in each matchup.  The fishermen that pick the most winners will receive great prizes from Cheeky Fly Fishing, Manhattan Fly, Fishpond, The Fly Shop, Montana Fly, Jim Teeny, Fishage, Muddog Flies, Free Fly, Skinny Water Culter and more.

Best of all, 100% of proceeds are donated to Casting for Recovery, Stripers Forever and the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust.

You can read more and enter at:

I completed my form, what are you waiting for? Support various worthy causes, have fun and maybe win a few prizes, a “win-win” situation.

Sensei John

Please feel free to “window shop” our unique logo products by clicking on the “SHOP” page tab above.

You are also invited to read my martial arts protocol, philosophy and ideology weblog for non-martial artists at WWW.SenseiJohn.Wordpress.Com.


26 Jan


Black Belt – 5 out of 5 – A Must See

Friday, January 21st dawned cold and with snow falling. For most people, the day foretold a cold gloomy weekend. For most that is except for those consumed by the passion called “fly-fishing”.  For those driven by a passion to flick feather and hook, at the denizens of the deep, there was a warming respite from the cold, gloomy, snowy weekend; as warming as a steeping cup of coffee laced with a good Irish whisky (for medicinal purposes, of course). That warm respite was The 19th Annual Fly Fishing Expo held at the Garden State Exhibit Center in Somerset, New Jersey.

As I post this article, the snow continues to fall on the Garden State, so grab yourself a cup of java; better still grab a mug of java in the official FFD logo mug ( and allow me to tell you about this magnificent exhibition.

A shameless plug - I know

Over the course of many years, I have attended a cornucopia of expositions, to wit: fishing expos, hunting expos, gun shows, motorcycle shows, model railroad shows and the like. In evaluating any exposition, one must inevitably critique the promoter’s choice of venue. The Fly Fishing Expo’s choice of the Garden State Exhibit Center must be commended. The venue served to enhance the pleasant experience in attending this event. The Garden State Exhibit Venter is conveniently located and has sufficient parking for the anticipated number of attendees. Further, the parking is free. The venue provided readily available food, drink and refreshment. The floor plan for the exposition allowed for steady traffic flow, accessible lectures, and two well situated fly casting pools.

The next consideration I look at in evaluating an exposition is the quality of the “featured celebrities”. The Fly Fishing Expo provided access to a great many celebrities of every genre: authors, lecturers, fly tiers, artists, guides, lodges and even a master and a living legend. In fact, there were far too many celebrities to name each and every one of them here. That said, my two favorite dignitaries were a “Master” a “Legend”; both to be named hereinafter.

Due to my schedule I was not able to attend the exposition on “opening-day”, Friday, the 21st. I awakened Saturday morning, picked up my New Jersey comrade, Sensei Bob, and we ventured out. With each mile we drove down the NJ Turnpike, our anticipation grew. We arrived at the venue and were smoothly guided through the admission process and entered the vast exhibit hall.

Sensei Bob and I were soon standing aside the casting pool witnessing a stirring Kata performance by the Master, Lefty Kreh. What, you did not know that Lefty knows Karate Kata? Frankly, I do not believe that Lefty ever studied Karate. His Kata is the Kata of fly casting. There is a plaque in our Goshin-Do Karate Dojo which reads, “Only Through Man Does Technique Become Art.” Lefty is a living embodiment of this maxim. I will not divulge Lefty’s secrets in this article; it is not my province to do so. Having said that, I am sure his books, DVD’s and seminars will help everyone that just read these words become a more efficient fly caster.

My personal “must-stop-at” booth was the Cortland booth. I have fly fished with Cortland line since I first saved and saved and saved (that is pre-credit card days for you younger readers) to be able to by their 444 line when I was a boy of 14. Since then, Cortland line is always spooled on my reel.

Due to an overwhelming popularity of the event, during our stay, crowds were impressive. Sensei Bob and I negotiated the aisles as if they were swift rapids in a stream and went about the task of perusing vendors displays, watching the various fly tiers execute their craft and chatting with the various manufacturer representatives. As to the fly tiers, they all executed their craft magnificently. There were two talented and innovated tiers that stood out in my mind on this particular day.

This is not to say that the other tiers I witnessed on Saturday were less than talented; rather,  Pat and Steven’s skills and innovation with feathers and deer hair, simply struck a colorful cord in the dark recesses of my mind.

Steven Wascher holds one of his creations


Pat Cohen:

Pat Cohen

Pat's creations

After a few hours, Sensei Bob and I decided to take our leave.

I returned early Sunday morning. Given that it was early, the crowd was smaller than Saturday which allowed for a more direct and intimate contact with exhibitors.

My first stop was the booth of the local chapter of Project Healing Waters. I first learned of this organization, that assists our veterans in finding solace and enjoyment in the fly fishing experience, on a television episode of Curtis Fleming’s Fly Rod Chronicles. David Bucko was at the booth and gave freely of his time to further acquaint me with this organization. Take a moment and check out their website and Facebook pages (

The Project Healing Waters Booth

The highlight this day was stopping by the booth of a living legend. I have known his name since the first time I purchased one of his books and tied one of his innovative fly patterns. The legend is, the distinct, Dave Whitlock ( In Karate there is a saying,  “It was my mother who bore me, but my Sensei who made me a man.” Well, since Sensei made me a man, Dave got me playing with feathers, hair and hooks – and – I am the better man for it.

The Legend, Dave Whitlock's, Booth

I very much enjoyed all of the people I spoke with. Several of them even greatly assisted me in purchasing a few Valentine’s gifts for my charming wife. Now, since this article will post well in advance of that most heartfelt of days, I cannot divulge certain facts that pertain to these vendors, less my spouse gain advance knowledge of the gifts that I will rain down upon her. I will, nonetheless, give a special “shout-out” (to use the modern vernacular) to: Scott Cesari (WWW.ScottCesariFlyTying.Com), Fish Pimp Co. (WWW.FishPimpCo.Com) and Bill Black (WWW.OTETackle.Com). Thanks in advance for helping to make February 14th great.

While shopping for gifts, I was intrigued by the use of flies as jewelry as displayed by Shawn Davis. His designs and jewelry are magnificent. They can be seen at

In addition, I spent a delightful time chatting with a talented artist who deserves a mention. She absolutely sparkles and her artwork is inspiring. She is Anne Dixon.

Before leaving the exhibition, I was treated to a glimpse into the very near future. Cheeky Fly Fishing will soon be debuting a new light-weight, technologically advanced fly fishing reel. I spent a few minutes with Ted Upton enraptured in a discussion about the technological marvel that this reel is. Look for it in the near future. Perhaps I will post a review of the reel upon its debut.

And, thus, my visit to the exhibit drew to a close. It is impossible for me to mention all the people I spoke with or encapsulate the great time I had at the exhibit in this short article. As such, if you are not mentioned directly, please forgive me.

Until the next article, I remain,

Sensei John

If you have a minute, check out my “Sanchin Kata For Fly Fisherman” video. Proper breathing will help, not only your fly fishing, but every aspect of your life.

Please feel free to “window shop” our unique logo products by clicking on the “SHOP” page tab above.


6 Jan



Green Belt – 3- Average (Please refer to the new symbolism in the post below)

The Plano Dry Fly Box is day-in, day-out, my “go-to” dry fly box. It is simple, durable, priced right and functional. The box is both practical and affordable. It retails for less than $ 10.00 in most stores. The box is made from durable, semi-transparent hard plastic. It measures 6” x 3 1/2” x 2”.

Top view - closed position

It has two internal main compartments, each having 10 miniature compartments , measuring 1 1/4” x 1 1/2” x 1”. Therefore, the total number of interior compartments is 20.

Interior view - 1 of 2 main compartments

Each side is secured closed by a sturdy snap-lock mechanism; as such, it is not prone to accidentally being opened, even when dropped.

View of locking mechanism

Given the open unencumbered manner of storing dry flies, the hackles of the flies are not crushed as in the case of foam or similar fly boxes. I find that the open compartment design allows my thick fingers ample room to probe around, find a particular fly and fetch it from amongst its brethren. This is in contrast to an individual compartment design which is found in the “high-end”, more expensive type dry fly boxes. My fingers find that maneuvering to retrieve a fly from these boxes is quite cumbersome. The downside to this type of open compartment design is that it is vulnerable to creating an “artificial hatch” in sufficiently high wind conditions. Having said that, care in using this box in such conditions mitigates such predisposition.

All factors considered, and with particular emphasis on price, function, durability and practicality, this is my absolute favorite dry fly box. Having said that, you may wonder, “Why did the Plano Dry Fly Box “only” earn a green belt rating?” First is the possibility of artificial hatches when carelessly opened in windy conditions. Second, it is somewhat bulky and thus, may not fit easily into some access pouches of a fishing vest. On my part, I prefer a pack over a vest, so this is not a problem for me. Third, it is simply an average fly box that serves the purpose for which it is intended without unnecessary accouterments. In the Dojo, the green belt was the halfway point to a black belt. Thus, the practitioner that wore a green belt was often the unrecognized workhorse of the Dojo. The green belt simply did what he was supposed to do without being overly praised and accepted that status. Thus, for this workhorse of a dry fly box, a more than worthy green belt is earned. I believe you will be more than satisfied with the Plano Dry Fly Box.

Respectfully submitted,

Sensei John

Please feel free to “window shop” our unique logo products by clicking on the “SHOP” page tab above.

You may also enjoy our newest videos, convenient links are provided on the “Video & Media” page tab above.


3 Jan

After considerable thought I have decided to revise the FLY FISHING DOJO rating system to be used for product reviews. The old system awarded a “Tori” as a symbol of the product’s review status. This new system embraces that Karate-Do idea that accomplishments are “earned”. In Karate-Do, such accomplishments are symbolized by a colored Obi, or belt, worn around a practitioner’s waist. Thus, the new rating system will still be based upon a numeric factor from 1 to 5 (1 being “poor” and 5 being “excellent”) and will be symbolized by a colored belt commensurate with that product’s review. The symbolic rating is as follows:

WHITE BELT: Symbolizes a numeric rating of 1 – Poor: In the opinion of FLY FISHING DOJO, this product performed sub-par and is not worth purchasing.

YELLOW BELT: Symbolizes a numeric rating of 2 – Passable: In the opinion of FLY FISHING DOJO, this product performed marginally. Purchasing the product would be an example of Caveat Emptor – let the buyer beware.

GREEN BELT: Symbolizes a numeric rating of 3 – Average: In the opinion of FLY FISHING DOJO, this product performed as represented. Purchasing the product would be a matter of the buyer’s personal choice and financial capability.

BROWN BELT: Symbolizes a numeric rating of 4 – Above Average: In the opinion of FLY FISHING DOJO, this product performed above average and exceeded the expectations of the product. Purchasing the product is recommended based upon the buyer’s financial capability.

BLACK BELT: Symbolizes a numeric rating of 5 – Excellent: In the opinion of FLY FISHING DOJO, this product performed in a manner far exceeding expectations. It is a “must-have” product; subject only to the buyer’s financial means; buy it, but don’t mortgage the farm to do so.

I hope you enjoy the new symbolism to be used in future product reviews.

Please note, I have edited the prior reviews to include the new symbolism.

Sensei John

Please feel free to “window shop” our unique logo products by clicking on the “SHOP” page tab above.


10 Dec

Unique – “Must-Have” gifts featuring


Christmas Stocking – 2 styles – 2 colors – # 14.99* each

Round Christmas Ornament – $ 6.99* each (also available in oval shape)

For the Kids (or the kid in all of us) – Teddy Bear – $ 13.99* each


Please see the “SHOP” page tab above for a link to our online store.



22 Oct


For more information, please click on the “VIDEO & MEDIA” Page above. 





18 Sep
September, 2010 and high temperatures here in Arizona are still in the triple digits. While fly-fishing, you have to stay cool, so, whether you live in Arizona or not, why not look cool too and catch more fish. How?
Purchase your own 100 percent cotton Fly-Fishing Dojo logo short sleeve T-shirt.  Just click the “SHOP” tab at the top of this page.  Official Fly-Fishing Dojo T-shirt 

You may also purchase a logo button, shown above, for your favorite fishing hat, or coffee mugs, beer steins, mouse pads, pillows, teddy bears and other products.

Sensei John

Please feel free to view my other blog dedicated to exploring martial arts ideology and concepts as they can be applied to daily life. You may visit the blog at WWW.SenseiJohn.Wordpress.Com.


2 Sep
   4 ½ A MUST HAVE
Rating using 2011 Rating System:

I recently obtained the Sumo XS Fly-fishing rod (9 foot length, 3 piece, 6/7 line weight) available from tackle discounts. The numerous products, including this rod, sold by tackle discounts are available via their website Many, including this fly rod, are also available via online auctions at WWW.Ebay.Com. My cost of this fly rod, including shipping from the United Kingdom was under $ 65.00 making it a very affordable fly rod.

The Sumo XS 9 foot, 3 piece, 6/7 fly rod.

Tackle discounts website lists the Sumo XS series for 45 pounds sterling (about $ 75.00 depending on exchange rates) plus delivery. The listing and description of this rod by tackle discounts suggests a recommended retail price point of about $ 250.00 British pounds Sterling (around $ 400. depending on exchange rates). The listing also compares the Sumo XS to other noted manufacturers offerings, including the Sage TCR and XS series, Loomis and Grey. Some mighty large company indeed.

A nicely embroidered case is included with the Sumo XS.

I obtained my Sumo XS via an online auction through E-bay. After winning the auction, I received various e-mail notifications and confirmations from tackle discount. The communication was excellent. I expected that I would receive my fly rod within about 10 days after payment was made. To my very pleasant surprise, I received my fly rod in only 4 days. Not bad from the United kingdom to Arizona via standard mail service. I immediately opened the package and found the fly rod arrived in good condition. The Sumo XS is sold with a rod sock and a very nice sturdy rod case. The case is fittingly embroidered with the Sumo XS name and all details of the enclosed rod. The rod itself is in three sections, green in color. The rod guides are nicely spaced and manufactured with care and quality. The only cosmetic flaw was a minor bubble, less than ¼ inch in diameter, in the lamination. I note this only because of the comparisons made in the advertising and listing for the Sumo XS.
With great anticipation, I set about fishing with the Sumo XS. I combined the Sumo XS with my favorite Cortland Pro-crest reel and a 6 weight floating weight forward line and set off for my favorite fishing waters.   I made my first cast and smiled. This rod is a monster caster – a real rocket launcher. The Sumo XS effortlessly laid out long casts with tight loops.

Sensei John wields the Sumo XS.

Lower Salt River, Maricopa County, Arizona.

The Sumo XS nicely presents a delicate dry fly, regardless of the distance the fly is cast. Additionally, on rivers, the Sumo XS facilitates high stick nymph fishing techniques such as the “Czech-style” of presenting nymphs. Whenever a fish accepted my offered fly, the rod responded well and provided a very nice sense of “feel” and connection with the fish at the other end of the line. The Sumo XS is a very user friendly fly rod.
As I have no inclination to spend between $ 600 and $ 800 on the competitors fly rods that Tackle Discounts compares the Sumo XS to, such comparison is not part of my review.

After several weeks of hard fishing, the rod holds up well cosmetically and continues to perform. The Sumo XS 9 foot 6/7 rod has earned itself a place in my fly rod arsenal.

I believe you will not be disappointed wit the Sumo XS fly rod, especially at the price it is presently being sold at. Even better, if you have the patience, try obtaining the Sumo XS via the online auctions available through E-bay.

VIDEO AVAILABLE: To see the Sumo XS in action, you can click this convenient link to view a video entitled


So, why only 4 ½ Torii out of a total of 5 possible. Two reasons. The first I have already mentioned, namely the minor cosmetic bubble in the lamination. Again, given the comparisons made in the advertising, this small flaw must be addressed in my review. Second, after about ten weeks of steady, almost daily, use, the zipper on the rod case malfunctioned. The zipper no longer closes properly. The teeth of the zipper no longer mesh; however, it will still hold the rod case closed. In all fairness, given the time between my purchase and the zipper malfunction, I did not contact Tackle Discounts as to this issue. Further, the rod case was what I consider a “freebie”, an extra, as such, in my opinion it is not fatal to my opinion of the Sumo XS. For these two reasons, I deducted a ½ Torii from my rating of the Sumo XS.

The Sumo XS nine foot, 3 piece, 6/7 weight fly rod is a welcome addition to the Fly Fishing Dojo equipment inventory. I look forward to firing up this monster rocket caster.

Sensei John

Please feel free to view my other blog dedicated to exploring martial arts ideology and concepts as they can be applied to daily life. You may visit the blog at WWW.SenseiJohn.Wordpress.Com.


12 Aug


Revised rating system:

   karate-belt-black  Black Belt – excellent!


Old rating system:

Torri Rating: 4 1/2 – A MUST!




During a routine internet search for flies, I came across the website of Big Y Fly Co. – WWW.BigYFlyCo.Com.

I was very surprised when I checked out their website. While the inventory of flies for sale was quite impressive, my expectations were surpassed when I noticed the prices. The prices are a fraction of what I have seen at fly shops and on the internet. I was a bit concerned that quality would be sacrificed for lower prices. I needed to stock up on a few fly patterns so I decided to place an order. Big Y Fly Co offers free shipping on orders over $ 35.00, so I ordered enough to qualify for free shipping.

The ordering process was efficient and secure. Immediately after submitting my order, I received an e-mail confirmation. Within a day the order was shipped and once again, I received an e-mail confirming the shipment. Such communication is a big plus with me whenever I order product via the internet. I figured that with the free shipping, I would have my order in about a week. To my pleasant surprise, two days later my flies arrived.

The wet flies and nymphs were packaged in appropriately sized zip-lock bags. The dry flies were conscientiously packed in small plastic containers so as to prevent damage to the hackles. An excellent job of packaging.

I immediately set about fishing with the flies. Much to my satisfaction, the flies performed well and are extremely durable. Thus, my initial worry that quality would be scarified for cost was abated. I fly-fish at least four days a week. I have a river and four lakes within 25 miles of my house, so I can drop a line for as little as an hour or two and still be at work on time. I fished Big Y Fly Co.’s flies steadily for several weeks. All flies produced well. Despite the triple digit Arizona heat, I had hooked several average size largemouth bass and, as my grandfather would say, “More bluegill than Carter has liver pills.“

Big Y Fly Co.‘s flies held up well to the constant munching and crunching of little jaws, the grasp of hook removal tools and occasional tangles with aquatic vegetation. In summary, Big Y Fly Co.‘s flies are nicely tied, in effective patterns and very durable.

I recently placed a second order and again, e-communication, shipment and delivery was excellent. In order to meet the $ 35. minimum for free shipping, I rounded out my fly order with a Big Y Fly Co. logo hat. It is almost a given that Fly Shops will sell all manner of logo wear, hats, shirts, apparel and the like. I found it refreshing that Big Y’s website is dedicated to not to clothing, but to flies and fishing (A Blog, Hatch chart and other topical information). Absent is the “buy our over-priced logo product now” ideology. The hat is the ONLY apparel offered. Now, in an era when companies expect you pay $ 15 to $30 for the “privilege” of wearing their logo (including a certain American motorcycle Company’s logo hats and apparel), the name of Big Y Fly Co’s hat says it all – the “Darn Fine $ 7. Cap”. The hat arrived and I concur with the name in all respects!

Okay, so now you will ask, “Why only 4 ½ Torii and not the full 5?” The reason is simple – societal expectations. American society has become indoctrinated to an “I want it now” attitude. After reading this review, you may desire to log onto the Big Y Fly Co. website and purchase a few flies. You may see that a pattern you desire is temporarily out of stock. Being a good American consumer, you will no doubt be gravely disappointed, suffer from extreme emotional distress and have nightmares. Get over it. Big Y Fly Co’s flies are excellent quality at fantastic prices so they will sell out from time-to-time. So to acknowledge this pervasive “I want it NOW” ideology, I begrudgingly deducted a 1/2 Torii. Big Y Fly Co occasionally being out of stock calls to mind an ancient saying derived from Okinawa Karate. I use this saying at the Dojo often to motivate my students. The ancient saying is, “You snooze, you lose“. So, in other words, log onto WWW.BigYFlyCo.Com and order your flies before some one else does. You won‘t be disappointed.

Sensei John

Please feel free to view my other blog dedicated to exploring martial arts ideology and concepts as they can be applied to daily life. You may visit the blog at WWW.SenseiJohn.Wordpress.Com.


26 Jul
BOOK REVIEW: Hemingway On Fishing, Lyons, Nick (Editor), (Nick Lyons Pres, New York, NY, 2000).
New rating system:  This book rates a
 karate-belt-black    Black Belt, a must-have!!
 Old rating system:
TORII RATING: (Please see the description of my Torii Ratings System on the prior page of this category) 
 5 Torii – A MUST HAVE
But if you land a big (fish) . . . Fight him man against fish when your muscles are nauseated with the unceasing strain, and you finally bring him (in), you will be purified and able to enter unabashed into the presence of the very elder gods and they will make you welcome. . . . For the cheerful, brown-faced gods that judge over the happy hunting grounds live up in the old crumbly mountains that wall the bright blue bay of Vigo. They live there wondering why the good, dead fisherman don’t come down to Vigo where the happy hunting grounds are waiting. (See Endnote # 1).
Ernest Hemingway. The name invokes thoughts of an iconoclastic writer. Invariably when one is asked to name one of Hemingway’s works, perhaps because of the memorable movie adaptation starring Spencer Tracy, one would name The Old Man And The Sea. Maybe one would recall A Moveable Feast or perhaps The Sun Also Rises. Few; however, would recall the plethora of articles, letters and notes Hemingway wrote on the topic of fishing. He wrote profusely on fishing in all its varied forms, including fly-fishing. There was a time when Hemingway‘s tales of fishing adventure were cast to the literary winds. That has been remedied.
  This product review discusses a wonderful hardcover compilation of Hemingway’s fishing stories entitled Hemingway On Fishing. It is edited by Nick Lyons with a foreword by Jack Hemingway. This tome, it is far too wonderful to merely be called a “book” was first published in 2000 by The Lyons Press, New York, NY.

I was given this book from my youngest daughter, and one of my Black Belts, Sensei Kimberly Szmitkowski, as a Christmas gift in 2000. It has never left my coffee table. Unlike the many other books I have read and stored on a shelf of my library, perhaps to re-read again and again, this marvelous compellation is always at hand. Like a fishing Bible, it is one of the few books that you can refer to a passage or two, or even a full story, daily.

Hemingway is the personification of the phrase “Soul-fisherman”. He looks at fishing as not simply a pursuit, by a way of life. From his earliest days fly-fishing to his later years spent hunting the mighty salt water game fish off the coast of Cuba, and his final return to his fly-fishing roots late in life, Hemingway’s tales recount the simple act of casting an anticipatory lure, attached to a fisherman through a hair-like line as if telling a mythological tale or a heroic battle, or a Shakespearean play. In some of his tales Hemingway analyzes fishing and more importantly the act of preparing to fish with scientific precision. Take for example the following excerpt from the short story, Marlin Off The Morro: A Cuban Letter, containing Hemmingway’s recommendation of a preferred breakfast to be eaten before fishing.

There are two opposing schools about breakfast. If you knew you were not going to be into fish for two or three hours, a good, big breakfast would be the thing. Maybe it is a good thing anyway but I do not want to trust it, so drink a glass of vichy, a glass of cold milk and eat a piece of Cuban bread, read the papers and walk down to the boat. I have hooked them on a full stomach in that sun and I do not want to hook any more of them that way.(See Endnote # 2)

In addition to such analysis, Hemingway’s tales are filled with human emotion, sarcasm, wit, humor, introspection and reflection. The following is an excerpt from an article that first appeared in 1923 in the Toronto Star Weekly, where Hemingway uses his acerbic sense of humor to mock those that transformed the purity of fly-fishing into nothing more than an ostentatious show of materialism.

Bill Jones went to visit a French financier who lives near Deauville and has a private trout stream. The financier was very fat. His stream was very thin. . . If undressed and put back on the shelf piece by piece the financier would have stocked a sporting goods store. Placed end to end his collection of flies would have reached from Keokuk, Illinois to Paris, Ontario. The price of his rod would have made a substantial dent in the interallied debt or served to foment a central American revolution. . . The financier flung a pretty poisonous fly. (See Endnote # 3).

Hemingway also used his keen sense of observation to admonish those that were then and still are ambivalent to the magnificent quarry pursued by our beloved art of fly-fishing. Here is one example from Big Two Hearted River, Part II which is excerpted in Hemingway On Fishing.

He had wet his hands before he touched the trout, so he would not disturb the delicate mucus that covered him. If a trout was touched with a dry hand, a white fungus attacked the unprotected spot. Years before when he had fished crowded streams, with fly fisherman ahead of him and behind him, Nick had again and again come upon dead trout, furry with white fungus, drifted against a rock, or floating belly up in some pool. Nick did not like to fish with other men on the river. Unless they were of your party they spoiled it. (See Endnote # 3)

This treasured Hemingway compilation also contains 32 black and white photographs of Hemmingway fishing throughout the years starting with a picture of Hemingway, at age 3, from fishing off a dock along Walloon Lake through many years of fly-fishing, the years fishing off the coast of Cuba from his boat the Pilar, to a last photograph with a great Marlin taken in 1948.

For reasons often speculated at, but known only to him, Hemingway ended his life on July 2, 1963 in Idaho. This wonderful, perhaps miraculous, compilation, will allow the spirit of Hemingway, The Fisherman to live on forever. Whether you be a fly-fisherman, a saltwater game fisherman, weekend angler, or simply walk the same Earth as such fisherman, this is a MUST read. 



1. Id. P. 90 (Edited for review purposes).

2. Id. P. 102.

3. Id. P. 95.

4. Id. P.17.



26 Jul
I will use the Fly-Fishing Dojo logo as a visual depiction of a convenient rating system. The basis of the logo is a Torii. Each product will be awarded from one to five Torii. The ratings ascribed to each Torii is as follows.
 I would barely recommend this product. If the price of this product is not excessive for your budget, then I would say it is worth buying and trying.



This product performed either as represented in the manufacturer’s advertising ( as in the case of a rod, reel, line and other hard tackle) or as I had expected or anticipated (as in the case of a new fly pattern or other product with esoteric expectations), or was other wise enjoyable (as in the case of a book, movie, etc).




This product exceeded all expectations, see above. However, there were some limitations as discussed in the full review.




This product went above and beyond all expectations. It is one of those products that I anticipate continuing to use and enjoy as a permanent part of my collection.


I will use one-half of a Torii for any product that does not fit squarely into one of the five categories above.

I hope this symbolic system will provide you with a quick reference prior to reading my full product review.

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