What others are saying .......................................

Winnipeg Free Press
Don Lamont's Fishing Column
Wednesday, February 18th, 2004

Fly-fishing books like the author: very enjoyable

Bob Sheedy's views on fishing attack beliefs and institutions

Saturday, February 14th, 2004


EVERY evening for the past month, when I picked up the book to read a few more pages, it was like a breath of fresh air had entered the room, made dry and stale by too many days of -30 C weather.

People who know Bob Sheedy describe him as an iconoclast -- a person who attacks cherished beliefs or institutions. After reading a good portion of his two latest books: Bob Sheedy's Lake Fly Fishing Strategies and Bob Sheedy's Top 50 Stillwater Fly Patterns I would have to say thank goodness for that.

Born and raised in Ontario, Sheedy came to Manitoba with his family many years ago. Already an accomplished fly fisher, Sheedy soon discovered how good a trout fishery we had in the Parkland region of Manitoba. Along the way, he has made his own indelible mark on the landscape, almost single-handedly introducing people in this part of the world to stillwater fly fishing.

This all stems back to his iconoclastic attitude. To quote Sheedy, "an abhorrence for those who take the sport of fly fishing and attempt to turn it into an exclusive institution where only the elite can hold sway."

I have spent time with Sheedy on a number of the lakes in the Parkland region and I have visited his family in their farmhouse on the outskirts of Roblin. There is nothing pretentious about this man, other than a love for his family and for stillwater fly fishing -- a sport he says will continue to grow and, in doing so, strip away some of those old institutions steeped in snobbery.

One of my most memorable times with him was on a hot June day on East Goose Lake, which is right in Roblin. We had been out all morning casting the east shoreline in our float tubes when Sheedy spotted some surface feeding activity just down the shoreline

He told me to tie on a minnow pattern, in this particular instance I remember it as the Crystal Minnow (one of his 50 stillwater fly patterns), a fly that imitates a fathead minnow.

Once we tubed over, we could see a big rainbow trout busting a school of fatheads that had gathered in very shallow water around a rock.

Sheedy was ready -- not to catch the fish but to make sure I had a chance.

He told me exactly how to lay the fly out just in front and past the rock. I laid out a decent cast, careful not to lay the fly line near the fish, letting the big rainbow think another fathead had plundered past the rock in his direction. Wham! The fly line tightened up and it was game on.

I caught that fish because of Sheedy and he took just as much delight in seeing me hold and release that fish as I had. That helps sum up this man.

His two books, just published, are a wealth of information garnered over the past 50 years of time spent in the outdoors pursuing finned creatures. He covers all the bases, from equipment to technique to location. His best work, though, comes through his intimate understanding of aquatic forage, with more than 100 pages dedicated to telling you what Shamu eats.

He will stop fishing at any time to poke along a shoreline in hopes of finding some aquatic insect he has yet to photograph. Judging by the exquisite detail in the pages of these two books, including a stunning head-on view of a predacious diving beetle, I would say he hasn't missed much.

The books are available at www.mwflyfishing.net. It's well worth the visit.

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by Bob Jones



Fly Fishing Canada Publications, $29.95

Several years ago, Bob Sheedy of Roblin, Manitoba, produced a CD with this same title. Before long it was a best seller, but most of the folks who bought the CD asked if it was or would be available in book form. Well, now it is, and from all indications it should also become a best seller.

This fairly hefty softcover edition comes in at 6x9 inches and 285 pages filled with hundreds of black and white photographs and illustrations, plus a healthy selection of colour pictures depicting the trout caught (and usually released) by the author and his cronies. The sizes of those trout are best described as awesome.

Why should a book based primarily on fly fishing in southwestern Manitoba be of interest to anglers in British Columbia? Please note that I wrote “anglers” and not “fly fishers.” Simply because trout don’t recognize geographic boundaries, so what is true concerning their lifestyle and feeding habits in the Prairies, remains so elsewhere, including the BC Interior and here on Vancouver Island.

This book will also prove valuable to non-fly fishers as it provides insight into how lakes -- everything from shallow potholes to large, deep ones -- are structured, and how trout and other species use this structure to their advantage when in feeding mode or seeking comfort and safety. Anglers armed with this knowledge can use it to their advantage whenever seeking some fishing action.

The book contains two sections, the first and longest offering Sheedy’s solid where-to-go and how-to-do-it advice based on nearly 50 years of experience and observations. Section One’s six chapters are the real meat of this effort. Lake fly fishing equipment deals with suitable rod length and action, reel sizes and capacities, fly line types and densities, and wader styles and material thickness. Watercraft addresses the pros and cons of using boats, canoes, float tubes, V-tubes, U-tubes and pontoon boats, and offers helpful advice on selecting a sonar unit. Location covers 16 distinct types of structure, some of it visible, but most requiring sonar and/or hydrographical maps to locate.

Lake fly fishing strategies details standard dry fly techniques, chironomid tactics, working the bottom (which Sheedy calls “muckfestering”), selecting the right line for specific situations, and fighting large fish.

What Shamu eats is the longest chapter, 99 pages, and identifies dozens of food forms from tiny, nearly invisible midge pupae to huge beetles to baitfish. It also explains how, when and where to fish with patterns representing each critter, and why. Fortunately for the reader, what could be a dry topic is livened up by Sheedy’s smooth, descriptive writing style and obvious sense of humour. Shamu? That’s what the Prairie folk call a trout of 27 inches or more.

Section Two: Introducing an incredible fishery reveals how people living in Sheedy’s region banded together to create a world class trout fishery, plus some blatant advertising -- and it all works beautifully, thank you. World class? Yes. Which is why it was chosen to host the first National Fly Fishing Championships and Conservation Symposium in 2003. Included are detailed colour photographs of aquatic insects and the productive fly patterns that emulate them. Particularly interesting is the inclusion of advertisements from local hotels and lodges that cater to anglers; guide/outfitters, and tackle shops. Seeing the types and sizes of the trout and other species available will make many readers consider visiting this region  -- I know that I am  -- and the knowledge about what is available there makes it that much easier. Yes, this book is definitely a keeper.


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Wayne Phillips- Saskatoon Sun

As September marches along, you know for certain two things will happen. The daylight hours will shorten and temperatures will decrease. For anglers, this means cooler water temperatures. The good news is trout remain active in very cool water temperatures.

When it comes to catching finicky trout, no one knows it all. But there is a man from Roblin, Manitoba who knows an awful lot about catching trout. Bob Sheedy’s Lake Fly Fishing Strategies is one of the best books I have read about fishing for trout in lakes.

Do not for a minute think that if you do not fly fish this book has little to teach you. Sheedy’s advice can be tailored to suit spinfishers who prefer lures and bait. Adding split shot to your spinning line allows you to use flies effectively. So the knowledge dispensed in Lake Fly Fishing Strategies (ISBN 0-9734446-0-6) is for all who love to fish for trout.

Sheedy really shines when it comes to what he calls “Location”. Figuring out where to begin your search for trout centers around the “locations” they prefer. The lakes Sheedy describes are very similar to our stocked trout lakes. Nearby Lake Diefenbaker is mentioned many times in the book.

One real key he focuses on are “cupules” or very small pockets, that hold trout. Sometimes these tiny areas are no bigger than a subcompact car, yet they hold very large trout. He spends time discussing how different types of shorelines provide shelter and feeding grounds for trout.

Another real bonus in this book are the insects that Sheedy discusses at length. Many books about fishing for trout in lakes begin with mayflies. Not Sheedy. He begins with the insects that lake dwelling trout gorge on. The focus is on leeches, water boatmen, caddis flies, damselfly nymphs, chironomids, crayfish and various aquatic beetles.

There are even descriptions of how and when to fish flies that imitate the different insects. You learn which techniques are most effective for fishing a crayfish pattern or how to get the most out of fishing a leech imitation.

There are 16 photographs of the flies Sheedy finds most effective. In the insect section, there are brief tying descriptions for most of the illustrated flies. For more information on his flies, get a copy of Bob Sheedy’s Top Fifty - Stillwater Fly Patterns. The color photographs of insects gives you a clear picture of what trout love to eat.

When it comes to equipment, some of what Bob Sheedy recommends is controversial to say the least. But before dismissing his advice, think about it. After fifty years on the water, he has learned a thing or two. For example, I rarely use regular full sinking lines, but he points out how the belly, or “hockeystick”, can be advantageous.

A number of years back, my wife and I fished the lakes in Manitoba’s fabulous Duck Mountains Park. While I had great fishing then, I know that after studying Sheedy’s book I will catch even more and bigger trout on my next visit.

For more information, go to http://www.mwflyfishing.net If you have difficulty finding his books or want to contact Bob directly, you can reach him at mailto:mailto:flyfisher@mwflyfishing.net His book will make you a much better trout angler.


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