“Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple.”
― Woody Guthrie
In my book, Heaven on Earth: Stories of Fly Fishing, Fun & Faith, in the chapter, “Let Patience Have Her Perfect Work,” I wrote about my struggles to learn how to fly fish. It took three years of trial and error before I finally began to understand the workings of this great sport. Let’s face it: Learning to fly fish can be difficult. Beginners need all the help they can get.

I was recently asked by Ben Smith of Arizona Wanderings to review his new e-book, Chasing Wild Trout: A Beginner’s Guide to Fly Fishing Small Streams. To borrow a name first coined by Chris Hunt of Eat More Brook Trout, Ben is a “Creek Freak” who loves to fish small streams and rivers for trout and now Ben has written a book to help beginners share in his passion. 
Chasing Wild Trout, an e-Book by Ben Smith

I’m typically not much of a fan of How-To books. With that said, I read Ben’s book twice and can honestly say that it is a great book. Chasing Wild Trout is well written and, in my experience, the information is solid and simple. When I say “simple,” I don’t mean that in a negative way. Albert Einstein said: “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.” In this vein, Ben takes something that can be very complex, learning to fly fish, and simplifies it so that newcomers can easily understand. Nice job Einstein!

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

― Albert Einstein

Admittedly, being a lover of the written word on the page, I have not read many e-Books.  So, before I actually reviewed the book, I expected to see a boring PDF- type format, but was pleasantly surprised at what I saw. The lay-out of the 38 page book is visually appealing and the book contains numerous, beautiful professional photographs and illustrations, which were on point and helpful. I was able to review the book on both my iPad and iPhone just fine.

I must admit that I was also impressed with the selection of Ben’s flies featured in Chasing Wild Trout, which he suggested to the reader. I have used with great success most of the flies he suggests.  Some flies mentioned I have not yet tried, but will for certain.  In particular, the Simi Seal Bugger and the Mini-Hoppers that Ben ties look like killer flies that will get the job done. Ben humbly neglected to mention in the book that all of his great flies are available at his WEBSITE.


Simi Seal Buggers tied by Ben Smith and available through his website

My only constructive criticism is that, while he mentioned the Simi Seal Bugger and streamer fishing, Ben did not explain the set up and mechanics of streamer fishing in a small creek. In my experience, streamer fishing is different than dry fly or nymph fishing and requires a different set up and technique. But this is only a minor oversight. Besides, most anglers don’t use streamers on small streams anyway. For me, small streams are all about surface feeders. If I want to catch fish on streamers, I will fish big water like the Madison, the South Fork, or the Snake River.
Overall, the book is excellent and I have no problem recommending it. Heck, I wish I would have had this book when I first started fly fishing! Seventeen years later, I am still learning about fly fishing and loving it. Probably the best compliment that I can give the book is that it made me want to go fishing.
Ben’s book is available at  Check it out!
Thanks for stopping by! 

Ben Smith: Creek Freak.  This beautiful photo is featured in the book and is indicative of the great photography in Chasing Wild Trout.  

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