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My new book on Fly Fishing in Ohio is done!

Discussion in 'Fish on the Fly' started by cornmuse, Oct 7, 2005.

  1. Hey Guys;

    I'd like to share my story will all of you. A couple years ago I got this wild-ass idea that I wanted to write a book. I sat down and outlined the project - chapters on prey items, game species, tackle needs, fly patterns, seasonal tactics, etc.. The book is titled "Fly Fishing Warm Water Rivers" and subtitled "Lesson's I've Learned on Ohio's Great Miami". My overwhelming motivation was to publicize the amazingly good and effective fishing I've managed to exploit on any number of midwestern warm water flows I've fished in the last 20 years. Let me share a bit of that story first...

    I moved to Ohio in October of 1984. I had lived in Massachusetts on the south shore all my life and grew up fly fishing for salters, stripers and bluefish (all with a fly rod - I built my first 10wt Lamiglass rod with a lead core shooting system in 1978) on the coast and bass, trout and pickerel on landlocked lakes and rivers (especially Bridgewater's Town River). When I first saw the rocky, silt laden shallow rivers of the heartland I was flummoxed. No way anything worth catching lived there!

    Two years later I was polishing my casting chops on a local river with the intention of fishing the MA coast on a trip "home". I was using the aforementioned 10wt and a smallmouth bass simply nailed my size 3/0 Deceiver. The light went on (hey, I'm not that bright, okay?). There were fish in that fetid water!

    A couple decades later and I've kick seined, snorkeled, fished and mapped hundreds of miles of these warm water freestone flows. I figured it was time to share. So I wrote a book. It took me 14 months to get all my thoughts in line and on paper (well, on screen anyway). I really liked the product as a finished piece. Then the fun began.

    I won't go into publishing issues other than to say if you are a first time book author (I'm an modestly established advertising and marketing copy writer, technical writer and I've been awarded the 2004 "Best Magazine Column" award by the Outdoor Writers of Ohio for my work with Country Anglin' Outdoor Guide) then the only thing the bigger publishing houses will offer you is the opportunity to spend some of your own money and give them all rights to your work in exchange for the possibility that if they make some good money on the first work you might (MIGHT) get a second chance.

    Editing was fun. I had an English Major ex-teacher wife of a friend do the red ink work. Let me tell you right now - never try to edit your own book. A magazine article maybe - but a book is way too much. Despite my best efforts I just didn't see the dangling participles, conflicted tenses, shifts in person and other issues that make a book stop flowing and just plug up like a bad toilet. I've never seen so much red ink in my life! I was aghast. But in
    the end, the editing was successful and the finished product only has two or three thousand subtle (some not so subtle, okay?) mistakes I've found. But it IS better.

    Graphic design was a nightmare. You can't go to a printer with a word document. Quark, Photoshop and other expensive programs are needed. Along with quirky, expensive "artists" who know how to use those powerful Macintosh machines. Five months after the edit I was calling my "graphic artist" on a daily basis. "Almost done" became a repeating theme - to the point that I now have a custom license plate for my car (seriously) that says "Almost"!

    Seven months after I started editing and layout I finally had the book done and a proof from the printers. Yahooooo!!!!!!!!!!!! It took me almost two years and cost me way more money than I have to print 2,000 copies. Do you have any idea how much space 2,000 copies of a book takes up? The wife will tell you it is exactly enough space that I'll never be allowed to park my car in the garage again. Or maybe even sleep in my own bed (she's starting to soften - last night she brought my pillows downstairs instead of throwing them).

    Did I mention that if you write about fishing it becomes a foregone conclusion that you won't be doing any? Between the time and expense you'll be lucky if you can even glance at the fly rods calling you from the corner of the den. Last year I was on the water 119 times. This year - under 20 so far.

    So what did I write about? I thought you'd never ask. My book really does take a different look at a few idea - mainly fishing the well curve (see my
    article on, understanding warm water prey species and how they are different from cold water inhabitants, and how fly sizes and patterns must change to reflect the changing availability and abundance of warm water food items.

    Of interest to this group will be key fly patterns that will imitate just about any flowing warm water baitfish. These include immature carp imitations, Foxee red Clousers and my own Mixed Media variation, crayfish imitations, etc.. Also I think I broke a little new ground by acknowledging and discussing fly fishing for catfish (yes, it can be done and it's a hoot) - though that is only a minor part of the content.

    Did I mention pictures? Not a lot of them, but they are all mine. 4 pages of color images as a centerpiece and a nicely designed cover. Also a nice bw image opening every chapter, along with a cool quote. I did spend a bit of time on this, after all...

    Anyway, if any of you has ever thought, "I think I'll write a book on fly fishing" - stop and think again. Go to a bar. Drink heavily. Run your credit card to the limit. Take up golf. When you are finally broke, hung over and humbled, come back and examine your desires again.

    The title of my book is "Fly Fishing Warm Water Rivers" ISBN 0-9765963-0-X. Contact me off list at if you'd like your very own copy.

    Hurry, the bar opens soon....

    Joe C.
  2. Joseph, I most likely will be contacting you to buy a copy. In the bell curve article, another title is mentioned, ""Fly Fishing the Flatlands, A Midwest Moving Water Adventure" . Would this be the same book?

    Is this a travelogue type of book, or is it a dissertation on theory and experience?

    You should post this information on warm water bulletin board as well. I have conversed with several other Ohio Fly fishers on their boards.


  3. Hi Joe,
    I'm interested! Check your mail!

    Hey Jeff...I posted before I saw YOUR post! How're you doing buddy?
  4. Yes, indeed. That was the working title of the book before I finished it. I'll have to ask Elmer to update my bio on his site.

    It is not a travelogue. Origninally I started writing the book as a "key" to the GMR, but I realized that the material I was writing was completely applicable to all the warm water freestone rivers I've fished from North Dakota to Florida. The project then took on a life of its own as I changed the focus of the work from "where to fish in Ohio" to "where and how to find fish and have a resonable chance of catching them" on those warmwater rivers and creeks that are so completely ubiquitous around the midwest and central U.S.

    I've started laying out a second volume regarding the inhabitants and habits of warm water pond and small lake inhabitants, and I'm also playing with a series of keys coordinated with the new maps of the Great Miami and Stillwater for local anglers to find new access spots and techniques. Of course those are long-term projects. This new book "Fly Fishing Warm Water Rivers" was just delivered to me from the printers less than two weeks ago. I still have a lot of work to do to get these volumes out and recoup my investment. The whole idea of this project was for me to write the book and break-even, not make a profit. That's a reasonable plan since its almost impossible to make a dime from a self-publishing effort. :)

    I'm a constant visitor to FlyAnglersOnLine and read the bulletin board regularly. I've participated there on occassion but I'm far more active on the FlyTying Forum and on several Yahoo e-groups. I have been active on this forum in the past but must confess I'm mostly a lurker this year since I've spent way too much time working and not nearly enough time fishing!!! :mad: A year ago June I even did a web event on this site talking about smallmouth bass fishing - with a little luck I'll have enough of a break from business travel to get more involved after the holidays.

    Joe C.
  5. Joe, thanks for the info. You'll be hearing from me soon, as I'm a recent convert to fishing Ohio's rivers.

    Mike, the season is wrapping up nicely. I think I sent you an email with my report of decent fishing I had on a "local Ohio river" last month? I had a good outting this weekend on the Des Plaines river in Illinois, brought in about a 22+ inch carp on an olive bead head woolly bugger (greatest fly ever), lost a couple more, and it was 55 out!!! I thought for sure I was going to get skunked (much like last month in Ohio).

    I've been debating a couple of steelhead trips this fall and winter when I visit the in-laws in Columbus again. Never gone after them before, I think I'll be happy just to spot one.
  6. Joe,

    Really enjoyed your presentation at Adrien's and the tying demo on the shad pattern. Bought the book and I'm in the process of reading it. I've been waiting to see the shad pattern on the BUFF website so that I can see a materials list and the photos. Do you still intend to put that on the site, or can I PM you for some help?

    You showed me some spots on the Ohio for wipers but I don't want to go there without a few of those shad in my vest!

  7. The Simple Shad pattern will be listed on the BUFF site soon, but that's beyond my control so we have to wait for a couple other guys to get the images, etc. together. I'll be happy to answer any questions you might have - email me off-board at Thanks.

    Joe C.
  8. For those who may be interested, I've just finished the first cut of my web page. Take a look and let me know what you think.
  9. i'm one of those quirky "artists" that know how to use those Adobe software systems you mentioned. i'm not really quirky, but i am an artist. most people who are graphic designers have gone through several different levels of training besides computer graphics. i've been everything from 10-foot self-portrait drawings, to 6-foot steel sculptures, to typographcial layouts.

    if you ever have issue with design aspects, you can let me know. i can probably give you the answer you need and steamline your time a bit.
  10. Fishin' Coach

    Fishin' Coach Wall I ETR

    Just ordered the book today (11/22/05) can't wait to read it!
  11. :eek:

    Oops... Oh, well.... I meant quirky in the best of connotations... yeah, that's it... a good thing ;)

    Seriously, graphic design takes a lot of multifaceted talent. I work with a graphics design team on print and internet ads on a daily basis as part of my "bill paying job". It requires a lot of technical skill and patience.

    And yes, I'll file your addy. There's lot's more I need to do and knowing who has the talent to turn ideas into reality is one of the key differentiators between daydreams and success.

    Tight lines,

    Joe C.
  12. Thanks cornmuse, actually I wasn't as irked as my post implied. Sometimes type tends to sound a little more harsh then if someone was saying it. I wasn't offended or anything, my buddies who can play around with photoshop a little who say they can be graphic artists does irk me a bit ;) . I hear that one all to often. :)

    good luck with the book.