Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Book Review - Complete Guide to Fresh and Saltwater Fishing

Vin T. Sparano has written another gem and I can't wait to share it with you.  The Complete Guide to Fresh and Saltwater Fishing is just that - thorough and complete, and will be your go-to book for in-depth coverage of spin, bait, and fly fishing techniques, as well as tackle, and profiles of salt and freshwater game fish.

This excellent guide is 368 pages long and filled with 600 beautiful color photographs and detailed illustrations.  It's broken down into 6 sections:

  • Fishing
  • Freshwater Game Fish
  • Saltwater Game Fish
  • Cooking Techniques and Recipes
  • First Aid for Fisherman
  • Boating
 Let's check it out, shall we?  I want to stress that this guide is not just for the inexperienced fisherman.  There is such a wealth of information here that even experienced fishermen will find nuggets that they can use and apply while on the water.

One of my favorite sections was right at the beginning - How to match up spinning tackle. Even though I've been fishing most of my life, I really didn't know the proper way to match a reel, rod, line and lure with the type of fish I was after.   I know what I like and what I generally use.  But the table Vin provides takes the guesswork out of the equation.  See I learned something new and useful already!

Want to learn the proper technique for using baitcasting tackle?  There are 3 pages of colored photographs with narrative outlining the proper way to do so.  Interested in ice fishing?  Look no further - the ice fishing world of tip -ups, jigging rods, lures and baits are thoroughly covered.  "What about line," you may ask....  Well, what kind of line do you want to know about - monofilament, fluorocarbon, dacron, linen, cuttyhunk, silk, lead-core or wire?  The mysteries of line are revealed in a way that is easy to understand and follow.

There is also a nice troubleshooting chart to help you with common fishing problems and what to do about them.  Navigate the world of hooks and lures.  Wait until you see the colored lure photos.  I almost guarantee you will stare at them, spellbound, like my husband does.   What is it about a pretty lure that is so mesmerizing?  This book will tell you everything you need to know about plastic worms and lures, except how to keep your husband from constantly buying new ones.

If fly fishing is more your thing, then you'll enjoy the section on the wide variety of flies - dry, keel, wet, nymphs, streamers, terrestrials, bass bugs.  The list goes on and on.  Learn which ones are the right ones for you and how to tie them.  If you want to find out the five best flies to use for bass, well, you'll need to buy the book....

Did you have any idea you could catch dolphin on fly fishing tackle?  I sure didn't.  The section on freshwater baits is particularly interesting and the accompanying chart breaks it all down for you.  Anyone interested in knots will be in heaven as there are 12 entire pages dedicated to knot tying with illustrations and step by step instructions.

This chapter has 27 pages all about freshwater game fish that includes their name, a colored illustration, a detailed description of the fish, their normal range, habitat, size, food, fishing methods and what baits to generally use.

This chapter covers 30 pages and details the same information as that for the freshwater fish above.  I thought it was interesting to just look at the illustrations and read about the different types of fish that are available, especially since I've never gone saltwater fishing.  It really makes me want to give it a try sometime.

(Author Vin Sparano showing us how to hook the big one)

An important section of this book because once you catch the fish, you have to know what to do with them, right?  Proper field care and dressing of fish is a necessity.  Colored photographs will show you how to fillet a fish and work around those bothersome bones.  Make sure to take a look at the correct knives to use as well.  And then there are the recipes....
  • Striped Bass with lemon and onion
  • Grilled Rainbow Trout
  • Walleye shore lunch
  • Fried Panfish
  • Butter broiled Snapper
Getting hungry?  There's a bunch of recipes here and you'll start fishing outside your comfort zone just so you can try cooking a few. 

No outdoors book is complete without a section on first aid.  My motto is to Be Prepared and it's better to know how to do something and not need it, than to not know something and need it, right?   This section covers internal and external bleeding, mouth to mouth resuscitation, snake and bug bites, poison ivy and oak, sunstroke, sunburn, frostbite, sprains and puncture wounds.  It even covers fish hook removal and since my husband has personally made 2 trips to the emergency room for this particular problem, that grabbed my attention!  His lures are hanging on fishhook boards in ER's in 2 different states.  Not that I hope he repeats that problem anytime soon, but now I know what to do if it happens again. 

I found the chapter on boating to be particularly interesting.  Vin really breaks down the mystery of hull design and what makes them different.  This is important if you're in the market for a boat and don't know exactly what you want or need.  Kayaks, canoes and sailboats are covered as well.  Inboard and outboard motors are discussed in depth and if you want to find out more about depthsounders, this is a good place to read all about them.  Find out why anchors come in different shapes and sizes and if backing up a boat trailer confuses you, the illustrations will help you figure it out.  And finally, there is much discussion on flotation devices and navigation lights.

The Complete Guide to Fresh and Saltwater Fishing is a must have!  It is full of important information, interesting tidbits and hundreds of useful photos.  Fathers Day is just around the corner.  Don't cast around aimlessly looking for the perfect gift - this is it!

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.   Get your copy here

(I was given an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.  Images are the property of the publisher and cannot be reproduced without consent.) 


  1. You are a fisherwoman too?

    1. Yes!! Love to fish. I like to catch and eat Bluebill the best. My husband fishes Bass Tournaments in KY. One of these days I'd love to try saltwater fishing.

  2. Kim, this sounds like a great book for beginners and experts! I like that he covers fresh and salt water fishing. I never paid attention when my Dad was tying knots, so this chapter will be very helpful to me. Thanks for the review!!

    1. Thanks Moira - the section on knots is excellent.

  3. This is book my hubby would like!

  4. I grew up fishing and would love to get back into it someday. I will have to remember this book!

  5. Hmmmm....good Father's Day present.


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