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There’s no way to give a fair review of “The Curtis Creek Manifesto!” There is nothing about this book that is negative, everything about it is relevant to fly-fishing, nearly 40 years after it’s initial publishing. It was the first book we bought to show us the in’s and out’s of fly-fishing, and we read it nearly once a year. If you haven’t yet, do yourself a favor and go pick up “The Curtis Creek Manifesto,” you will not regret it.
Originally published in 1976, The Curtis Creek Manifesto is as relevant today as it was when it was first published. Sheridan Anderson, the author and illustrator, was taught to fly fish by his uncle, Grant Wooton, as a child and from there loved to be in the outdoors. From rock climbing to fly-fishing, Anderson, travelled across the country, never stopping long enough to set down roots but always making a friend. And that characteristic comes across clearly through his writing and drawing.
This may be the reason that The Curtis Creek Manifesto is so difficult to review. It’s like an old friend that you wish you could spend more time with yet every time you pick it up it ends just too quickly. The Manifesto has been a primer for new fly-fishermen for nearly half a decade and that is a testament to the quality of work that it is. The book itself is only 48 pages long and in that 48 pages is a wealth of information. Unfortunately, it’s a wealth of information that can only begin to scratch the surface of the sport of fly-fishing.
Even the most accomplished fly-fisherman can find something useful by returning the pages of this fly-fishing primer. If we had to point out one criticism of this book it would be the fact that it is only 48 pages long, there is so much more that Anderson could have touched upon, but that very criticism is exactly what brings people back to it, to try to find some untapped piece of wisdom. And the glowing ray of light from the Manifesto? It’s focus on fishing small water!
Sheridan learned how to fish on a small creek in Northern Utah, Curtis Creek to be specific. From the way the book is presented, he learned to catch fish by sneaking, stalking, and being a true hunter. This flies so much in the face of big river fishermen who want to be in the middle of a pool, casting long and hard to fish that they’ve scared away minutes ago. Unfortunately, and it’s pointed out in the Manifesto, so many images of fly-fishing are of the fisherman in the middle of the river, not on their knees, hiding behind a rock, casting to fish in a small pool.