Book Review: Magical Fly Fishing for Majestic Steelhead!

Zen Piscator

Supporting wild steelhead, gravel to gravel.
Book Review: Magical Fly Fishing for Majestic Steelhead
By Clay Sharp

I recently had the pleasure of reading a book that was entirely new to me. From the first glance at the title, I was pulled in and wanted more from page one. Magical Fly Fishing for Majestic Steelhead truly delivers. What it delivers however, I am still trying to figure out.

While spending some quality time at Steelie Mike's house with his dog and cats while he slaved away at work to pay for the next days fishing and my expensive bingo habit, I found one book that stood out from all the others. Magical Fly Fishing For Majestic Steelhead (MFFFMS for short) is attractively bound in a cover which I can only call a combo of dead hatchery kelt, sea foam, and crust. My excitement did not abate as I opened the front cover. Contained within these magical walls is a majestic mix of clever pros, powerful imagery, and caustic wit.

Clay Sharp started his fly fishing journey fishing the tailwater rivers of New Mexico. While he adds large trout are tough to find in these nutrient rich waters, he managed to catch a six and a half pound rainbow. Immediately after this astonishing feat of fly fishing prowess, Sharp adds to the aura of amazement by recalling his first steelhead fishing excursion. Many moons ago, Sharp was fishing a green-butted wolly worm, and with this simple tool took a very bright, above averaged size steelhead that took many runs into the backing. What’s more, he caught it on his VERY FIRST CAST EVER while steelhead fishing! Sharp adds that he managed to hook 4 and land 3 more bright, beautiful, magical steelhead that very afternoon. If this feat does not demand respect, I am not sure what does.

Breaking away from the run of the mill manuals of the day, Sharp takes a different approach to fly tying instruction. Instead of rambling on with mindless drivel about tying steps or fishing techniques, Sharp cuts right to the chase, informing you exactly how many steelhead he has caught with each fly presented in the book. After reading this section, I just had to sit down at the vise for a hot and steamy session producing each fly in the book, to catch thousands of bright, beautiful, magical steelhead myself. If you can look past the grammatical shortcomings and weak syntax, you will be left with a deep and passionate understanding of how many fish Sharp caught, from this section alone!

The heart and soul of MFFFMS does not lie in the amazing fly tying section however, it resides in the portion regarding how to find, land, and release dozens of steelhead each and every day. Once I find this section (3rd time through the book and still no luck) I will report back with great haste and a completed review.

This riveting work of erudite prowess ends in the best of ways. Sparing you once again from any boring thoughts on technique, Sharp displays his ability to take friends and kids out steelhead fishing and catch them limits every time. A true testament of raw skill, this book keeps you enthralled cover to cover, and burns quite well after a liberal soak in gasoline.

I might have to buy the book just to see how bad it is.

Come to think about it, it is really hard to write a bad steelhead book. A few pithy comments and some great fish porn is usually enough to separate me from my money. Sounds like his book could become a campy classic. :) :) :)

Gabriel Burgi

doesn't live in WA anymore :(
Joepa said:
Clay Sharp = SharpSteelie? :rolleyes:

Must be an interesting read - non-fiction? Just kidding.
:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Hahahaha!!! I remember that guy! It must be him! We haven't had a good ol' SharpSteelie on the board in a while. I used to wait impatiently everyday to read his next post and find out how many steelhead he caught that day:clown:

Andy - Did you just get a new thesaurus? I was in AP English at your age and didn't know half of the words you threw out (can't remember the other half either)! That was the best book review I have read in a long time. Might work backwards though, I too might get the book just to see how bad it is!

- Gabe:beer1:

o mykiss

Active Member
So that's it, Andy? No magic? When I read the title, I thought for sure Sharp Steelie was going to divulge some secret incantations or mysterious potions (you know - eye of cat, toe of newt, tail of rat, blood of pig, bile of chicken, wolf's bane and hemlock, all simmered slowly in a big black cauldron) that would turn me and my kids, uncles, and grandma into steelhead catching machines! So I recently placed my order on Amazon and bought a big walk-in freezer and a L'il Chief smoker for all the hatchery fish we would be baggin' and taggin'. But now you're saying that Sharp's prowess at catching and causing others to catch thousands of majestic steelhead is just about his deadly - if somewhat unimaginatively designed - floss and hackle flies? Nothing supernatural or paranormal in the book at all? No forward by J.K. Rowling? There just doesn't seem to be anything "magical" about that. And nothing I haven't learned already from Sharp's trail of redundant website postings all over the Internet. I may be asking for a refund.
I'll wait until Preston gets it for review and then borrow it. I do indeed remember Clay "Sharp Steelie" Sharp. He hounded me for two straight days at Orvis to read his manuscript; on the spot! I respectfully declined explaining that I had customers to serve. I wouldn't mind learning how to catch 15-20 steelhead per day though. I've never done that even back in the good old days when we had a lot of them swimming into our rivers. I wish Clay the sales his book deserves however as writing a fishing book is hard work and even a successful one doesn't make the writer rich.
Good Fishing,
Les Johnson

Steve Buckner

Mother Nature's Son
I received phone call after phone call from Ol' Clay...I would have rather been boiled in oil than to have continued those conversations...:beathead:

He told me that one of the reasons people often didn't like him was because he was always an "over achiever"....As many will recall, the good Lord made him the best steelhead fisherman there has ever been but at the same time, damned him by being an over achiever...:hmmm:
Steve Buckner said:
As many will recall, the good Lord made him the best steelhead fisherman there has ever been but at the same time, damned him by being an over achiever
Ah......Like Cassandra, fated by Apollo to always tell the truth but not be believed :)

Matt Burke

Active Member
I really wonder if there is a possibility to see Clay on Oprah’s book of the month club. And then Clay having to break down and cry stating, I just suffer from being an overachiever. I can’t help that I have this gift. Then Oprah getting all mad and yelling at him, don’t you dare blaspheme on my show Clay!