Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Toothy critters love flies by George Bernstein

So I received “Toothy critters love flies” last Thursday in the post and took it away with me to the summer cottage over the weekend and gave it a good once over.

I had know idea who George Bernstein was, but It didn’t take me long though to realize George is no slouch with a fly rod, and with 20 yrs experience behind him in targeting Pike/ Musky n Bass as well as eight (IGFA) World records, 2 being for pike, he certainly is more than qualified to write his own encounters for us to read.

He shares many of the same views I have towards pike on the fly, and I can understand why he has ruffled some feathers within pike on the fly community in the States with some of his comments and views. To be truthful I don’t think there is any one correct way to fly fish for pike as every individual brings their own techniques to the sport. That’s what makes pike n musky on the fly so innovative. Reading Georges accounts and experiences only fueled my passion for the sport even more. The 1st half of the book really covers his exploits & especially his adventures in Canada targeting big pike. And believe you me when I say George has caught more big pike n musky than most of us could wish to ever catch in a lifetime.

He then goes onto explain the necessary tackle needed to land big pike. Rods, Reels n Lines which generally can be found in most pike books these days.. I found The “Flies that work” chapter particularly interesting as well. I’ve banged on myself about the merits of White & red feathered marabou streamers for some time now which George swears by, and I found his comment about using dark flies in low light conditions equally rewarding to read as I have preached this method within the forums here only for them to get ridiculed. I did find his fly tutorials interesting but rather difficult to follow and would think for any novice fly tier would be nigh impossible to understand. This I have to say is my only gripe with the book as it sorely lacks a picture tutorial for these flies. In Georges defense though, I understand the costs involved when adding coloured prints to a publication like this, and anyway I found it quite refreshing to read a book which wasn’t cluttered with glossy coloured images throughout its pages. A selection of flies he uses can be found on the back cover and I have to be honest here, they are, if not some of the roughest and ugliest tied pike flies I have ever seen. Which just goes to show that flies don’t have to be esthetically pleasing on the eye to catch big pike.

For those in the States n Canada there are some particularly interesting articles on targeting large & small mouthed bass, Walleye which for us Europeans Zander/Pike-perch, Arctic Grayling, brook & lake Trout, and its full of tips and tricks on casting big flies as well as how to get the most action from your flies during their retrievals. ”Toothy critters love flies” is extremely well written and I highly recommend it for novice and seasoned pike n musky fly-fishermen alike, whether here in Europe or in the States & Canada. It can be ordered from an number of online book shops for $16,95 as well as from his blog or just email him at

So as I mentioned earlier I will be giving this book away to one lucky reader here on PikeFFArticles. All you need to do to put yourself in with a chance of winning “Toothy critters love flies” by George Bernstein is tell me how many (IGFA) World records George has held. Either leave your answers with your name and address in the comments section for this post or through the contact form in the right sidebar. Names will be put into a number generator and the 1st correct answer will be receiving this book. Entries must be in by Sunday 16th August.

Lastly I might add that I received no money from George for writing this review in fact I paid for its postage, just so I can have the privilege of reading this book. Thank you George for enlightening me in how you as a pikeflyguy target these great fish. Your a true gentlemen and I hope someday that our paths may cross. Tight lines to you Sir.


b2v said...


David Edwards said...

The book is a good read and a private publication is a very brave thing to do. Costs would have increased horrendously for George if he'd put colour plates in, I suspect making it difficult to do what he's done.

I much admire him not only for his pike and musky fishing exploits BUT more so for the power of his own conviction in publishing his own book!

I understand from George that he has a couple of novels in the pipeline... hope that comes off now that he's a published author!

Ulf Hagström said...

It's eight (8) world records =)


pikepicker said...

Si guy....."8" world records bro. Sounds like an awesome book!

David Edwards said...

"I found his comment about using dark flies in low light conditions equally rewarding to read as I have preached this method within the forums here only for them to get ridiculed"

Have to say that I always thought that it was black flies at night (that's pretty low light) as they produce a nice silouette against the sky for an upward attack.

Don't feel ridiculed Simon... they obviously didn't know what they were talking about mate!

pikepicker said...

I can't agree more......

b2v said...

so Simon !? who's the first to answer ?
hahaha something tells me that I will have a good book to read during the holidays !!