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Nymphs, The Mayflies: The Major Species (Volume I) Hardcover – July 1, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Ernest G. Schwiebert published the first edition of Nymphs in 1973 but never ceased working on the project, and over the next thirty years he continued his research into the entomology necessary to successful trout fishing. Fly
fishers in the early twenty-first century are accustomed to myriad types of artificial flies and approaches to catch trout, but back when there were still many anglers who populated a rules-bound world of dry flies and traditional wet flies, what Schwiebert said in the first edition of this book was novel and heretical. Vincent Marinaro, author of that touchstone American text, A Modern Dry-Fly Code, and hero to Schwiebert, refused to speak with the younger writer after Nymphs first appeared, as this new book promoted a violation of form that was unacceptable to the gentleman of the Letort Spring Run. Schwiebert, however, stood solidly behind his methods of identifying, tying, and fishing imitations of nymphs, a
revolution in the sport. Ultimately, critics hailed his highly original book as a landmark achievement in both the art and science of fly fishing, and thousands of anglers today carry fly boxes crammed with nymphs of various sizes and colors.

Now, the classic text has been fully revised and greatly expanded―in two volumes―and includes taxonomic details of multitudes of individual nymphs from many different insect genera, hundreds of recipes for imitations, and digitally remastered original illustrations and numerous new illustrations by the author. Schwiebert backs his text with authoritative support from the classic work of numerous entomologists, such as James Needham, Justin Leonard, Jay Traver, and George Edmunds, and colors it with his stories of fishing with legends of the sport, including John Hemingway, Charlie Fox, and Joe Brooks. This new Nymphs calls upon decades of angling experience―years that connect extraordinarily different eras of fly-fishing―to present a lasting, highly usable angler’s entomology for all of North America.

From the Back Cover

“Ernest Schwiebert was one of the most influential anglers of his time, bringing fluid prose and scientific precision to the knotty problems of enticing trout with artificial flies. Now a new generation can experience the Schwiebert touch as he adds still greater dimension to the art of nymph fishing.”
―John Merwin, Fishing Editor, Field & Stream

“Ernie Schwiebert, or simply Ernie, or ‘Ernesto’ as he was known to the fly-fishing fraternity, was a larger-than-life character who set his stamp on fly fishing forever. This two-volume work, revised upward from the original one-volume Nymphs, is an example of why. Quietly, Ernie spent the 33 intervening years since the 1973 original publication researching this, its successor. A classic over-achiever with doctorate and post doctorate degrees, Ernie devoted his life to pursuing the roots and truths of beauty in every form, from architecture to art, wine, history, philosophy, literature and his first and foremost love―fly fishing. From the age of ten he was the quintessential hatch matcher and Nymphs is his crowning achievement in that art/science genre. Nymphs sets Ernie's new standard: one that will never be exceeded in fly-fishing literature. It was my great good fortune to have worked with him. Hail, Ernesto!”―John Randolph, Editor, Fly Fisherman

“When you read one of Ernie Schwiebert’s books you get taken on a journey. Rather than reading an instruction manual, you go to Iceland or Ireland or the Nerversink. You learn about the history of our famous rivers and about the culture that surrounds them. You are on the river with Schwiebert, hearing the sounds and smelling the aromas of a trout stream in June. And you get a glimpse into the true genius of a man who could not only figure out the mysteries of subsurface
feeding, but could also invent the pattern to match it, and draw the natural with spectacular beauty. I’ve had thousands of hours of pleasure with the original Nymphs over the past thirty years. To have a new and updated version with a whole world of new adventures is going to make this book valuable well into the 21st century.”―Tom Rosenbauer, author of The Orvis Fly-Fishing Guide

About the original, 1973 edition:
“Few books in the entire history of fishing literature have constituted such a startling advance. Nymphs now seems to me to stand alone as the most accomplished solo writer-artist contribution to fly-fishing literature. With words and art, this book opened the eyes of the next two generations of fly fishers.”
―Paul Schullery, author of American Fly Fishing: A History

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press; First Printing edition (July 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159228499X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592284993
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.4 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,471,040 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By P. Marzinotto on September 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ernie, is an enlightened flyfisher and writer. The narrative is beautiful so are the colour plates of nymphs in the centerpages.
I was a bit disappointed in the lack of photography.
Lots of dressings throughout the book which could do with a photo of the pattern.
I regard this book as a must have althgough I feel it could be well embellished by addition of colour photography.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bobandy on October 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ernest Schwiebert originally published this monumental work in 1973, never fully satisfied that it was complete and up-to-date. He continued to work on it for 30 years until his death, and never ceased to improve, create, and record new illustrations, ideas, and fly patterns. Fortunately, his son picked up where he left off and provided us with this new (2007) volume that includes all the work Ernest had put into the ever-evolving treatise on aquatic insects that trout eat. The figures are stunning. The text is rich and full of pertinent scientific information, fishing stories, and ideas about how and why the imitations work. Simply put, this book is the bible of nymph fishing information. You will not read it in one sitting. You won't get through it in a week. Not a month. Probably most useful as a reference book, or something that you can gradually wade through over a couple of seasons, the knowledge and learnings of 30+ years on the water and in the lab are something that will truly astound and impress you.
This book should definitely be in the library of any angler who wants to learn more about the wonderfully cryptic and colorful world of subaquatic insects. It would be a perfect gift for any fly fisher and I cannot recommend it enough.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By F. E. Meek on June 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This pair of books is a lovely final chapter in the incomparable legacy of Ernest Schwiebert. Although he died before finishing this master work, his very capable son, Erik, finished the project with the help of a who's who of entomolgists, biologists and many others in the scientific community. It is a serious angling work, "...intended, after all, for an audience of serious anglers." And, it should be noted that this abundance of information is provided, couched comfortably in the author's mellifluous tales and his resonant, implacable voice.
These books should be on any serious anglers shelf, period. And, if you are not serious, then these books might make you so.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ernie Schwiebert was a true renaissance man. He enjoyed art, science, history, food, fishing, and life. I never met him, but through his writing, I feel as if I somehow know him. Not only has he fished many of the same places I've found myself, but he's travelled globally in pursuit of his passions. This book is much more than simply a pattern book, or a book on entomology. It is a veritable journey around the globe, through time, and alongside the most prominent (and not-so prominent) fly-fishers in history. Thoroughly enjoyable, but also exactingly precise, this tome will keep you reading for years to come. The patterns are practical and numerous. Do you need all of them? No. Well...probably not...unless you encounter very specific conditions. But if you pay close attention to the water, as Schwiebert has demonstrated, more times than not, those "special circumstances" may become the norm.

This volume is a hugely expanded version of Ernie Schwiebert's 1973 volume. His son Eric picked up the slack left after Ernie's passing in 2005. Erik finished the book, and with the help of others who loved Ernie, got this masterful volume published in 2007. Astonishingly, Ernie Schwiebert had never stopped working on new art, new text, and new experiences in all those 33 years. The man is an inspiration! His artistic style is impecable and the color plates are worthy of being framed. I only wish the images were larger...but then I might be tempted to rip them out and hang them on the wall...so perhaps little is best.

If you are passionate about fly fishing, or ecology, or even history, or just plain good stories...this book and its companion volume (Vol. 2) are well worth your time. These books encompass the life of a man who lived more in one lifetime than most of us even dare to dream for. You're life WILL be richer for sampling from this masterpiece.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Half-Hitch on January 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is no dry treatise on entomology. The stories and anecdotes in this delightfully entertaining tome have made this one of my most cherished books in my fly-fishing library. It is not something to be read in one sitting, however; more on the order of something to be savored over the years.

If you are wondering if this is a book for you, go to the library and sample it. If you are like me, you will have a difficult time putting it down.

Of course the book is (obviously) primarily a highly technical reference book; I am unashamed to admit being completely unqualified to review this aspect of the book.
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