One of my goals for this off-season is to reread some of the books that helped me become a better saltwater fly angler and tyer. I've amassed quite a collection over the past 30 years. Throughout the '90's I could count on finding a couple of new titles under the Christmas tree. My wife and I used to spend more time wandering through bookstores whenever we travelled or needed an escape at family gatherings, and having a new fishing book in hand provided refuge when going fishing (again) wasn't possible or acceptable. In the boom days of northeast saltwater fly fishing - aka the striper recovery - before the internet was the oracle, there seemed to be a hot new title out every couple of months. Not only did these authors help me learn more about catching striped bass, but they helped fuel my passion for chasing this fish and becoming a more proficient angler.
My wife and I both like the feeling of having books around, although too many are stacked in plastic tubs in various storage spaces, and we clearly need to get better at culling them. I suppose we could investigate the possible reasons for our behavior, and the ideal of rereading would be but one motivation. As I sift through stacks and boxes and shelves, the titles that I have read a second and third time tend to either be collections of essays on bird hunting that have been my company on longer trips out West or How To titles on saltwater fly fishing and fly tying. I recognize that my desire to revisit the best books is driven in part by gaining more insight and understanding, becoming a better angler and guide. Lessons now are different than they were in my third summer of chasing stripers with a fly rod. I'm not so much looking for new explanations or introductions to unknown tactics but I do find that observations of others helps put order to experiences I've accrued, sharpen lessons learned, and highlight the questions that I am now trying to answer and the gaps in my understanding that deserve more of my attention.