HALFORD, Frederic M. Dry-Fly Fishing in Theory and Practice. Reading: Barry Shurlock & co. 1973.
8vo. Original black cloth, gilt lettering to spine, original cream slipcase; pp. xii + 288; frontispiece, 25 coloured plates; a little dampstaining to slipcase, otherwise very good indeed.
No. 48 of limited deluxe edition of 100, reprinted from the first edition of 1889. This classic work remains Halford's most influential book, being at once a fishing manual and an aesthetic manifesto: "The purists among dry-fly fishermen will not under any circumstances cast except over rising fish, and prefer to remain idle the entire day rather than attempt to persuade the wary inhabitants of the stream to rise at an artificial fly, unless they have previously seen a natural one taken in the same position." It is the touchstone text of a dogmatic approach to chalk-stream fishing that was later challenged by Skues, but which is still fundamental to modern angling: ".....the true value of the book is reflected by its overwhelming fascination as the harbinger of an entirely new era in the history of fly fishing, the era in which every one of us lives today. It is the era in which the importance of entomology is at last fully appreciated. It is also, in spite of the addition of effective nymphs to our armoury, the era of the dry fly" (Conrad Voss Bark, A History of Fly Fishing, 1992).