How to Fish by Chris Yates
How to Fish by Chris Yates

How to Fish

  • by Chris Yates
  • A philosophy of angling
  • Published by Hamish Hamilton, 28th September 2006
  • Hardback
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241-14330-8 and ISBN-10: 0-241-14330-6
  • 23 chapters, 242 pages
  • £ 14.99
The Publishers say
From Chris Yates, England’s most revered and esoteric angler, comes this gem of a book – a philosophy of angling. ‘How To Fish’ describes a spirited approach to the art of fishing that utterly dismisses the modern preoccupation with technique, gadgetry and ‘catch rates’. Through evocative accounts of days spent on the riverbank, Chris Yates urges us to deepen our vision and rediscover the essential magic of angling.

Covering a wealth of topics including the importance of angling as a means of re-connecting with nature, the quirky individual traits of different fish species, the special atmospheres surrounding particular rivers and lakes, and the very secret of how to fish, this is a wise and wonderful book.

Chris Yates
Is a photographer, an author and the founder of Waterlog magazine, but he is first and foremost a fisherman. His passion began with the discovery of a monster carp in his village pond when he was five. Thirty years later, he caught a record 51-pound carp, the biggest carp – and the biggest fish – in England at that time, and went on to write about his experiences in books, in magazines, in radio programmes and in the BBC2 series A Passion for Angling. He lives in South Wiltshire.

From the Flyleaf
sitting on a riverbank, with rod and line, must count as one of the most relaxing and enjoyable – yet occasionally frustrating – experiences known to man.

Chris Yates discovered the joys of fishing early in life and was quickly hooked by its pleasures. Many years later, he is still content to sit, day after day, observing the quirks of different fish and losing track of time. For him, fishing is much more than just a question of technique; sometimes it’s about listening to nothing but your instincts, and at other times it’s about enjoying the perfect cup of tea. And it’s always about not knowing how the day is going to unfold…

There’s no better guide for the uninitiated – and no better companion for those already familiar with the satisfactions of fishing – than Chris Yates. And immersing yourself in How To Fish is almost as delightful an activity as fishing itself.

Things you didn’t know about fishing
The most reprinted book in the history of British letters, after the Bible and the works of Shakespeare, is Izaak Walton’s The Complete Angler, which was first published in 1653.

There are an estimated 3.5 million anglers in Britain and 60 million in the US.

Over the last five years, there has been an upsurge of interest in angling from the more fashionable younger sections of society, and women are also making more waves in angling than ever before.


The best praise I can give this book is to say that there is little to dispute in the publisher’s description of the book and of Yates.

In spite of the title this is not a book that will teach you how to fish, but it may very well teach how to enjoy fishing. There is a world of difference between the two and Yates is the master when it comes to appreciating fishing and all it has to offer and putting that appreciation into words.

The opening paragraph of the very first chapter confirms that the book is going to be a good read:

“However eager I am to start fishing there is something about the first glimpse of a river that never fails to stop me in my tracks. Even on a wet winter’s morning when I’m hurrying with all my gear across an open field a river will flag me down before I can find a sheltering tree and for a few moments we have a silent conversation.”

The book is an explanation, a philosophy, of angling that goes a long, long way towards describing exactly what the love of fishing means when that love is not clouded by targets and ambitions rated by numbers and weight. It is a book for the passionate angler who fishes purely for the love of it.

If you want to ‘bag up’, need to read about shotting patterns, rigs, baits, spods and pods then this book is not for you. If you want a bloody good read about fishing then it most definitely is.