Fundamentals of Fly Fishing by Joe Bertolaccini is a great book

I have a friend who wants to take up fly fishing this year, and I’ve got the perfect book for him. Joe Bertolaccini’s Fundamentals of Fly Fishing is full of great information and guidance, and not just for the new fly fisher.

I learned a lot myself. From rods to flies to knots to casting, Joe covers it all in detail. But the book is also very readable. Joe emphasizes that he “tried to present, in some sort of logical manner, a common sense approach to fly-fishing fundamentals.” Mission achieved Joe!

Joe reports that he started fly fishing with his grandfather on family vacations in New Hampshire. “He would let me use his fly rod off the dock where I could catch sunfish and yellow perch to my heart’s content with the small flies he gave me.”

Joe got his first fly-fishing outfit when he was a sophomore in high school in 1951, a nine foot 6 ½ ounce bamboo Montague Rapidan with a Pflueger Medalist reel, both of which he is still using today. Reminded me of a question my wife Linda asked not long ago: “George, do you really need 14 fly rods?” Well, yes I do!

Like me, Joe says his fishing life has been a continuous learning experience, “an interesting, challenging, rewarding and fun-filled endeavor for my entire life.”

I particularly enjoyed the last section of the book featuring “Teachable Moments.” These are stories of some of his fishing adventures from the Yellowstone River to Alaska to many places in Maine. He writes about everything from mackerel fishing to fishing with grandkids (something I really really enjoy myself).

Joe is a retired Maine Guide and past president of the Sunkhaze Chapter of Trout Unlimited and a charter member of the Penobscot Fly Fishers. He lives with his wife in Orrington, and gives lots of credit to Paul Reynolds, publisher of the Northeast Sporting Journal for helping him get his book published.

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.