"Salt Water's Greatest Gamefish is an unusual and interesting attempt to clarify much about what each of us regards as our greatest gamefish. Tom has covered the spectrum of species cruising nearly dry saltwater flats to ones living in the ocean. He has done a terrific job detailing accurate and insightful information about the species included in the book, and his wise suggestions about tackle and drealted advice are valuable and right on" --Lefty Kreh
"Salt Water's Greatest Gamefish will not only give you detailed insight on each of these fantastic fish, but because Tom is aborn teacher, it will make you a much better angler. I highly recommend that you read Salt Water's Greatest Gamefish in order to get a bigt jump on whatever fish you're going to fish for., wherever you want to fish for them. And you'll certainly have mine and Tom's best wishes for more and bigger fishes!"
---From the foreword by Stu Apte
"I've been doing this fly-fishing thing for over fifty years now, and Tom Boyd is --hands down--the most knowledgeable, most competent, and most successful saltwater fly angler I've ever known. This book is the product of the thousands of days Tom has spent all over the world fly-fishing for--and more importantly, catching--every species of saltwater gamefish known to man. If you pay attention to what he has to say here, take it all to heart, and put it into practice, your saltwater success rate will go off the page." ---Bill Battles, executive publisher, Fly Fish America magazine
Salt Water's Greatest Gamefish
Tom and Jeff Boyd have written a blockbuster book on trout, salmon and char. It may be the most factual and impactful book ever written on salmonidae and how to catch them. It has been my pleasure to be friends with Tom Boyd and to have fished with him. It was his incredible fishing knowledge that induced us to invite him to join the Fly Fish America staff. Tom often talks of legends Lefty Kreh and Stu Apte whom he considers his mentors. These are two of the greatest ambassadors and contributors to fishing ever. Tom is younger, but in many ways his contributions are just as impressive, especially with regard to conservation. In fact, the amount of time and effort he and his son Jeff have spent in the successful pursuit of fishery conservation is unprecedented to my knowledge. Tom considers Lefty and Stu as his mentors and often tells of experiences with them – always laughing.
With Lefty, Tom states that one of his great compliments was that on two occasions anglers contacted him via Lefty’s suggestion, with specific questions on rare gamefish tactics. In neither case was Tom able to answer their questions, but felt honored that Lefty would recommend him. When Lefty found out Tom didn’t know the answers, he said, “Jees, a lot you know!”
With Stu, Tom spent much of the mid 1980s developing techniques to catch pelagics (especially billfish) on a fly. Tom honed his knowledge for years and was a consultant to lodges, captains, governments, organizations and the like. In 1990 at the first Fly Fishing Show in Edison, NJ, Tom exchanged his rough of a “Billfish 101” video filmed in the mid to late 1980s with Stu Apte’s rough of his “Saltwater Fly Fishing From A to Z” video series. The following day they returned the rough footages and Tom threw his in the nearest trash can, having learned so much more from Stu.
In Trout Salmon and Char, Tom and Jeff’s extraordinary revelations on freshwater gamefish behavior, characteristics and techniques to catch them are beyond remarkable. The Boyds believe that “understanding fish behavior is critical in determining successful strategies for catching them.” For a lifetime, much time and effort has been invested in salmonid behavioral research, often with noted guides, captains, scientists, universities, organizations and with the aid or direction of governments.
For over a generation, the Boyds have explored and fished many of the world’s top salmonid destinations with basic research goals involving tagging, DNA analysis, habitat and range, and individual characteristics and species’ differences to learn all they can about the Salmonidae family. They have applied their learning to develop techniques to capture our most cherished cold-water species. As far as I’m aware, Tom and Jeff are the only ones to have captured all of the salmonids in the book and they did it with a fly rod. For decades the Boyds have been strictly catch and release fly fishermen and return all their fish, including world record size, to the wild except in the few instances a fish perished in the fight. Although fly fishermen, the principles discussed in their book will help all fishermen increase their catch.
Tom and Jeff are forever the students – eager to continue to learn. “You can never know enough. Every fishing day brings a new experience and new revelations. The old saying that ten percent of the fishermen catch 90 percent of the fish is pretty much true. That ten percent work harder, plan more, research and accumulate more information, and utilize ever-improving tactics and techniques.” There was little or no luck involved in being a successful fisherman. “The only luck involved occurs when effort, preparation and practice meet opportunity.”
I’ve known and worked with Tom Boyd for many years and his knowledge and contributions to Fly Fish America and other publications is unparalleled. Jeff has joined his father in expanding their knowledge since the mid-1980s and is now sometimes the teacher. Some of their conservation work is remarkable. A few examples are: getting the commercial gill nets removed from Newfoundland/Labrador Atlantic salmon-Arctic char rivers; preventing the construction of dams in wild rivers; discovering new salmonid sub-species; discovering the mysteries stated by Dr. William Flick of Cornell University as to why giant brook trout survived Labrador’s harsh waters; contributing to tagging programs that discovered brook trout of 25 years of age and counting; establishing fish ladders; testifying and consulting for local, state, and national governments; stopping the elimination of menhaden by huge purse seiners in Long Island Sound; fighting to stop the proposed Pebble Mine site in Bristol Bay, Alaska; etc.
The knowledge and experiences over a lifetime have given them confidence to say “if there were only one fish to catch, we could catch it.” Tom and Jeff used their knowledge to rank the gamefish in the book according to fighting ability, heart, will, difficulty to catch, and other esoteric factors. They admit it is a purely subjective ranking and invite commentary and/or disagreement.
Tom and Jeff have done what few if any others have done: combine half a life of knowledge derived from scientific research with the knowledge and skill of a professional fly fisherman. The results are offered in these pages and provide unprecedented advantage to an angler.
The purpose of Trout Salmon and Char is “is to present new findings, behavior patterns, new and proven tactics and techniques, fly choices, proper presentation, and superior destinations” that are merged to inform and expand your ability to catch salmonids.
Bill Battles is the founder and publisher of Fly Fish America and On Target Magazines. He is a successful fly fisherman and a practicing attorney in North Conway, NH.