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Now’s Time To Get A Read On Outdoors

Wed., May 21, 1997

Books on spying, antique fly-fishing tackle and tonkin bamboo are among the most interesting and informative outdoor books published the past three months.

Here is a sampling:

Spy on the Roof of the World, by Sidney Wignall, published by Lyons & Burford, $25. This is a “now it can be told” book about the recruiting of British climbers by India to spy on the Chinese in the Himalayas. It’s an absorbing story about mountain climbing and the bumbling interrogation of the climbers by incompetent Chinese army officials.

Forty-two years ago, an Indian secret agent persuaded Wignall, who was to head a Welsh expedition to climb a Himalayan peak, to try to find some facts regarding a Chinese army build-up in Tibet. Wignall and his companions were captured and taken to a Chinese compound.

The climbers were frequently beaten, humiliated and starved, but the Chinese, who undoubtedly knew that the climbers were spies, couldn’t get the men to confess, an action that almost certainly would have meant long imprisonment.

It’s a book that’s hard to set aside before all 267 pages are read.

Classic & Antique Fly Fishing Tackle, by A.J. Campbell, published by Lyons & Burford, $50. It’s no secret that many people go to garage sales to look for items that may be much more valuable than the home owners realize.

To sellers and buyers of old fishing tackle, Campbell’s book is a treasure of information, even though it doesn’t list prices for antique equipment. In a way, the book is a history of fly fishing.

If you think you have fishing tackle that’s worth a lot of money to collectors, either buy or borrow this book. If you’re a collector or a fly fisher interested in old tackle, you’ll buy it.

The Angler’s Bamboo, by Luis Marden, published by Lyons & Burford, $25. Why does a publisher, in these days of high paper costs, produce a book about a species of grass that’s no longer widely used to make fly rods? The answer is simple: Although at least nine out of 10 fly fishers now buy rods made of high modulus graphite, there are still fishermen who consider bamboo the best fly-rod material.

Nearly every big fly club has members who make and use bamboo fly rods. Serious fly fishers interested in the history of their sport are potential buyers of Marden’s wonderful little book that almost certainly will be considered “the” authority on the world’s best fly-rod bamboo, known as Tonkin bamboo and grown in China’s Kwangtun Province.

Travers Corner, by Scott Waldie, published by Lyons & Burford, $25. The setting for the fascinating yarns in this outstanding book by a one-time outfitter and fly-fishing guide is Travers Corner, a mythical village somewhere near Missoula.

Anyone who has grown up in a small town and has been exposed to the mentality of the folk who knew each other’s quirks and frailties will empathize with the characters in the stories.

Fly Fishing Bass Basics, by C. Boyd Pfeiffer, published by Stackpole Books, $12.95. If you just want the facts, man, this is the book for you. As usual, Pfeiffer does a professional job, producing a low-priced book that contains a wealth of practical, useful information on bass fishing. He has illustrated the soft-cover book with scores of line drawings. A good book for a youngster who is interested in bass fishing.

Mammals of Alaska, published by the Alaska Geographic Society, $17.95. This excellent guide contains detailed information on nearly 50 mammals ranging from bats to whales. Inasmuch as as many of the animals thrive in the lower 48 states, the guide is a good book to store in the side pocket of the family auto. It’s illustrated with color pictures.

Freshwater Fishing Tips & Techniques, by Gene Kugach, published by Stackpole Books, $10.95. You’ll get your money’s worth for this 222-page book. The author has included scores of excellent line drawings and information on finding and attracting fish, tackle and equipment, fly fishing and tying, bait fishing and even cleaning and cooking the fish you catch.

Rocks and Minerals, by Frederick H. Pough, published by Houghton Mifflin, $17.95. If you’re interested in rocks and minerals, you’ll want the new fifth edition of Pough’s outstanding guide. The 396-page guide, illustrated with 64 color plates as well as numerous drawings, contains nearly everything you want to know about rocks and minerals.

, DataTimes MEMO: You can contact Fenton Roskelley by voice mail at 459-5577, extension 3814.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Fenton Roskelley The Spokesman-Review

You can contact Fenton Roskelley by voice mail at 459-5577, extension 3814.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Fenton Roskelley The Spokesman-Review

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