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Gutenberg Lives: Reading Old Fly Fishing Books

Posted on January 18 2010


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Keith Barton of Singlebarbed notes that there are plenty (as in hundreds of thousands of pages, including Halford’s 1886 Floating Flies and How to Dress Them) of old fishing books that can be downloaded from Project Gutenberg and Google. As Barton suggests, “Download a fistful of PDFs and fish the turn-of-the-century Catskills, or a Irish freshet for sea run trout – then tuck them away as reference materials or simply a good read.”
Of course few of the old book files are searchable — they’re scanned images because no one can afford to proofread OCR files — which begs the question “Would you read a 230-page book online, regardless of its importance?” No question that some will. The rest may want to wait for an Amazon or a Sony to come up with OCR-search functionality for their electronic readers. My personal feeling is that being able to search text for words and phrases like “pupae” and “fly presentation” is the one thing that makes electronic reading more enjoyable.

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