Outdoors in Maine: A Hex hatch book to behold

Hicks are bomber-sized mayflies, sometimes called green drakes, that appear in Maine trout ponds in mid-summer, usually early July.

V. Paul Reynolds, Foreign Columnist

For trout, they’re turkey dinner with all the fixings. For the trout-loving fly fisherman, Hex Hatch is both an adrenaline rush and a sight to behold.

So it’s only fitting that someone with a special love for trout fishing, as well as a deep fascination and passion for this iconic fly, finally rolled up his sleeves and wrote a book on the subject: “The Hicks Hatch” Fly Fishing” by Leighton Wass. It is published by North Country Press and retails for $24.95.

Wass grew up in Southwest Harbor, Maine. He taught high school biology in Vermont for 33 years. He is 80 years old and has been fly fishing for a long time. He fishes all the northern New England states but has a special place in his fishing heart for Maine. He lives in Adamant, Vermont.

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Hex Mayfly is the star of Weiss’s book, and he explains all the differences in patient detail and good humor in a way that even I can understand. As far as I know, Vas is breaking new ground in a field with books on fly fishing tactics and insect identification.

This 310-page book, with over 250 photographs and illustrations, is essential reading for experienced beekeepers and beginners alike. Topics covered include how to estimate hex hatch time, how to prepare for an evening of fishing, the author’s top five hex flies, the life cycle of the hex mayfly, and confusion over common names. In addition, more than 160 hex ponds and lakes named in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont are listed, and an index allows readers to mark pages where specific bodies of water are discussed.

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“Fly Fishing the Hex Hatch” has a tone, humor, heart and atmosphere that I found fascinating. It’s a comprehensive, educational book and a great read for the new angler or seasoned streamer. Vas knows his stuff. His book is a winner.

Wass has been an outdoor freelance writer since the 1970s, but this is his first book to share all the how, when and where he learned about this revered bee hatch. This will be the bee angle reference for years to come.

Signed copies are available directly from the author. Send $24 plus $4 postage to Layton Wass, 1255 Adamant Rd., Adamant, VT 05640.

V. Paul Reynolds is editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal. He is also the host of Maine Guide and a weekly radio show, “Maine Out,” heard Sunday evenings at 7 p.m. on the Voice of Maine News-Talk Network. He has written three books; Online purchase information is available at www.maineoutdoorpublications.net.

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