A Treatyse of Fysshynge with an Angle
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he Treatyse of Fysshynge with an Angle was published as part of the second edition of The Boke of St. Albans in 1496. Two manuscript versions exists, dated prior 1450, but even the most complete copy lacks some of the text of the printed version, in particular the list of flies. We know who published the Treatyse - Wynkyn de Worde, Caxton's apprentice and successor. The identity of the author is less certain. It is often said that the author was Dame Juliana Berners, but the evidence for this is pretty slim.

The Treatyse is the most complete early reference work on fly fishing. The text includes instructions on how to make a rod, line, hooks, instructions for twelve fly patterns and hints about how to catch the common varieties of British fish.

The Treatyse stands out among works of the period, not least because it is the first printed book on fly fishing, but also because it champions fishing, putting it on the same plane as hunting. Hunting was the sport of kings and nobles, and the Treatyse's claim must have caused a few raised eyebrows at the time. However, the influence of the Treatyse was immense. It was a popular work and was reprinted many times over the century that followed its first publication.

There were no more major works on fly fishing for another two centuries, so the Treatyse stands alone, an extraordinary achievement, whatever its origins, and whoever the author may have been. The best way of making your mind up about the Treatyse   is to click here and read it - it won't take you very long.

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