Outdoors in Maine: A Hex Luke Book to Watch

A hex is a bomb-sized mayfly, sometimes called a green drake, that appears in Maine trout ponds in midsummer, usually early July.

V. Paul Reynolds, outdoor columnist

For trout, they’re a turkey meal with all the fixins. For a trout loving fly fisherman, a hex hatch is both an adrenaline rush and a sight to behold.

So it’s only fitting that someone with a particular love for trout fishing, as well as a deep curiosity and infatuation with this iconic ephemera, has finally rolled up their sleeves and written a book on the subject, Fly Fishing the Hex Hatch. by Leighton Wass. It is published by North Country Press and costs $24.95.

Wass grew up in Southwest Harbor, Maine. He taught biology in a Vermont high school for 33 years. He’s 80 and has been fly fishing long before he shaved. He fishes in every northern New England state, but has a special place in his fishing heart for Maine. He lives in Adamant, Vermont.

The Hex Mayfly is the star of Wass’ book, and with patient detail and good humor he explains all the differences in a way even I can understand. From what I understand, Wass is breaking new ground in a field populated with books on fly-fishing tactics and insect identification.

This 310 page book with over 250 photos and illustrations is a must for experienced fly fishermen and beginners alike. Topics covered include how to predict the timing of a hex hatch, how to prepare for a night out fishing, the author’s top five hex flies, the life cycle of the hex mayfly, and the confusion surrounding common names. Additionally, the 160 hex ponds and lakes named in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont are the most ever listed, and an index allows readers to locate pages where specific bodies of water are discussed.

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Fly Fishing the Hex Hatch has voice, humor, heart and an ease that I found captivating. It is a comprehensive, educational book and enjoyable read for the beginner or seasoned veteran. Wass knows his stuff. His book is a winner.

Wass has been a freelance outdoor writer since the 1970s, but this is his first book, sharing all the how, when and where he learned about this adored mayfly. It will become a reference for fly anglers in the years to come.

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

V. Paul Reynolds is editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal. He is also a travel guide for Maine and host of the weekly radio show “Maine Outdoors” aired Sundays at 7 p.m. on The Voice of Maine News-Talk Network. He has authored three books; For online purchasing information, visit www.maineoutdoorpublications.net.

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