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Fishing Tandem Flies

Review by Joe Cornwall


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Charles Meck is a quiet and confident gentleman with a firm handshake and a warm smile.  He’s also known as one of the all-time great trout gurus.  He's got a decided penchant for petite flows, clear water and technical fishing.  Meck is the author of more than a dozen books and DVD productions and he seems to be happiest when he’s been given the chance to share his hard-won knowledge.  When a fellow like Charlie Meck talks fishing, the smartest thing an aspiring angler can do is listen.  And when he releases a new book, the only proper thing to do is put it on the top of your “most wanted” list.  That’s right where Meck’s slim new volume Fishing Tandem Flies should be – that is if you want to catch more trout!


Fishing Tandem Flies spans a scant but chock-a-bloc full 122 pages and is firmly focused on a very technical how-to topic.  In the world of fly fishing for trout it has become very popular to fish two flies.  From the ubiquitous “hopper-dropper” to dual nymph rigs, the multiple fly “cast” has made a come-back.  Many of us believe it never really went away; fishing two or more wet flies is a technique as old as the sport itself.  But when something gets old enough it can become new again.  The danger is in forgetting all that has been learned, and that’s where Fishing Tandem Flies fits in.  Meck has defined and clarified this effective technique, providing a guide for proper rigging and fishing tactics that will coach the neophyte and enlighten the veteran.


“After two decades of fishing almost exclusively with two or more flies, I have refined the system to make it even easier,” says Meck in the first chapter.  “In this book, I hope to help you become more prepared to meet some of the onstream challenges that we all love about fly fishing.  In chapters 2 through 7, I’ll share some tactics and techniques I’ve learned and developed over the years for fishing tandem rigs, including tactics for matching the hatch and how to rig the different connections, and in chapters 8 and 9, I’ll share some effective flies I’ve discovered over the years.  These methods might change the way you fish.”


The material Meck presents will most definitely change the way I fish.  His observations and instruction are applicable to so much more than the trout stream.  Like Jack Ellis, I believe bluegills are the most trout-like of all warmwater fishes.  Everything in Fishing Tandem Flies is equally applicable to those persnickety panfish.  And smallmouth bass too, can be voraciously insectivorous.  Wherever you fish, still water or moving, you’ll find the ideas and techniques presented in Fishing Tandem Flies to be apposite.


I am particularly inspired by Meck’s looped-leader dry fly, the Patriot.  Like Meck, I have found blue to be a particularly effective color for trout and other species.  I carry several sizes of blue hare’s ear nymphs and they seldom fail me.  But blue hasn’t found its way into my dry fly selection – yet.  Now I know it will and I’ll most certainly be using the Patriot on trout streams and smallmouth creeks, bluegill ponds and bass lakes.  Modifying a dry fly so it can be employed as a strike indicator with all the ease of rigging that one gets from the “traditional” poly yarn indicator is simply ingenious!


Fishing Tandem Flies is a book from which nearly any angler can benefit.  Highly recommended!  Fishing Tandem Flies (ISBN 978-0-9793460-0-2) is available from Headwater Books for $16.95.

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