Trout Flies for the 21st
review by Jim Stuard
For The Fly Fish Ohio Rating System
up to ten years ago when I first started to learn fly tying, you had to
largely rely on friends and your local library to supply the knowledge
base required to learn the basics of fly tying. With the advent of the
internet, the world changed in a very short time for fly tiers. You can
now find just about any pattern for any fish, with an accompanying recipe
and best of all, a picture of the finished product. With the coming of
high speed connections, large videos (like our
Adventures In Fly Tying series)
could easily be downloaded. The only prerequisite is that you know how to
use Google. How does a word and pictures on paper magazine, like Fly Tyer,
compete with that?
Well, they print the words and pictures on the
paper equivalent of a fly database, in a book.
Fly Tyer has
been the de facto reference standard for fly tiers for thirty years now.
With their thirtieth anniversary here, theyíve been busy putting out a few
books for the fly tying masses. Their inaugural effort is Trout Flies
for the 21st Century by Dick
Mr. Talleur has been associated with teaching
and writing on fly tying for the better part of 40 years, much of that
time spent writing for Fly Tyer magazine. He was the logical choice to
write this book. What you get is a 195 page, semi-encyclopedic volume on
the 200 essential patterns for catching trout anywhere. For the newbie out
there, what that translates into is ĎWe have a lot of patterns in this
book. We tell a lot of stories about them. Most, but not all, will catch
fish on your watersÖí.
I think their title is catchier. For the money
you get a great reference with very good, well defined photography that
includes some limited how-to on some of the more interesting patterns.
This isnít a beginners book but beginners will benefit from the step-photo
laden instructions. Experienced tiers will gain some insight into patterns
they donít usually fish, but for the most part Iím thinking this book has
the intermediate level tier as its target. Tiers at this level still
require some how-to, but basically are thirsty for knowledge about a fly
and wonít suffer poor pictures.
All the photography and how-to aside, the part
of this book that is truly worth the price of admission is the first
chapter. Itís an in-depth study of a dry-fly cape. For those of you out
there learning the hobby, discerning the quality of feathers, seen hanging
on a rack, in a store, can be maddening. Mr. Talleur clears up a lot of
misconceptions about buying and using rooster capes. His style is
conversational and unassuming and he inserts a lot of value added
explanation into each chapter. Are you going to tie every one of these
flies? Maybe, but Iím thinking not. We have a couple of innocuous trout
streams within a couple hours of Cincinnati and for the most part, theyíre
rivers where nymphing is one of the best techniques for catching fish. If
I was fishing exclusively on the trout streams in Michigan, the dry fly
chapters in the book would get worn out. You get the picture.
Can you use these patterns for warm water
species? I say, absolutely. Between the terrestrials, wet flies, nymphs
and streamers, you can cover quite a few of the patterns for general
smallmouth fishing in streams. Not to mention panfish and some smaller
muskie, striper and pike flies. While the techniques for fishing them will
be different for each species, the patterns wonít change.
Iíve seen a lot of pattern books in the past and they can be dry as a
popcorn fart. The reality is that most folks read a book of fishing
stories once, maybe twice, in their lives. A well conceived pattern book
thatís easy to use will see frequent service on your tying bench. As
pattern books go, this one really balances out the driest aspects of
publishing recipes and pictures with some good background on the flies.
Trout Flies for the 21st Century is well laid out and printed in a
spiral bound fashion that lends itself to being laid flat, next to your
vise. Thatís been one of my pet peeves over the years where you have to
break the spine on a book to get it to lay flat, basically ruining the
volume. My fondest hope is that Fly Tyer will publish similar compendiums
on warmwater and saltwater flies. Well done and highly recommended!
Trout Flies for the 21st Century (ISBN
978-1-59921-259-3) is available from
The Lyons Press