Morris is one of the most talented fly tiers and fly fishing communicators
working in the industry today. In this, his twelfth book, Morris
revisits the original Fly Tying Made Clear And Simple, first
released in 1992, to take a fresh look at basic fly tying skills.
Clear and Simple II retains the easy, logical and crystal-clear
instructive perspective of the first book, and improves on it with a level
of pacing, layout and indexing design rarely before seen in a fly tying
instruction book. I've been personally tying flies for nearly 40
years, and I picked up some great hints and observations from each of the
18 patterns Morris presents. Each pattern is a lesson that
demonstrates a technique or set of skills, and each pattern builds on the
skills of the last.
empathize with Skip in his introduction. Says Morris; "I had my
own struggles way back when I started tying as a kid. Developing my
tying skills was tough enough without trying to make sense of those tying
instruction books from the 1960's and before. Truth is, many of
those books were as confusing as I was confused." As a
self-taught tier, I've always had a fascination with tying manuals, but
I've rarely found one that is as universally helpful as this.
"Every fly in
this book teaches you specific techniques and tying strategies, and is
presented plainly and logically, with short sections that offer solutions
to the problems you may encounter and suggestions for avoiding such
problems in the future. With these sections event he most complex
fly dressings can be manageable and fun." This is truth in
advertising and that's a rare find in the 21st Century!
The book, spiral
bound to let it lay flat on a tying desk, is presented in four parts.
Part 1 starts with the Prince Nymph, which is subtitled ""a refresher
on basic tying techniques", and proceeds through the Pettis' Pulsating
Caddis (a glass bead-body nymph), the Bitch Creek nymph, the Copper John
and Morris' own Anatomical Green Drake. Not only does each pattern
demonstrate a different lesson, each of the patterns are truly useful.
Morris is a resident of Washington State. His local waters no doubt
contributed to the trout-centric nature of the fly choices, but there
isn't one that doesn't translate to the Midwestern or warm-water
Part 2 begins with
the Clouser Minnow, and this might be the weakest lesson in the book.
I need to mention that the weakest in this book is still better than the
best of most others, so take this criticism with a grain of salt.
Morris expertly shows the tying of the fly, but doesn't touch on how the
placement of the eyes fore or aft of the hook's mid-point can fundamentally
change the action of the fly. Further, his comments on the size and
color selection of this pattern are almost quaint. It's plain to see
that this isn't a fly that he fishes often. "Clousers in such
unnatural colors as chartreuse, bright-orange, and purple are - at least
in my experience and from my exceedingly modest research - fully as
popular as their imitative kin," Morris writes. He goes on to
say "I tend to tie it small for smallmouth and a bit larger for
largemouth bass, with a dark wing, gold or bronze Krystal Flash, and
Flashabou under-wing, and white belly in sizes 10 to 6, though many prefer
big Clousers for both species." In most of the smallmouth
fisheries where I've wet a line, a size 4 in chartreuse (if it ain't
chartreuse it ain't no use, as the saying goes) would be considered a
standard size and color fly.
I don't think of it as a big fly. For a warm water angler big
doesn't happen until size 2/0.
Part 2 quickly
regains world-class standing with the brilliant-but-complicated Morris
Minnow, the Marabou Muddler and the Cowdung wet fly. Part 3 focuses
on surface-film patterns, offering the Klinkhamer Special, Quigley Cripple
and WD40. Finally Part 4 offers up half a dozen dry flies including the
Yellow Stimulator, the CDC Callibaetis Spinner and the Chernobyl Ant.
The photography in
this production is a perfect blend of explicit detail and carefully
considered background. Each page features several step-by-step
illustrations that make understanding the material seem easy. Carol
Morris' artwork supports and visually interprets the contextual detail of
Skip Morris' written description. And, as the press release for the
book points out, gray-colored bars next to the detailed technique
instructions are numbered to match correlating tying steps & photos."
This is an easy book to use at the bench.
Fly Tying Made
Clear And Simple II succeeds because it really does execute its
mission as well as, or better than, any competing effort. In this
manual, one of the foremost experts at fly tying shares his
technical expertise in a clear, useful and scalable manner. But the
book also succeeds because Morris makes you want to tie each fly.
The patterns seem almost obvious in their selection, and yet the collection is
internally connected in unexpected ways. The history of success on
the water carried by each fly delivers a sense of confident anticipation.
If you fish for trout especially, but most any freshwater fish in general,
and you tie flies, then you'll appreciate and learn from this volume.
Whether you are new
to the hobby of fly tying or an old hand, Fly Tying Made Clear And
Simple II will help make you a better practitioner. Practice the
lesson's Morris teaches and you'll find that fly tying may be exactly as
simple as we hope it will be! Fly Tying Made Clear And Simple II,
ISBN 978-1-57188-453-4 is available for $24.95 from