Published May 12. 1996 - 20 years ago
Updated or edited Nov 4. 2016

A.K.'s Fly Box

A.K. should be fairly well known. The term 'production fly tyer' is very suitable for him. He counts his flies in hundreds of dozens and has before demonstrated his ability to write books about this kind of tying. In this book he reveals the contents of his own fly boxes. They contain a lot of brown trout flies - no salt water patterns, no poppers, no bass flies. There are a few hoppers and ants, but apart from that it's mayflies, stoneflies a caddises.

Date: Thur, May 12th 1996 12.50 +0100 (MET)

It's been a while since I reviewed any books on this list, but I have had several lying around that I wanted to write about. Now I had a couple of quiet hours, so...
Here's another great book by A.K.Best:

  • A.K.Best: A.K.'s Fly Box
  • Published by Lyons & Bruford, 1996
  • Price: 40.- US$
  • ISBN 1-55821-362-7
A.K. should be fairly well known. The term 'production fly tyer' is very suitable for him. He counts his flies in hundreds of dozens and has before demonstrated his ability to write books about this kind of tying.

In this book he reveals the contents of his own fly boxes. They contain a lot of brown trout flies - no salt water patterns, no poppers, no bass flies. There are a few hoppers and ants, but apart from that it's mayflies, stoneflies a caddises.

Luckily this is done in a very instructive manner, that not only deals with the patters and the colors of the flies, but also the techniques applied in their tying and their use: how to fish them.

The book is sectioned in a rather peculiar way. The first chapters have names such as 'Practice with Quills', 'Blue Winged Olives' and 'Light Cahills', but there are also chapters on named 'Caddis Flies' and 'Tricos'. The chapters have obviously been made according to A.K.'s own estimate of importance in regard to pattern choice more than with an intent to be systematic.
This doesn't effect the first reading, but can have some influence on your later use of the book. You'll have to rely on the Index to find whatever species you want to imitate.

And imitation is a key word in A.K.'s choice of flies. He does a great job of being exact in his patterns - choice of color, material and dressings. In doing so he gets across some important points, and comparing the flies and the natural in the many color pictures will reveal a great knowledge of entomology and key stimuli.

The pictures are a great resource in the book. Both pictures of naturals and flies and examples of techniques are depicted in clear and crisp pictures. The last section of the book contains supplementary and more systematical tying instruction for different techniques and patterns.

The book is almost 200 pages, and succeeds in covering all important brown trout fly types. A.K. does of course make a selection in the vast amount of patterns, but he doesn't seem to miss anything important, except for maybe the most modern type of flies and materials.
His fly selection is quite conservative. You don't need to look for patterns with CDC, foam and other modern types of materials - they are not there. What you will find is fishing flies featuring quills, biots, hackle tips, hair and lots of other traditional natural materials. His flies are by no means 'elegant', but if you want to tie durable flies for fishing, look here.

Highly recommended.

Happy reading

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