Published Jan 1. 2002 - 15 years ago
Updated or edited Dec 1. 2016

Beginner's Guide to Flytying

European authors Chris Mann and Terry Griffiths angle for a new spin on beginner flytying books. With barely a photograph and just a small piece on materials and tools, see why this book gets a rare score on the GFF Review scale. GFF partner Steve Schweitzer reviews the book.

Step-by-Step instruction for twelve popular and versatile fly patterns

  • Beginner's Guide to Flytying
  • Chris Mann & Terry Griffiths
  • Frank Amato Publications
  • ISBN: 1-57188-184-0
  • Price: approx. US$16.-

GFF Rating: 6

There are hundreds of books for the beginning flytyer, many of which are published by material manufacturers or tool manufacturers to 'lure' you into buying their wares. So why then would Chris Mann and Terry Griffiths try their hand at another beginning tying book? It's because their approach makes this book one of the most unique on the market. The tying steps, tricks and illustrations are done via the computer at the hand of expert illustrator Chris Mann. The illustrations are clearer than photography, more lifelike than drawings, and they depict subtleties of applying thread, fur and feather to the hook via eggagerated emphasis in the graphic. You end up clearly seeing what to do.
An example. While most books would elaborately describe the advantages of pulling tying thread downwards to secure material on the top of the hook, this book graphically depicts what would happen if you didn't! This is helpful stuff.

Likewise, clearly illustrated graphics are large and many times take up 3/4 of a page. This is to further eggagerate the minute details discussed in the text.


The book thoroughly reveals tying steps, tricks, traps and techniques for twelve world-proven flies for any waters. Each pattern keys on a particular fly tying technique. The authors clearly cover body wrapping techniques, ribbing, tails, dubbing, hackling, & winging. Intermingled in the text of the book are 11 "Tricks of the Trade" that reinforce what the beginner or intermediate tyer has learned. These tips alone are expertly diagrammed and worth every penny of the $16 USD cover price (and it's hard-board no-less!). Tricks such as how to apply an even metal tinsel body without lumps & bumps and how to correctly hackle a parachute fly are covered. The flies used in the book are:

  • Black Ghost
  • Woolly Bugger
  • Dick's Dun
  • Gray Wulff
  • Elk Hair Caddis
  • Parachute Emerger
  • Ginger Quill
  • Black Pennell
  • Goldhead Hare's Ear
  • Montana Nymph
  • Pheasant tail Nymph
  • Shrimp/Scud

While this book won't appeal to the intermediate going advanced tyer, it certainly will appeal to the occasional to intermediate tyer. It briefly covers material and tools, not so heavy that you'd think it was a hardcover ad for "Gizmo Tying Tools & Materials, Inc.". It makes no assumptions that you know anything about tying. That in itself is it's #1 strength. And that is precisely what a beginner's book should do. In my opinion, it's the book that should be included in tying kits from your local outdoor retailer. No where else will you get such cleanly presented and explained tying advise. I will most certainly use this book as the reference guide when I teach my beginning tying classes in the future.

While this book is geared for the beginner, the expertly detailed computer-generated illustrations make this book a quality reference guide for the intermediate or occasional tyer as well.

I don't give out 6's often, but this book hits global class on the GFF scale of excellence. It's hard-bound, extremely reasonably priced, expertly diagrammed, easy reading, explains no-nonsense skills and techniques, and veers clear of the corporate influence of brand-names and marketing. It's a straightforward book with a straightforward view on the technique of tying flies. Add this one to your Christmas list for little Bobby or little Sue. He/she won't be disappointed as quality flies will come from the youngster in just a few hours of using this book.

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