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Essential Patterns with Oliver Edwards
With the release of "Essential Patterns", Oliver Edwards and his production crew have raised the bar yet again for fly tying instructional video. These new DVDs are terrific in every respect - from the camera work, to the audio, to the general production - to say nothing of the fly tying content. He's a very engaging teacher, and I can listen to him and watch him tie flies all day long. Not only does he demonstrate the techniques required to tie the flies with utmost skill, but he makes the viewer want to hit the pause button and run to the vise.
Whereas in his prior videos the fly tying was in support of the general fishing theme, with this set the emphasis is entirely on fly tying. The first volume is titled "Quick Ties and Favorite Flies", and as the title suggests, you won't find Oliver's signature realistic flies. Many have argued that most of Oliver's popular patterns, such as his clinger nymphs, are not practical for fishing due to the effort demanded to tie them properly. If that has been your complaint, then this video is for you.
All but two of the flies on the first volume are dry flies, and all are thrifty in their use of materials and require no special skills or tools. If you can tie flies - you can tie these flies. I especially liked his technique for winging the CDC Dun. I've been exposed to the "F" fly before, but I never saw flies from the originator, and while it seems to be a simple fly to tie, listening to Oliver makes me want to try them next year on some of my favorite flat water. Everybody has a favorite foam ant, but Oliver's has just enough twists over the normal patterns to make me want to try them out.
The second volume, "Woven Flies", is fantastic in that is captures the major techniques for tying flies comprised of woven strands of material. Woven flies have existed for many years, but it's not an easy technique to teach in print media. What is so difficult to describe in text is easy to demonstrate in video, and nobody demonstrates fly tying skills better than Oliver Edwards. I bet we'll be seeing many more Polish Woven Nymphs in fly boxes this coming year.
There's no need for me to drone on about these DVDs. It's clear at this point that if Oliver's name is attached to a product, then the quality is going to be high. That is certainly true of these. If you've never had the chance to watch Oliver tie in person, pick up one of these DVDs. He's a good story teller, a great fly tyer, and an exceptional teacher.