Jay "Fishy" Fullum is no stranger to readers of Fly Tyer and other popular flyfishing magazines. In fact, he's recently been named as the "artist in residence" for that magazine, which certainly helps justify the subscription price. It should come as no surprise, then, that Fishy's book relies on his art to tell the story of his flies. In this case, the art is in the form of pencil drawings - and I must say they are simply amazing. I've always been a sucker for well executed pencil drawings, and Fishy's are among the very best I've ever seen in a fly fishing related book. He's really good. But you guys probably want to know more about the flies than the drawings.
The book is split into three parts - bass flies, trout flies, and saltwater flies. Each fly consumes a couple pages of the book and includes some supporting text, a materials list, and step-by-step tying instructions. There is a "theme" drawing for each fly, as well as drawings to support the step-by-step tying procedures.
You won't find many fad flies here. No realistic "eyeballs and elbows" nymphs. No "extended body cut wing parachute stenoma vicarium dun" type patterns. Instead, you will find patterns that are generally easy to tie, use uncommon fly tying materials (black electrician's tape?!?), and reflect the creative mind of someone who sees the world through the eyes of an artist.
Floating soft hackle? Check.
Sluggo imitation? Check.
Freezer bag nymph? Check.
It would be a mistake to think that all these patterns are gimicks. These are real flies - as every bit as real as the latest "bead head rubbed legged flashback red fox squirrel tail nymph". I already have a dozen of his "Early Hopper" flies in my fly box, and I can honestly say that you don't have to be an artist of Fishy's ability to do them justice. I plan on adding more of his patterns to my box, especially some of his bass flies.
In this day of digicams and podcasts, it's nice to see that there are folks still comfortably living in the world of pencil and paper. After reading this book, I can't help but think that Jay must be a fun guy to fish with.