The Global FlyFisher
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My copy of Perrault's Standard Dictionary of Fishing Flies is a significant title in my bookshelf for other reasons than value or beauty.
First of all it's a useful handbook. It is literally a dictionary of fly patterns, listing an impressing 16,000+ patterns with materials and some of them with notes on origin and tying. I have found myself looking up patterns in this book times and times again, and for classic and standard patterns, it's precise and usually tells me exactly what I need.
Secondly it's an impressing work, bearing the signs of a passionate author who has probably overcome a few obstacles to get it published. It's published by Daniels Publishing, which has probably been Perrault himself. The book is listed as self published many places.
And it looks self published.
It's printed on pretty thin and low quality paper and the print leaves quite a bit to be desired. But will probably strike most readers is the typesetting – or rather the print – because the book is printed with a so called dot matrix printer, and compared to even the lousiest of today's ink jet printers that is unbelievably lousy. Add to that a mediocre and very inconsistent print job and the thin, yellow paper and you have a terrible combination. Some pages have dense, almost illegible text while other pages are weak in the print and foggy to look at. The result is not good, and judged on readability of visual impression the book is close to a catastrophe. But actually this is just part of the charm in my opinion.
The third reason that I cherish this book is that it's a gift. It was given to me by Steve Schweitzer back in the very early days of the Global FlyFisher, and it was one of the earliest books in my already then growing collection. It's signed by the author, and Steve has also written a few words on the end paper.
Keith E Perrault wrote it – or rather compiled it – and published it in 1984. The work on the book started already in 1946, but was mainly done in the years before it was published. Keith Edward Perrault (1923-2006) published the book while living in Florida, but spent his last years running a flyshop in Ennis Montana called The Bamboo Fly Rod.
The book was created a long time before print on demand, DIY typesetting, PDF's and computers that could make coffee table quality book layouts in easy-to-use programs downloaded for free from the Internet. It was almost before computers and definitely before the Internet.
That makes the task of collecting and organizing 16,000 fly patterns even more impressing.
The use of the dot matrix printer and the way the book is organized implies that some kind of computer was involved, but the book still has many elements that indicate a lot of manual work. It even has some small vignettes and a few larger drawings, which seem to have been added directly to the pages before printing them.
On top of 16,000 patterns organized alphabetically in sections after type, the book also has a dictionary of fly tying terms, a list of tyers and even a list of suppliers, organizations, publishers and more. By 1984 standard it's a milestone work, and even by today's standards it's both impressing an useful, even with the out of date index of resources.
As I said, the book isn't particularly valuable, and it's regularly available on the market used. Prices for a used copy vary significantly. I have seen books described as new for as low as 25 US$, but have also seen copies priced at almost 200 US$. If you want the book, it's available, even at a fair price.
Even though it's a book that I cherish for the above mentioned reasons, and a useful book too, it might disappoint some readers a bit, and is certainly a far cry from modern fly tying books.
...it might disappoint some readers a bit...