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Tying Contemporary Saltwater Flies
There is no question that saltwater fly fishing is a booming industry - at least compared to the much older pastime of trout fishing. Go to any of the big fly fishing shows in the winter and the percentage of tyers, outfitters, guides, and shops that are saltwater oriented increases every year. In synch with this phenomenom is the similar boom in books and magazine articles dealing with saltwater topics.
David Klausmeyer is the latest author of a book on tying flies for saltwater fly fishing. His book, Tying Contemporary Saltwater Flies, offers excellent fly tying instruction as well as an impressive reference of fly patterns. The flies cover most of the saltwater spectrum - tropical flats, tarpon flies, baitfish imitations, and of course shrimps and squid and other food items. In addition to these species or situation specific flies, he has a chapter devoted to The Basics, which not only introduces the reader to many of the common techniques and materials associated with saltwater fly tying, but also the flies that are as common to saltwater angling as the Adams is to trout fishing.
Each of these chapters has a number of demonstration flies that are presented in step-by-step instruction sequences of incredible detail. Each photo is accompanied by some instruction text offering up the tying information not obvious in the photos themselves. At the conclusion of each chapter is a reference section of "guide flies" - specific fly patterns used by various saltwater guides. Each fly has a beautiful photograph of the fly, the guide's information, the fly pattern, and occasionally some supporting text. This is an excellent combination of instruction and reference material that other tying books would be well advised to mimic.
In addition to the chapters on the various fly tying "genres", Mr. Klausmeyer includes a couple chapters devoted to tying materials and techniques. Folks new to saltwater tying will appreciate both of these chapters - as saltwater flies are not simply trout flies tied on stainless steel hooks. The materials are quite often different, and the techniques are as well. Nowhere is this as apparent as the use of epoxy in the tying process. It is the rare trout angler who incorporates epoxy in his flies, whereas epoxy is as common in saltwater flies as feathers and fur in trout flies. The final chapter in the book deals with both epoxy and silicone and offers tying techniques and different fly styles that exploit these materials.
One could be tempted to start picking nits about some flies or tying techniques that are not included in Mr. Klausmeyer's book. If you want to find out how to tie a Crease Fly, for example, you are out of luck. That's ok, however. This book is definitely not meant to be the comprehensive collection of saltwater fly tying knowledge. The intent is to offer some basic fly construction techniques that can be used to make flies that will be effective for a wide variety of saltwater fly fishing situations.
I could not submit a review of this book without commenting on the incredible photography and illustrations of the late Larry Largay. Each photograph is crisp and clear, in perfect color. The procedural flies in the instructional sequences are closed up and detailed, and really just exactly what you would want in a book such as this. As impressive as the photography is, his artwork may surpass it. Sprinkled throughout the book are the types of illustrations of fish and fishing that he is famous for. They are so wonderful - it makes you wish for an order form where you can order printed reproductions. His passing has left a whole in the fly fishing publishing game that will not be easily filled.
This book is a success in every aspect - the content, the layout, the graphics, and the text. It is easy for me to recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in saltwater fly tying. To Mr. Klausmeyer, I say "Well done!".