Author: Shane Stalcup
Reviewed by Bob Petti
first - I really enjoyed this book. So much so, that I've been
scouring my mail order catalogs searching for the materials he
uses, because I want to add some of his patterns to my fly boxes.
As the title
suggests, Shane's book is devoted to mayfly imitations of each
major stage - nymph, emerger, adult, and spinner - top to bottom
as he says. For each section, he offers up several patterns, each
with a introductory essay, step-by-step tying instructions, and
a list of variations.
What I found
fascinating about his flies is that he managed to achieve realism
with minimal materials and tying steps. These are not "eyeballs
and elbows" flies, yet they are imitative in style. With
a modest selection of materials, he has given readers a huge variety
of patterns that can be adapted to the mayflies found in the their
bulk of the book is devoted to his flies and tying instructions,
the opening chapters deal with materials and tools. Fortunately
for us, Shane does not go off onto a Fly Tying Materials 101 course.
With a keen sense of the reader, he keeps the subjects tuned to
the flies presented in the book, keeping his comments brief and
relative to his needs and in support of subsequent sections. While
most of us have our own favorite tools, I don't mind his offering
an opinion on his favorites. Whenever someone of Shane's skill
cares to share an opinion or two, it would be in our best interest
to pay attention.
to the discussion of tools and materials, he has a short chapter
that is devoted to techniques used throughout the book. Whether
a treatise on trailing shucks, a step-by-step tutorial on extended
bodies, or the various styles of biot bodies, each topic is presented
in details and supported with crisp, clear color photographs.
I found the balance between photos and text in the book to be
right on - enough photos to illustrate each point, with supporting
text to carry us from step to step. The pace of information flow
is brisk, but nothing has been omitted in the name of space savings.
meat of the book is the chapters devoted to mayfly nymphs, emergers,
adults, and spinners. Each chapter contains many individual sections
devoted to a specific fly pattern. These sections open with a
brief essay about the fly and the insect or stage they are intended
to imitate, including photos of both the real insect and the finished
fly. This is followed by step-by-step tying tutorials, ending
with pattern recipes for variations on the presented pattern.
As mentioned before, the photos are outstanding and the text is
clear and easily followed. The flies are not complex to tie -
most having just a few materials and using basic tying techniques,
yet the finished results are quite clever- the hallmark of someone
who has made a living tying flies to be fished.
It is obvious
to me that many of his adult imitations are designed to be fished
on the placid waters of spring creeks or big tailwaters. Most
of them are designed to ride low in the surface and are made of
materials that are relatively soft and sparse. While this provides
realism in both look and feel, it could lead to frustration for
those anglers who try to use these on a bouncy freestone stream.
Then again, most hatch matching situations are found in smoother
waters, so we can't fault Mr. Stalcup for recognizing this fact
and incorporating it into his designs. High floating attractor
dry flies would be out of place here.
If you have
a favorite hatch you like to match, pick this book up and give
a few of these flies a try. You won't break the bank, but you
might net a few more trout.
Each pattern has numerous step-by-step photographs that are crisp and clear and illustrate every important tying procedure.