GFF book review

The Practical Fly Tier

No-Nonsense Patterns and Techniques for Wet and Dry Flies, Nymphs, and Streamers

The subtitle contains the words "no-nonsense patterns" and that is exactly what it is. A book just after my hard and a perfect beginner's fly-tying book. 34 non-nonsense fly patterns and a lot of tying techniques nicely explained.

Author: Royce Dam
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Royce Dam
The Practical Fly Tier
Stackpole Books, 2002

GFF rating: 5 out of 7

Reviewed by Martin Joergensen

The Practical Fly-tyer - Very clear step-by-step photos
The Practical Fly-tyer - Large an clear photos

Page samples

I know this book is about 10 years old, and to some it might seem strange that we review such an "old" book. But that's what we do on GFF. We buy good bargain books and review the good ones no matter how old they are. And this is a good one.
The author is Royce Dam, a well known capacity in American fly-tying, but "compiler and composer" Mark Van Patten, photographer Thom Beck and editor Art Scheck also deserve credit for putting together one of the best, no-nonsence, pragmatic books on fly tying I have read in a long time.
It contains a general introduction to tools and methods, short and very much to the point, but first and foremost a row of really excellent and very fishy fly patterns in the four major categories: wets, dries, nymphs and streamers.

The chapters also act as intros to a number of tying techniques, all in relation to a specific pattern. In the description of most of the flies you will find different hints and general methods that can be used in many other patterns.
There are detailed step-by-step instructions for all patterns, and both text and photos are school book examples on how to present a fly tying sequence. It is indeed no-nonsense. The sequences are shot on the classical, uniform colored backgrounds, very factual and instructive, and the text explains every step in minute detail with lots of hints on material handling and tool use.

There are no patterns in this book that I wouldn't gladly fish, and quite a few I could use unmodified for my own fishing for sea run browns. There are no saltwater patterns as such, but primarily flies meant for stream and freshwater fishing.

The book is an instructional book more than a coffee table book. You will find no grand vistas, no mouth watering stream or landscape pictures and not even single picture of a fishing situation or even a fish. Each pattern is introduced with a small text that explains where the author met the pattern, how to use it and possible variations. There are no fishing instructions per se.

But at 8 UKú or about 13 USD from new this is a steal, and for the beginning fly-tyer who wants some very useful patterns along with some great tips for tying them, this is a great book with a lot of value for the money.

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