Practical Fly Patterns That Catch TroutVolume 1 and Volume 2
Instructor, narrator, producer etc.: Charlie Meck and Eric Stroup
Reviewed by Bob Petti
In this two volume set of DVDs, Charlie Meck, one of the most prolific writers in all of fly fishing and a recognized master of the Pennsylvania limestone trout streams, and Eric Stroup, founder of Spruce Creek Fly Company and professional guide and fly tyer, demonstrate some of their favorite patterns for fishing the famed spring creeks of Pennsylvania.
As the title suggests, all of the flies are relatively simple in construction and will be easily mastered by anyone with moderate tying skill. While neither man came out and said so, I got the sense that these flies were original to their own tying and fishing, most being variations on common fly designs with interesting and unique twists thrown in. The flies are all fishing flies - meaning they are tied to solve specific fishing situations rather than trying to attract the attention of browsers of fly bins in fly shops. Only one of the flies is popular and well known - Meck's "The Patriot".
The tying sequences are broken up by an occasional on stream action sequence. My favorite was when Eric and Charlie were working a sulphur hatch. Eric was fishing and Charlie was standing nearby, picking bugs from the water and helping solve the hatch. I gotta say this - Eric is a fine caster and a pleasure to watch. The water these guys fished - nice. Someday I'm going to make a trip to PA and treat myself to a tour of some of the famous spring creeks.
The production of the DVD is excellent in that the main menu links to each individual fly, and each fly scene lists the pattern recipe up front before the tying starts. The tying sequences feature one of the guys at the vise and the other looking on, and the banter and discussion is non stop. Charlie in particular is a good story teller, a skill honed, I'm sure, from years of giving presentations and slide shows and fishing clubs across the country. For the tying procedures, the there are plenty of camera anglers and close-up shots so that nothing is missed. No shortcuts are taken with the tying - you see the whole fly being tied from start to finish.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention that some of Charlie's tying sequences are a little rough around the edges. Eric, on the other hand, ties with the neatness and precision of a commercial fly tyer. This is not to say that Charlie is a bad fly tyer, but if you're looking to be wow'ed by his skill at the vise, you may be disappointed. Lots of people can tie neat flies, but very few can design flies to fool Pennsylvania's notoriously fussy trout. After all, these videos are not intended to teach you how to tie flies. They are intended to show you the flies these guys use to catch trout. Look past the occasional out-of-place thread wrap and pay attention to the ideas and themes, and you'll get your money's worth.
Sample from the video/DVD