North Country Flies
A classic book on soft hackle flies first published in 1885 and now photographically reprinted in high quality with a great foreword on its history.
Author: Thomas Evan Pritt
Reviewed by Martin Joergensen If you're into tying spider flies, soft hackles and so called flymphs, this book will thrill you. It's a reprint of an old book, originally published 1885. The book is a true classic, and has been a huge inspiration and influence to many contemporary fly-tyers and anglers. Even though the original book entitled "Yorkshire Flies" was only published in 200 copies, it was to become a landmark book.
Many of those fishing soft hackle flies might not be aware of this fact, but the soft hackle tradition comes from the UK, and even though the original title indicates a rather limited area of England, the title of the second and following editions - and indeed this one - is probably more correct.
In his preface to the second edition, Pritt writes that the book was "generously received and quickly exhausted". In other words: the first edition was so popular (and scarce) that a second edition with the new and current title could be published just one year later.
generously received and quickly exhausted
This current version of the book is a photographic reprint of the second edition with a long and thorough foreword written for this edition by Roger Fogg, nicely accounting for the history of the book and its impact.
The rest of the book is the reprint itself, 64 pages, perfectly copied and printed with high quality text and the charming, little drawings printed as color tables with a white backside, like it would have been the case in the original.
The book lists and describes 62 flies and is divided into five sections: and introduction, the flies and three sections with the fascinating names "Bustard Fishing and Minnow Fishing", "Creeper and Stonefly Fishing" and "Up-Stream Worm Fishing", and you might think that they are descriptions of intricate methods of fishing the flies just described, but think again!
They are exactly what the titles imply: coverage of different kinds of bait fishing. Fun to read, but of course slightly out of context when you consider the book title. A little surprising, but highly entertaining and not that many pages, so it doesn't steal the thunder from the main content.
The main course is still the north country flies with a detailed description of each pattern, its history, its prime season and the materials you need to tie it. Many have great comments and opinions expressed by the author. The flies are quite simple and similar and most of them are color variations over the pattern body, hackle, head. There are flies, which have more materials, but even the really complex ones are simple.
Altogether a gem of a book, which might appeal mainly to a narrow audience and people with historic interest, but certainly a very nice addition to any fly-tying library and a must have for the soft hackle, flymph and spider fan.