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GFF book review
Shrimp & Spey Flies for Salmon - A Comprehensive Guide for Anglers and Flytyers
Author: Chris Mann and Robert Gillespie
Reviewed by Martin Joergensen This book is entitled Shrimp & Spey Flies for Salmon & Steelhead in the US
I had been looking forward to this book - not least because one of my fellow GFF partners, Steve Schweitzer, and I myself had been corresponding with one of authors, Chris Mann, and had supplied flies for the book.
I'm no different, but when my copy arrived from the UK only a few days after I ordered it online from the publisher, I completely forgot about looking for Steve's or my own name.
I was in awe! My dumb, blissful smile would not leave my face. The cover alone was enough to tell about a book beyond the ordinary, and the first few pages just confirmed my sense of complacency.
It continued page after page. Shrimps, grubs, Speys... shrimps again... more speys. Modern ones. Classic ones. I have always loved these particular types of flies, and there I was.
Through fragments of correspondence with Chris, Steve and the publisher I had heard mention of Chris' fantastic computer art, but I had no idea that this was what was meant. All the fly pictures in this book are computer drawn, and I have to swallow every word I ever said about not being able to offer justice to flies by drawing them on a computer! These are fabulous! It actually lasted a few minutes before the truth dawned on me. I had taken them for real flies - scanned actually, because of the light and the background, which is so typical for scanned flies.
But these are not scanned. They are individually drawn, and perfect too. The drawings have the advantage of presenting all flies equally good, in the same scale and with the same details.
Alas, the book is of course not drawings alone, and luckily the text lives up to the steep competition from the illustrations. The subtitle of the book is "A Comprehensive Guide" and that is no understatement.
In my days as a biologist at the University of Copenhagen we called books like this monographies. A monography is a book, which explains the nature and origin of a certain species or group of species. This book does exactly that with particularly shrimp flies, but to some extend also with grub and Spey flies and other related and characteristic flies such as the General Practitioner.
Their history and previous and contemporary use and tying is explained. Each family of patterns is covered in depth. The origin is traced and the development of the pattern is described.
The book contains four major parts:
The other three chapters contain the body of the book, and introduces numerous people in the presentation of each fly - originators as well as those of us who rely on them and the traditions they institutionalized.
I have so much respect for the overall result and the tremendous work put into the research and writing of this book that I am willing to forgive a few small inaccuracies that I stumbled over during my immersion into the book the week after I got it.
This results in my final verdict: the book is up there amongst the best, and the combination of a thorough text and sublime illustrations earns it a Global Class rating on Global FlyFisher.
Book review section
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