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The Art of the Trout Fly
Reviewed by Martin Joergensen
Date: Sun, 2 Apr 1995 21:16:34 +0100 (MET)
I recently suggested that we should review books for each other. Here is my own first offer (not chosen for any particuler reason):
- Judith Dunham, The Art of the Trout Fly
- Published by Chronicle Books, San Francisco 1988
- ISBN 0-87701-528-7
- Price US$ 29.95 (On the cover. I paid the double in Denmark)
The flies are beautiful
The photos are beautiful
The Typography is beautiful
The print is beautiful
...even the girls are beautiful (sorry, couldn't resist it)
Seriously. This is a book that I like just to touch. The print renders the photos in an excellent quality, and leaves the reader with a feeling that the flies are as textured, translucent and subtle as they actually are. The pictures were all taken with great skill by Egmont van Dyck, and those of us who know how much care it takes to give justice to a piece of fur and feathers will know how much effort was put into pictures like these.
As seen more and more often, the flies are taken on very textured, 'natural' backgrounds and not isolated in a vice. But opposite many pictures taken in this way, these let the flies present themselves in a way that makes it possible to see a lot of details. Yet the pictures are well composed and the light setting done in a manner that doesn't blur or hide, but emphasize things.
And the flies are ofcourse the upper class flies that you expect from a book with a title like this one. Each picture shows one or several flies made by tiers that give their own text on the opposite page. The text is mostly ralated to the flies in a fairly distant manner, just explaining why these particular patterns were chosen, catching a mood, etelling an anecdote. Few of the tiers give direct tying instructions.
The patterns are described through a material list, and any fairly experienced tyer will be able to tie most of them using this list and the pictures. Only few use special techniques, that have to be seen demonstrated.
The flies come from all over the world. There are of course many flies from the US, but some Swiss, Dutch, Japanese and even Danish flies have sneaked in. They represent a broad variety of mostly traditional trout flies. There are sections with wets, dries and terrestrials, and even though only few of them are completely new -- even to me, who doesn't fish trout in streams very often -- they offer very good inspiration, and reading the comments of the tiers is very stimulating.
These aren't nescessarily the best flies tied by the best tiers, but the presentation makes it a joy to leaf thorugh the book.
Reading a book as this gives me new ideas and makes me want to go to the vice imediately. It's an art book, OK, but a very usefull one.
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