GFF book review

Tube Flies - A tying, fishing and historical guide - Mark Mandell and Les Johnson

A tying, fishing and historical guide

Author: Mark Mandell and Les Johnson
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Mark Mandell and Les Johnson
Tube Flies
Amato Books, 1995

GFF rating: 5 out of 7

Reviewed by Martin Joergensen

This is the all-time classical volume on tube flies, and as the title implies it deals with all aspects of tube flies. If you are looking for a general introduction to tubes in book-form, this is the way to go.

There are sections on tools, tube materials, hooks and general tying techniques. A few patterns are illustrated in depth with step-by-step descriptions while the majority of patterns are presented in a number of chapters, which present different tube fly tyers and anglers and their individual patterns.

Unfortunately the years have taken their toll on the book, and many of the modern aspects of tube fly tying and fishing are naturally not covered in this book, which was published in 1995. The whole bottle and rear tube phenomenon isn't mentioned at all, and even though the different methods and patterns cover a very wide range of styles, there are holes when seeing the book in the light of the current state in the tube fly community. The Scandinavian tradition of tying hair winged tubes for salmon and sea trout is almost completely omitted even though it was beyond its infancy in the mid 90's.

But since the book is more that 12 years old, this isn't something, which will be severely punished in this review. The book shines in all other aspects and manages to cover its subject in both breadth and depth with reference to the period where it was published.

Even though the book isn't as fresh as the day it left the printer it must still be considered a must-have for any serious tube fly tyer, and it is still available from the publisher Amato Books at a mere 30 US dollars. Thanks to its age you should even be able to find this book used at very reasonable prices.

The book would probably have earned a Global Class review 12 years ago, but the teeth of time have bitten off a single point, and today it scores a rating of Excellent - and is still Highly Recommended.

Several patterns are illustrated with step-by-step photos.

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User comments
From: Barry Lynch · barry28·at·  Link
Submitted May 14th 2013

This is for my old buddy Les Johnson. He is one of the finest fly Tiers/Fly Fisherman I've ever known.. I first met Les in SF when he was with Eddie Bauer. We fished together several times on the coastal rivers North of SF and the North Umpqua. Great guy. Lost tract of him once he went back to WA to do the Canoe Magazine. If he's around I'd love to reconnect and tell him about my BC adventures and my Atlantic Salmon experiences. The success I've had as a Fly fisherman and as a Fly tier are largely do to him.

Many Thanks Les,

Barry Lynch

Nice Article

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