Published Jul 10. 2011 - 12 years ago
Updated or edited Jan 14. 2017

Book review: Bonefish Fly Patterns

Tying, Selecting, and Fishing all the Best Bonefish Flies from Today's Best Tiers

A thoroughly updated second edition of Dick Brown's classic title with new patterns added, excellent photos, in-depth descriptions and flies tied by the originators in most cases.

Dick Brown
Lyons Press
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This is a thoroughly updated new edition of Dick Brown's classic title with new patterns added, excellent photos, in-depth descriptions and flies tied by the originators.

This is an updated and revised edition of a book from 1996. 15 years is a long time, and not only has the bonefishing scene changed and new flies have been developed, but books have changed, and are generally a much better quality, have more color photos and look more modern... not surprising, of course.
That's also the case with this classic title, which has had a face lift with all the benefits of being matured over the years. Brown has added a lot of new patterns, and has updated the last and very valuable section on fly selections, tying methods and materials and sources for them.
On top of all this the book has received a typographical overhaul, and presents itself in a very stylish way, using colored text and a great layout to present its content.

When I went bonefishing the first time, I read the first edition, and learned a lot. I tied flies based on the recipes and studied long and hard on selecting the right flies.

Any bonefishing first timer should be even better off with this new edition, and people who have experience with the ghost of the flats will most definitely enjoy the book too... and learn a lot.
The flies make a very complete list of all the best classic and contemporary bonefish fly patterns, and not just any collection, but in most cases with flies tied by the originator and with notes on tying and fishing, also from the horse's own mouth.
The book simply lists the patterns alphabetically, 197 of them, and features a detailed picture of the finished fly, its history, a materials list and notes by the author as well as the originator on tying and fishing the fly.

Add to that the excellent and maybe even more valuable chapters on selecting flies for specific destinations (Florida, Bahamas, Belize/Yucatan, Pacific, Seychelles), different water depths and particular conditions (wind/calm, light/dark), habitats and prey species. I haven't seen this covered as systematic and concentrated anywhere else, and reading through these chapters will prepare you very well for a trip to one of the world's bonefish destinations.

This is a pattern book more than a fly tying book, but it does have a section on tying the most common styles of bonefish flies, and will give you tips on the most commonly used techniques and types of flies. Normally I find fly tying instruction in pattern books a waste of pages, because it often kicks in open doors, and is all too banal, but it makes sense here, because it explains the most common techniques used in these specific flies, and doesn't waste too many pages on general tying methods. People who buy a book as this can most likely already tie flies and follow a materials list and written tying instructions, especially when the finished fly is depicted.
But the chapters on tying, materials, modern fly styles etc. seem well placed here and are suitably concentrated and dense.
On the other hand I must consider the section on sources for materials as a waste of space. These days using the web is a much more efficient way to find shopping destinations, and printing such information on paper seems a bit altmodich. But four pages as an addendum to the book doesn't do any harm of course.
Last but not least this book has a literature list, a thing that's all too rare in modern books. These directions to further reading are essential in my eyes, because author's like Brown, specializing in a subject, always have some great sources that the rest of us might not know about.

Dick Brown has made a good book much better, and Bonefish Fly Patterns must be considered mandatory reading for bonefish anglers - rookies and oldtimers - on line with Randall Kaufmann's Bonefishing! and Brown's own Fly Fishing for Bonefish.

Learn more about bonefishing and and the author on his own web site.


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