Published Aug 18. 2019 - 2 years ago
Updated or edited Feb 13. 2020

Book review: Creative GeWe Wet Flies

A wonderful little book with Belgian Geert Werbrouck's beautiful wet flies. Lots of pictures, lots of patterns, lots of tying and material tips.

Dale A. Darling
River Fork Press
Publishing year: 
US$ plus shipping
Reviewed by: 

If you have read book reviews on this site before, you know that this reviewer has a weak spot for the odd, the special, the unique.
This book meets all these criteria.

Odd, special and unique in a very good way.
It's odd because it's a result of the cooperation between two fairly unlikely bedfellows: a somewhat colorful Belgian fly tyer and angler and a very down to earth US ditto. Belgian Geert Werbrouck is like a bouncing rubber ball: seems to always be round and about, constantly reaching out, producing flies, exchanging images, opinions – and flies – with the whole world. I have met him, and he is like that in real life too.
I haven't met Dale Darling, but I hope I don't offend anyone by saying that Dale seems to be a little less "bouncy" than Geert – I hope you both forgive me for those observations observations, Dave and Geert...

Dale Darling is the author and the producer of this book, and seems to be the one who has taken on the task of structuring and organizing Geert Werbrouck's text and flies, which both are colorful, creative and inventive, sometimes quite traditional, but mostly influenced by Geert's nature.

Sample page

Many pictures



River Fork Press
Colorful flies
Colorful flies
River Fork Press

So Dale has written and organized, and Geert has tied flies. Geert has also written, and much of his text accompanying the flies, is printed in the book.
Dale has chosen to keep Geert's text for the book Ad Verbatim, exactly as Geert has written it, and that means that the book changes between Dale's calm and observational – and impeccable – introductions and segue's and Geert's descriptions and comments to his own flies – far from impeccable and far from calm.
Knowing Geert and having read hundreds of his online postings and rants, I find the latter extremely charming and think that they have made a perfect decision not to edit the Werbrouckian/English bits, because those bits so reflect how Geert thinks, speaks, ties – and writes, of course. Some readers might find it disturbing, but as we say in my line of business: "it's a feature, not a bug!".
Anyone who has seen Geert's flies, in real life or in pictures, knows that he is a tyer with an almost God-given talent, a great eye for shape and colors and a very special and personal style. He is also very creative, and the title "Creative GeWe Wet Flies" is spot on. It's wet flies, it's Geert Werbrouck's flies and they are creative, or creatif as Geert (almost) consistently puts it.

...creatif as Geert (almost) consistently puts it

Geert almost exclusively ties traditional wet flies, but then again they aren't really traditional, because the style is actually very modern and contemporary. You will find a few patterns, which you can recognize as known patterns, but still tied with the "Werbrouck twist".
The book is structured with an intro to the two people behind it, Geert in particular, a bit about wet fly anatomy, and then launches into a row of chapters on specific feathers or birds, showing flies tied with said feathers. Mixed into these chapters are chapters on special techniques, like mixed wings, Geert's special style heads, Geert's "trois wings" style and more. All is garnished with page up and page down of Geert's excellent photos of his beautiful and colorful flies, several pictures and many flies on each page.
If you're a fly tying nerd and a classic wet fly nerd in particular, you are in for a joyride of inspiration, both in the text and in the pictures. This book has given me a deep urge to tie wet flies again, and "go berserk" with all the odd materials I have stashed away over the years. Any fan of classic wet flies like Ray Bergman's or Mary Orvis Marbury's or the British classics will have to be thrilled when seeing what can be done with an outset in that tying tradition.

Large images
Large images
River Fork Press

Dale Darling has written and edited many books, and his web site, River Fork Press, offers dozens of titles, including many in his "Solutions" series on fishing and fly tying. Reading Creative GeWe Wet Flies also reveals that it's made by a person who has made books before. But at the same time it tells that it's not done by a professional as such. It's easy on the eyes, but not in any way fancy or stylishly laid out. That's not bad, and fits the book well, but there are a few telltale signs, which would not have been done by someone trained in layout or typography. Like there are no page numbers, no table of contents and no index.

The book is still very enjoyable, and a really excellent and inspiring read. At 30.- US$ it's not cheap, but considering the uniqueness and given the circumstances for its publishing, it's worth every penny if you ask me. Books like this deserve all the support they can get, and if buying a copy leads to the publishing of more like it, then buy, buy, buy!
For those who like digital books, there's a Kindle version to be bought for just US$ 6.-, so 6 dollars and a free e-book reader will bring you into the world of Darling and Werbrouck.

Books like this deserve all the support they can get...


George Kawchak's picture

GeWE Wet Flies...

I have and love this little book by my friend Geert. He is a special person and his flies show that on all levels. Great stuff and his work inspires one to remember tying is supposed to be fun!!


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