Published Nov 4. 2023 - 8 months ago
Updated or edited Mar 1. 2024

Book review: Feather Mechanic II

Beyond the Pattern

South African Gordon Spuy’s second book is different from the first one - but then again somewhat similar, which is a good thing.

Gordon van der Spuy
Feather Mechanic
Publishing year: 
UK £
Reviewed by: 

Gordon van der Spuys is a South African fly fisher and fly tyer, whose first book I was pretty fond of. As most regular readers of my book reviews know, I like books that are different, and both Feather Mechanic (I) and this current book - Feather Mechanic II - are sufficiently different from the standard fly tying book to get a mark in that checkbox.
That’s a very good outset for a book in my eyes.
Feather Mechanic II is also different from the first volume, and that’s also a good thing. Just because you had a concept that worked, doesn’t mean you have to repeat it, and even though there are similarities between the two books, this one is different enough to justify making a sequel.

Gordon has also been kind enough to keep me posted on the development of this book, so I have been prepared on what to expect. I have also been supplied with enough excerpts underway to get an impression of its contents, and when it was published, I received a lowrez PDF of the full book.
Again: As most regular readers of my book reviews know, I’m a dead trees man, and a lot of my relation to a book is formed by actually holding it in my hands and leafing physically through it. So I ordered a printed copy, which I didn’t regret (in spite of some crazy taxes and import fees added!).

The book is physically much like the first one. About 250 pages in excellent print quality, laid out nicely and with the same traits as volume one: excellent photos – both of flies and fishing, Gordon’s delicate drawings of many flies and tying steps, and the "hand written" sections for many tying steps and techniques. This is all well, and merits the same verdict as in my review of the first volume. Judging the visual impression of a book is of course much a question of personal taste. Some will love this layout, others may be more like me. It’s consistent, nice and easy on the eyes, and I have certainly seen worse, and the huge number of varied illustrations certainly lifts it above the average.

Feather Mechanics II pages
Feather Mechanics II pages
Gordon van der Spuy

Looks aside, let’s dive into content, and here I’m suddenly much more excited!

here I’m suddenly much more excited!

As I had already gathered from the preview bits, I was sent, this book is a collection of chapters – essays almost – all written by different authors. Each individual chapter covers a pattern that was either invented by the author, or to which the author has a very special relation.
Gordon has his own chapter (on ants), but you will find names such as Jay Lee (Humpy, not surprising), Hans van Klinken (no, not the Klinkhåmer, but the Leadhead Bug), Leon Links (CDC Split Wing Dun), Wayne Luallen (Western Coachman), Steve Fernadez (Oetzinger Hackle Wing Dun) and many more. Each of the 19 authors supply a personal story about their relation to a certain fly, its concept and tying techniques.
This is good stuff!
I love reading in depth about the ideas behind a fly, the reasons why a tyer or angler likes it. When it’s supplied with photos of the flies, details about the tying and Gordon’s excellent drawings, it’s a treat!

This book extends on the concept from Gordon’s first book, and does so in a good way. It’s the same, but different. Visually it’s developed a bit, but the contributions from guest tyers and the added personal touch on each pattern adds further to the experience, and I personally enjoy every turn and twist and the room to be sentimental, practical, philosophical and nerdy – even obsessed. That really strikes a chord with me, and earns this second book a higher score than the first one. Global class and warmly recommended.

Feather Mechanics II pages
Feather Mechanics II pages
Feather Mechanics II pages
Gordon van der Spuy


Serge's picture

Feather Mechanic II...

Hi Martin. First, I want to wish you «une Belle et Bonne Année 2024».
I also say thanks…thanks for keeping alive and healthy GFF. I can’t imagine the time and efforts you had put in the project until now.

This book review is useful for me. I didn’t buy volume one and I kind of regret. Volume II is on the way. Fly fishing and Fly tying books are important object to me. My library has more than 150 of them. I am from this old school were the smell of the book is as important as it content.

Feather Mechanic II is different…that convinced me to put my hands on it. Knowing that some great tiers had collaborated is another good reason. Is this world of great photos and computerized images, hand drawings by the author is one more. So thanks for the review.


Martin Joergensen's picture



Thanks for the nice words about the site!

I'm sure you will not regret your purchase. It's a very interesting book, and one I hope you will like. Supporting books like this is important if we want to continue seeing them published.



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