Published Mar 21. 2017 - 7 years ago
Updated or edited Mar 21. 2017

Book review: Fleye Design

Techniques, Insights, and Patterns

Bob Popovics can rightfully be called one of the most innovative fly tyers today. And he keeps on sharing new methods in his latest book.

Bob Popovics
Stackpole Books
Publishing year: 
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I had been on the lookout for a used copy of this book for quite a while. I like to buy used and save a little money and some import tax when buying abroad. But all the sources I tried didn't want to mail the book to Denmark, so I finally budged and asked Paul Morgan of Coch-y-Bonddu Books to bring me a copy to buy at the Danish Fly Festival. Even though he too had problems getting the book, he did manage to bring one, and I was finally able to part with the 30 UK£ or about 35 US$ that he charges for it and bring home the book - still at a price well below the list price of 50 US$.

And I'm so happy to have added this book to my library!

During the last year or two I have been seeing Beast Fleyes, Hollow Fleyes and many other Popovics bucktail flies everywhere, and even though there are a lot of great guides on how to tie them, I wanted to hear it straight from the horse's mouth. As you probably already sensed I was not disappointed.
I already have Pop Fleyes and can only agree with Kasper who reviewed it back in 2002: it's a great book, and it rolls out the whole Popovics arsenal: Surf Candies, Siliclone Flies, Ultra Shrimps and many more.
While that book was almost all about eyes and epoxy, the new one is about bucktail and UV resins.
I have always loved tying with bucktail, which is an inexpensive and easy to get material, and generally underappreciated by many tyers. Popovics raises it to stardom again, using it in the majority of the patterns in this book.

Popovics also plays with size here, and in the sense big flies. Since the book came out I have seen the most gigantic creations posted online – both from Popovics' own hands and from the hands of people who were inspired by him. Big is beautiful!
In the book he goes through a handful of the new basic Popovics styles like Hollow Fleyes, Bucktail Deceivers, Beasts, Bulkheads and many more, almost all very well suited to be tied for size. Like Pop Fleyes this title features clear and easy to follow instructions with great pictures of the finished flies as well as the steps. Popovics explains the methods very meticulously and shares all the little tips that will enable you to follow him and make your flies look good and be durable. He also shows lots of variations and tips on creating different flies within the various styles.
As already mentioned he extensively describes the nature and the use of bucktail, showing techniques for fanning, reversing, stacking and creating apparent size and nice tapers. UV resins are covered in depth, and he also shows using it for other patterns like shrimps, crabs and worms, and LCR Surf Candies and Fleye Foils get a mention too. As you can probably see, the patterns are mainly saltwater flies, although many of them undoubtedly will work for other predatory fish such as pike and bass.

Fleye Design pages
Pages from the book
Stackpole Books

The book is credited to Popovics and Jay Nichols, but has Popovics as the “I” in most of the text, and I guess Nichols has had the role of the editor and adviser... and perhaps a bit of ghost writing... It doesn't feel like that when reading the book, which is consistent and has a nice tone, adding a lot of personal touch and advice based on the knowledge that comes from lots of experience and lots of experiments. Nichols and Popovics are jointly credited for the majority of the excellent photos.

...based on the knowledge that comes from lots of experience and lots of experiments

There are several chapters and sections contributed by others such as Ed Jaworowski, Richard King and people like Dave Skok, Steve Farrar and Blane Chocklett and more. All these sections supplement and extend Popovics' own chapters, tracing the inspiration both to and from Popovics, and altogether the book covers a long row of modern fly designs and tying techniques. Its 250 pages are full of inspiration and very detailed tying tips and pattern descriptions with plenty of large and clear photos of both tying steps, finished flies as well as some fishing action, many of them garnished with some advice on practical fishing.

A book well worth even its list price and definitely another classic from Popovics, earning him another Global Class notch in the handle of his favorite rod.


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