Published Feb 19. 2022 - 2 years ago
Updated or edited Feb 19. 2022

Book review: Fly Couture

Dressing Differently

Some tyers tie different flies. Scottish Nick Thomas, now Wales based, is one of them. And he wrote a book about it.

Nick Thomas
Self published
Publishing year: 
Reviewed by: 

I’m glad this is a great book! Of course I’m always glad when the books I buy are great, but an inexpensive book on offer for a few dollars can disappoint without hurting me, but when I pay 31.11 US$ plus 25% Danish tax plus postage adding up to 53.88 US$, I do get a bit anxious before the book arrives.
When UPS then writes me, and are determined that they need another 35.49 US$ to pass the book through customs from the UK, I get even more anxious. On top of that they notify me that they charge 12 dollars a day to store my package after 5 days if I don’t pay. A steep price for moving a package, where postage and tax has already been paid!
So I pay with trembling hands – but crossed fingers – and hope that my very close to 90 US$ aren’t wasted on a bad book. A bad 90 dollar book is a real pain! Actually, when I think about it, almost any 90 dollar book is a pain…
That's the price of being caught up it the repercussions of Brexit and ever increasing fees and postage prices.

Luckily this is a great book! Like in really great. Great enough to almost have me forget what I paid for it.
I always say that I like different books, and this is a good example.

It’s a large book, 8x10 inches and 324 pages, and although it’s a paperback, it’s still a hefty volume. It’s printed on fairly coarse paper, but in a really excellent quality, and the layout is elegant and modern, and suits the style of the flies and the images really well. Everything stands out clear and colorful, but still has a subdued and “earthy” look, which becomes the material and the book style very well.

During my first, quick leafing through the book a couple of things struck me: Firstly I noticed the high quality and large close-up photos of flies, some of them stretching over a whole spread. Secondly I noticed the flies themselves: impeccably tied and some of them very different – which I like as already noted. And it’s good that the flies are well tied, because the images would reveal any flaw. And if there’s a thing I dislike, it’s badly tied flies in books (and videos and magazines) that are supposed to show people how to tie.

Fly Couture pages
Fly Couture pages
Fly Couture pages
Fly Couture pages
Fly Couture pages
Nick Thomas

The book starts head on with more than 100 patterns, taking up almost half of the pages. After a short intro, it’s “Fly Designs” and one fly pattern per page, covering all kinds of flies, but mainly for stream and lake use. No saltwater squids or shrimps here, but dozens and dozens of caddis, midges, nymphs, scuds, dries and bugs of all kinds – aquatic as well as terrestrial.
Each fly is shown in a couple of clear photos, materials are listed and there’s a few words on tying the fly. No step-by-steps, and only little text. But most of the patterns can be tied from that information alone by a fly tyer with a little routine. Some methods and materials are a little out of the ordinary, and that’s where the next part of the book comes in.
Once you get past the patterns, you are in the innovative and curious fly tyers’ heaven, with pages up and pages down about special materials and ways to use them. It’s Organza, synthetics, spiraled monofilament, heat shrink tube, foam, LCR, earring stoppers, silicone, beads - well known and odd materials of all kinds, all used in ways that are rarely seen – and many materials used in ways that I have never seen.
It’s a smorgasbord of great ideas, and will help you tie the patterns in the first part of the book as well as develop your own flies using new materials in different ways.
Very inspirational!
The last 50 or so pages are about fishing with beautiful images and great stories, giving you a nice place to wind down after some hectic and almost paradigm changing tying.

And… tadaaa! No introduction to fly tying, no beginners’ corner, no tools mentioned (other than to illustrate a method), and no half baked coverage of rod, reels and lines. This is a book for people who want to see some different flies and learn to know some different materials and methods.
For that, Nick Thomas, I salute you!
That also means that it’s not a beginners’ book as such. You can definitely learn something as a beginner, and most of the flies are fairly easy to tie, so that’s not the issue. But the book is kind of uncompromising in its approach to fly tying and fly design, and it probably takes a little experience to fully appreciate this – and follow along.
But for tyers like many of us, with years and years of tying under our belts, this is for once a book that lists new patterns, new ways with known patterns, new tying methods - and shows many new paths to explore.
That earns it a Global Class verdict. In spite of what I paid for it… which I had almost forgotten at this piont...

You can find the book on Nick Thomas' own web site here.
You can also fin Nick Thomas on Facebook


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