Published Nov 13. 2015 - 8 years ago
Updated or edited Dec 9. 2016

Book review: Fusion Fly Tying

Steelhead, Salmon, and Trout Flies of the Synthetic Era

Greg Senyo's book on modern salmon and steelhead flies is a tour de force in goudy and flashy materials composed into large flies

Greg Senyo
Skyhorse Publishing
Publishing year: 
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This is a big book.
OK, I know that's not saying much, but still...

Measuring 8.5 x 11 inches (22 x 28 centimeters) and weighing in at 1.5 kilos or almost 3 lbs, its 350 pages make it a hefty volume. I appreciate large books these days, where books often come as bits and bytes. Being a book lover, the size alone already has me liking the book. Bigger is better – mostly – and I definitely like paper better than digital books unless we're talking pure text. Large colorful photos an nice layout like this deserves paper if you ask me.

The book dives right into its subject: flies. No nonsense. Head on.
After a short intro by Matt Surpinski and one equally short by the author, it's straight on with the first pattern.
On page 7 it's Artificial Intelligence and on page 321 it's Larrimer's Articulated Craw Bugger and in between them you will find 34 other large, modern, colorful salmon, steelhead and trout flies.
Not much beating around the bush here. This is a pure bred pattern book.

Not much beating around the bush here. This is a pure bred pattern book.

Knowing Senyo as a very creative - not to say innovative - fly tyer with the invention and development of a handful of pattern styles on his resume, I have to say that I find it a little disappointing that he doesn't dwell a bit more on the history and background of some of these flies.
Luckily there's lots of text for each fly along with some OK photos, which does compensate in part for what I miss, but I would have loved to read some general considerations on using synthetics, tying large and modern flies rather than the traditional styles and about the use of shanks and trailing hooks.

It doesn't take much math to figure out that 36 patterns covered in about 350 pages gives slightly short of 10 pages per pattern, so each fly gets all the attention it deserves. Senyo talks about each pattern's background, lists the target species, lists some favorite colors, lists materials and then dives into some excellent step-by-step tying sequences with large and clear photos. Not big art, but they do the job. The first flies get a little more coverage than the last ones, but all the flies are covered in enough detail to satisfy most anglers and tyers.
As both Senyo's history and the title indicates, these are really flies from a Synthetic Era. Senyo himself has put his name on many a bag of material, and doesn't miss a chance to mention the brand. Flymen Fishing Company Senyo's Steelhead/Salmon Shank, Senyo's Shaggy Dub, Senyo's Pepperoni Aqua Veil, Senyo's Emerald Fusion Dub and many, many more Senyo branded products. Even Senyodelic Bead Chain. In all fairness Senyo also lists all other materials with detailed brand names and precise specifications. Since some of these patterns use many different materials, typically up towards 15 and even more, there will be a few shop owners who will have a nice day when tyers come in to stock up for these flies. Some of the patterns use more common materials like flash, feathers and rubber legs, but most are a tour de force in modern, synthetic materials.

And the flies are great!
I have to say that I love the style, and the past decade or so has proved that Intruders, Game Changers and Head Bangers can catch fish.
The flies are pretty far from traditional salmon flies or the steelhead flies of the 40's and 50's. They are far from the Scandinavian style too and far from both the modern and traditional flies used in places like Iceland and Scotland.
These are large, voluminous, gaudy and flashy flies, and are great fun to tie, not least because of exactly that. Most of the patterns describe a style and allows for variations in colors and even in material choice. Once you get the idea, you can improvise and elaborate.

Salmon fly tiers who need a saltwater injection of new inspiration will love this book. Steelheaders and people who want to tie modern style salmon flies will too. People like me who just like fly tying books will also love it. Warmly recommended.


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