Published Jul 10. 2013 - 9 years ago
Updated or edited Sep 13. 2015

Book review: North Country Flies

A classic book on soft hackle flies first published in 1885 and now photographically reprinted in high quality with a great foreword on its history.

Thomas Evan Pritt
Coch-y-Bonddu Books
Publishing year: 
Reviewed by: 

If you're into tying spider flies, soft hackles and so called flymphs, this book will thrill you. It's a reprint of an old book, originally published 1885. The book is a true classic, and has been a huge inspiration and influence to many contemporary fly-tyers and anglers. Even though the original book entitled "Yorkshire Flies" was only published in 200 copies, it was to become a landmark book.

Many of those fishing soft hackle flies might not be aware of this fact, but the soft hackle tradition comes from the UK, and even though the original title indicates a rather limited area of England, the title of the second and following editions - and indeed this one - is probably more correct.

In his preface to the second edition, Pritt writes that the book was "generously received and quickly exhausted". In other words: the first edition was so popular (and scarce) that a second edition with the new and current title could be published just one year later.

generously received and quickly exhausted

This current version of the book is a photographic reprint of the second edition with a long and thorough foreword written for this edition by Roger Fogg, nicely accounting for the history of the book and its impact.
The rest of the book is the reprint itself, 64 pages, perfectly copied and printed with high quality text and the charming, little drawings printed as color tables with a white backside, like it would have been the case in the original.

The book lists and describes 62 flies and is divided into five sections: and introduction, the flies and three sections with the fascinating names "Bustard Fishing and Minnow Fishing", "Creeper and Stonefly Fishing" and "Up-Stream Worm Fishing", and you might think that they are descriptions of intricate methods of fishing the flies just described, but think again!
They are exactly what the titles imply: coverage of different kinds of bait fishing. Fun to read, but of course slightly out of context when you consider the book title. A little surprising, but highly entertaining and not that many pages, so it doesn't steal the thunder from the main content.

The main course is still the north country flies with a detailed description of each pattern, its history, its prime season and the materials you need to tie it. Many have great comments and opinions expressed by the author. The flies are quite simple and similar and most of them are color variations over the pattern body, hackle, head. There are flies, which have more materials, but even the really complex ones are simple.

Altogether a gem of a book, which might appeal mainly to a narrow audience and people with historic interest, but certainly a very nice addition to any fly-tying library and a must have for the soft hackle, flymph and spider fan.


Yes, all Coch-y-Bond...

Yes, all Coch-y-Bonddu can be shipped to the US. I have many of their excellent books. Also check-out Medlar Press for excellent quality writing about fishing.

Martin Joergensen's picture

Bruce, I'd think ...


I'd think they are the same... they are both photographic reproductions of an old book, so they are probably identical with regards to content. I can't say anything about quality. I have the Coch-y-Bonddu one, and that is in excellent quality and doesn't look like a reproduction at all.


Hi Martin. Are those...

Hi Martin. Are those 2 books the same? One costs twice as much as the other.

Martin Joergensen's picture

Bruce, You can fi...


You can find it on Amazon, but also order it from Coch-y-Bonddu in Wales. I'm sure they ship to the US.


Can the book be purc...

Can the book be purchased in the U. S.


Log in or register to pre-fill name on comments, add videos, user pictures and more.
Read more about why you should register.

Since you got this far …

The GFF money box

… I have a small favor to ask.

Long story short

Support the Global FlyFisher through several different channels, including PayPal.

Long story longer

The Global FlyFisher has been online since the mid-90's and has been free to access for everybody since day one – and will stay free for as long as I run it.
But that doesn't mean that it's free to run.
It costs money to drive a large site like this.

See more details about what you can do to help in this blog post.