Published Jan 10. 2016 - 8 years ago
Updated or edited Jan 10. 2016

Book review: Simple Flies

Easy-to-Tie Patterns that Catch Fish

A book that has Hans Weilenmann's CDC&Elk on the cover has to have something good inside. And this book has.

Morgan Lyle
Headwater Books/Stackpole Books
Publishing year: 
US$ (I paid $10 for my new copy)
Reviewed by: 

I like simple.
I prefer simple designs, simple layouts, simple mechanics, simple fly patterns.
That's why I liked this book already before I owned it and why my finger only hovered a few seconds over the buy button when it was for sale for a mere 7 UK£ or some 10 US$. Add to that a bit of postage, and it's still an inexpensive book.
It doesn't look much, but the simple cover hides 166 excellent pages, which will take you through the simplest flies in several categories: wets, nymphs, dries and streamers. It starts out with about 20 pages covering the principles of tying simple and some useful materials, which will bring you a long way, enabling you to tie many different patterns including a lot of those in the book.
Simple is not primitive – even though a few of the flies are so simple that they are almost that. The Killer Bug, Walt's Worm, The Brassie and more. One or two materials and no fancy techniques, but still very useful and efficient flies.

I like simple.

The pattern list is 52 patterns long, some covered in detail and with step-by-step instructions, others just mentioned and shown. Morgan Lyle still manages to get well around the subject with great variation in his examples, and covers some very diverse flies, from small nymphs to large saltwater streamers. The book also covers some important concepts in simple flies like Pete Hidy's flymphs and the Japanese Tenkara style. And not only is the different patterns and tying styles well covered, but there's room for some fishing tips as well as some additional chapters where the author interviews the originators and add their thoughts and observations.

The tempo in the book is great, the variation makes it fun to read just for entertainment and learning, but will also serve as a pattern book, which will teach you to tie some easy and very effective flies. The illustrations are great with nice photos of the finished flies as well as the process – and with a handful of fishing pictures thrown in for good measure.
Most experienced tyers could probably tie the flies from just a picture of the finished fly, but the beginner will be very well helped by the detailed instructions. And as a seasoned tyer it's always nice to see a few steps, teaching you a trick or two and not least get the nature, amount and handling of materials to get the right proportions of the finished fly. Lyle does a great job helping both the rookie and the senior tyer.
As you can probably sense by now, I'm pretty happy with this book, which cuts to the chase, concentrates on its subject and presents its material in a very nice, great looking and easy flowing manner. It's not a monolith in fly tying and not a classic as such, but still manages to be simple in its own sense with no obvious feet set down wrong.

A rating as Excellent would be a fair judgment, but I'm actually going to give it a Global Class rating because I think it's slightly better than just excellent.


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