Published Jul 13. 2021 - 2 years ago
Updated or edited Jul 13. 2021

Book review: Syd Glasso

An Influential, Innovative, Master Fly Tier and His Canadian Connections

Art Lingren's book on Syd Glasso and his flies pays well deserved homage to a very influential salmon fly tyer

Art Lingren
AJL Books
Publishing year: 
US$ (includes mailing to Canada/US)
Reviewed by: 

I always loved Syd Glasso's flies and his tying style. The low profiles, the swept back wings, long hackles and not least the small heads.
So stylish!
Even before knowing or recognizing his name I liked and tied his patterns, and over the years I have regularly ventured into tying an Orange Heron, a Sol Duc or a Lady Caroline tied Glasso style with a low sweeping wing, a long heron hackle and a tiny head.
I feel it might be time to dig out some heron hackle again. Thanks to Art Lingren's book on Glasso and some of the tyers he inspired, I'm sure I will be tying more of these wonderful flies in the near future.

This book appeared on my radar a while back in late 2020 where its author, Art Lingren, and others started mentioning it on Facebook. Syd Glasso was one of my early inspirations in salmon fly tying as I mentioned, and there isn’t much written about him. His name pops up ever so often, and he has obviously inspired many other tyers than me, but his legacy has deserved a more comprehensive coverage than what I have been able to find.
US Tyer Dave McNeese has been working on a book on Glasso for years, but where this is in its progress, I don’t know.
Trey Combs also covered Glasso flies in his now classic 1970’s steelhead books, and that’s probably the most substantial Glasso coverage on print, which isn’t saying much.

That was until Lingren’s book appeared. Lingren’s book was printed and published late last year, and I soon ordered the a copy directly from Art, and got it already back in March this year.

It is exactly what I hoped for: a smorgasbord of cool, beautiful and very fishy flies, all tied in the typical Glasso style and quite a lot of them by Glasso himself. I can’t say for sure, but my impression is that essentially all Glasso patterns are covered, and pictures and recipes seem to cover all the patterns that he originated or made popular.
The book does of course also contain material about the person Syd Glasso, the history of some of the flies, and – as the subtitle indicates – something about his connections to other anglers and tyers of his era.
It also features a handful of small stories about some of his flies, now in the hands of current tyers and anglers.
It’s not a huge book, but its 90 pages in large format offers plenty of room for lots of really nice pictures. All patterns are shown in detail with full materials listings, and look mouthwatering and very fishy.

My only grudge is that the style, layout and typography of the book is a little old fashioned and hints some grade of do-it-yourself. It’s charming enough, but does give the book a slight impression of being older than it is. The content doesn’t suffer from this, but various fancy fonts, round and oval images as well as faded edges does take a bit from the overall impression and places the book in the early 90’s rather than in the 2020’s.
But don’t let this old editor’s grumpy opinion keep you from buying this book if you are in any way into spey flies or modern salmon flies in general. It’s a gem that gives long earned credit to a great and very influential fly tyer.


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