Published Feb 9. 2009 - 12 years ago
Updated or edited Oct 11. 2019

Book review: The Complete Illustrated Directory of Salmon Flies

This is a massive and impressing work by Chris Mann whose books we hold in high esteem here on the Global FlyFisher. With more than 1,800 fly patterns listed, each meticulously illustrated in Mann's superior style, This is probably THE title you want as a reference to salmon flies from the whole planet. Running through the indexes - by tyer/originator, fly style or name - is simply breathtaking - not to mention every single page with its many patterns.

Chris Mann
Merlin Unwin Books
Publishing year: 
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Looking at the beautiful computer drawn flies on the cover of this latest and largest volume by Chris Mann, you might be tempted to think that we're talking about a soup stone project, where Chris has boiled down his previous three titles on salmon flies into one.

But that is not the case.

This book does of course contain lots of flies, which have already been featured in the previous books, but it also has a lot of new patterns as well as a set of very well organized indexes to help you find what you are looking for.

A GFF user inquired about a Murmansk Munroe on our forum, and I did as I always do: searched the web. But I found nothing, and thought no further of it until Craig, the original poster, replied that he had found the pattern. And where? Well, in one of Chris' books of course. And all that time I had it on my table right next to the computer, but never trawled the index for that Murmansk fly

That would have been a very typical use for this huge book.
It is indeed a very thorough directory of salmon flies.

Listing more than 1,800 flies, it's an impressing sensation to just leaf through the book and to look at all the neat computer drawn color illustrations. Each fly is shown with a short description of its origin, history and use and displayed in the clear way that Chris Mann's amazing computer illustrations offer - and of course accompanied by a materials list.

The style and concept of this book is basically the same as the previous books, and it does in a sense replace these three volumes. The quality is equally high, and the work behind equally astonishing. There's a lot of research and a lot of hours spent on text and illustrations behind these pages, and there's no doubt that it earns the Global Class that was also bestowed on the first volumes of Mann's series.

No salmon fly tyer should be without, and if you find an avid salmon angler in your circle of fishing friends, don't hesitate giving this book as a gift. It's beautiful enough to sit on a coffee table and mesmerize visitors with its repetitive but artful patterns and colors.

So what's next Chris? Streamers? Saltwater flies? Dry flies?
We're all waiting...


Recieved you book as...

Recieved you book as a gift,you know you should never use the word "complete" because I really don,t think you could ever get them all,but the book is great,I,ve been tying fly,s for almost 40 years and have cought a few fish on my own patterns but these aren,t the one,s you missed.I,ve caught fish in nearly 20 rivers in N.S. and meeting the old local fishermen ,I,ve seen some great local fly patterns that took fish on a regular basis.Some of the patterns that are in you book shouldn't be counted,they,re tied by people that I call salmon social climbers,their flys are tied just to be called their new pattern and not necessarily to catch a salmon,but those old patterns that I learned from the old guys,this flys are killers ! There,s was a old guy that used to fish the LaHave River in Nova Scotia his name is Doug Bezanson,well he knew every rock in that river and he tied flys for people,to have afew of his flys in your box was a necessity,his flys were super sparce,one in piticular was his Black Moose,(pattern as follows) oval silver tinsel,black floss body(cigar shape taper) black moose,never stacked,jungle cock,small, cream color badger hackle collared,this pattern was also tied with a green body.He fished another fly he called Cow Dung,which as you know is a trout pattern,but I saw him catch many salmon with it,you know his patterns worked very well but it had a lot to do with the guy holding the stick.His fly patterns had an almost buggy look they were tyed that sparce.The wings on his fly,s weren,t stack as I mentioned earlier,the hair,s in the center seemed to be abit longer than the outside hairs,in the water it gave the fly a tear drop shape not the paint brush look,but as most Anglers know when the fish are taking just about anything will work. Anyway sorry to be long winded but this is how I see it,I just recently started tying tube flys and I,m going to attempt to Ty a few Temple Dogs,they,ll be deadly on our Fall Rivers.Again great book and another addition to my Library. P.S. Do not let the illustrations bother you,they are top notch and illustrate the patterns perfectly !

Martin Joergensen's picture

John, It might be...


It might be a question of taste, but I certainly think that the computer illustrations do a great job - at least as good as photos when it comes to showing details and tying. The might not be as "charming" as high end photos, but they do very well as illustrations and are very consistent, making comparisons easy. I wouldn't be deterred. You can see examples in the reviews of the earlier books, and I will scan a page of the new one and add to the review.


I have always been t...

I have always been tempted to pick up mr. mann's books, but I was put-off by the fact that it is illustrated and not photos. Should I not let this bother me?

John Ridderbos


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