Published Jan 27. 2014 - 10 years ago
Updated or edited Nov 23. 2015

Book review: The Tube Fly

A beautiful, large format book about tube flies with 300 patterns listed with materials and exquisite images. A handful are illustrated with step-by-step instructions. In Sawada's usual gaudy tying style and colors accompanied by Japanese text and his quirky English translations.

Ken Sawada
Ken Sawada
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Being an avid tube fly fan and having tied tube flies for almost as long as I have tied flies, I have wanted this book ever since it was published in 2006 where I saw it in a local flyshop. But it was expensive - and still is - and back then I didn't want to spend the money on books this expensive, but saved my money for less expensive books, fly-tying materials and fly gear.

These days I'm more of a spender when it comes to books. I have more money, and less need for materials and gear, so my book budget is bigger.

So when I saw Sawada's classic tube fly title at 55 UK£ at Paul Morgan's Welsh Coch-y-Bondhu book store, I didn't hesitate. 55 £ or about 90 USD isn't dirt cheap for this book, which can be found down to about 60 USD used depending on condition. But my copy is mint, signed by the author and such copies will often be sold at 130-150 USD or even more.
I would consider the book would be worth the money even at the high price, especially for a tube fly fanatic. It is definitely one of the all time classic tube fly books, and considering the limited number of books on the subject, it certainly belongs in a tube fly tyer's library.

The book is stunningly beautiful, lists 300 tube fly patterns and contains step-by-step instructions for 18 of these flies. The images are impeccable and very high quality, shot in the usual Sawada style, colorful and detailed on a black background and a perfect starting point for a tyer who wants to tie the flies.
Sawada also lists materials for the flies, and you can easily follow the lists and images to tie the flies yourself. The flies are fishing flies, fancy and gaudy as they may seem, they are still tied for fishing and the author adds a single line telling how the flies can be fished and under what conditions.
The text is in both Japanese and English as it's normal in Sawada's books, and his English translations are as quirky as always. Not impossible to understand or follow, but sometimes unwillingly funny.
This does take the top score away from the book, but it still earns a Global Class rating, and if you're a tube or salmon fly fan, you should seriously consider finding yourself a copy of this book.

Tube Fly step-by-step - There are detailed step-by-steps for 18 flies
Beautiful images - The 300 patterns are beautifully photographed and followed by a full materials list and some hints on fishing
Pages from the book
Ken Sawada


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