Published Sep 6. 2008 - 14 years ago
Updated or edited Sep 13. 2015

Book review: Trout Flies for the 21st Century

Over 200 Essential Patterns that Catch Fish Anywhere, Anytime
Dick Talleur
The Lyons Press
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I think the subtitle says it all : "Over 200 Essential Patterns that Catch Fish Anywhere, Anytime". Allrighty then!

As first entry in the new "Fly Tyer" library of books, Dick Talleur gathers up new assortment of trout flies - a mix mash of classics and contemporary patterns, some well known some quite obscure. You'll find a classic Grannom wet fly and a Royal Wulff, as well as flies with names like "The $3 Dip".

In addition to patterns and photographs of the flies, there is usually a bit of text and occasionally some step by step tying instructions. When the flies have been contributed by another tyer, it is so noted, as is the originator of the fly when it is worth noting. There are some omissions - for example the Melvin Bay was not attributed to Jim Warner, which I thought was unfortunate - but for the most part he made sure due credit was given. In this day and age where so many tyers repackage old ideas as their own - it's good to have people like Dick Talleur who have the integrity to say "this isn't mine, but I like it", as well as the courage to say "this one is my idea".

So, with all that said, why would a book that professes to be a pattern reference along the lines of the "Stewart and Allen" collection books open up with a 10 page chapter on dry fly hackle? I don't know either. I've seen Talleur's hackle articles before, and I know it is a topic in which he is well versed. Seem a bit out of place here, though.

The book is spiral bound so that it opens flat without you having to stick your cup of coffee on one of the pages. People will appreciate that. The photographs are crisp and colorful, and the tying instructions are helpful. The pages are heavy stock with a good sheen to them - so you can wipe up spilled head cement if you're quick. It's a working book, not a coffee table book. The flies are tied as they are to be fished - not to be mounted in a frame and hung on the wall. There is no pretense.

It is tempting to pick nits about the selection of flies - but as far as I can tell there is no selection criteria that has been applied other than these are flies that the author fancies. Who am I to argue? Dick Talleur has been fishing longer than I have been alive, so if he says these flies catch fish "anywhere, anytime", I'll take his word for it.


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