Published Jun 15. 2009 - 14 years ago
Updated or edited Oct 7. 2023

Book review: Tying Furled Flies

Patterns for Trout, Bass, and Steelhead

Hanley's pragmatic and productive approach to a specific tying method: using furled pieces of material to create elongated shapes of different kinds. Used to tie all types of flies from mayflies over large damsels to small fish. Richly illustrated in color.

Ken Hanley
Headwater Books
Publishing year: 
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Nice flies, nice pictures, nice book!
What can I say other than I think this is a very nice book?
Well, I might consider explaining why I think this is a nice book...

I like books with a focus, and this one has exactly that. It focuses on one single tying method - or maybe even single tying step, namely furling.
Now, you might argue that such a narrow subject would limit the options for teaching and entertaining severely, but not so!
Hanley easily manages both, and he manages to spread out the subject to a wide variety of fly patterns, and following that takes us on all kinds of fishing trips.

The subtitle reads "Patterns for Trout, Bass and Steelhead", which just about covers everything apart from hard core saltwater, but believe me, many of these patterns would do nicely in the salt.
Hanley covers mayflies, sedges and stoneflies as well as terrestrials, but also nymph and adult stages of different damsels and dragon flies. After having read the book and tried a few patterns you would easily be able to apply the techniques to your own flies.
My personal favorite is the Alevin, a small, discrete fish larva pattern found as the very last one in the book. Hanley gave me a bunch of samples of this pattern at a show once, and the word that comes into my mind is "cute", but I'm sure that "killer" will be more like it once it's used for fishing and not just held between the fingers. Many of the other patterns look very appealing too. Some of them are really great imitations in spite of their fairly simple construction.

The book explains the basic technique of furling (twisting a material "around itself") and suitable materials and tools in the introduction, but soon goes into the single patterns, which are covered in depth with beautiful images of the finished flies as well as very detailed tying step photos. Kudos to photographer Glenn Kishi for a job well done on the pictures.
As a good supplement there are lots of fishing pictures, all in excellent quality both technical and with regards to content.

The book is printed in a fairly large format - 8.5 x 11 inches - and although it's not thick its 144 pages are full of condensed furling knowledge. It's softcover and just 22 US$, which I consider a bargain.

If you want to study this technique or just get some inspiration for tying some really great looking and effective flies, this is a very good place to look.


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