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Fly fishing and fly tying books are a passion. Here you will find book reviews of books I have read covering fly fishing for trout, smallmouth bass, muskellunge, steelhead, and many other freshwater and saltwater species. You will also find fly tying books covering the same areas. There are also books on aquatic entomology, history of fly fishing and fly tying, hydrology, and great prose having fly fishing as its main theme. There is far more to fly fishing than casting a line, and there should be far more to a fly fishing guide service web site than just costs and services offered.

Bass Flies
by Dick Stewart
The Countryman Press
Woodstock, VT  1989
48 pages, softbound
illustrated, color and B&W
suggested price $$12.95

reviewed by Bruce E. Harang

                 Dick Stewart is one of the best writers of fly tying instructional materials because he clearly and concisely can transfer information. Additionally, Dick is one of the most inquisitive and curious people I have had the privilege of meeting.  His small book on tying bass flies condenses this tying knowledge on the subject into a clear, concise, 48 pages of useful information on the subject. The book is especially useful for the beginner bass fly tier. However, even seasoned tiers will find many helpful ideas and suggestions within this slim volume. Within this book, you will find clear instructions on spinning hair, stacking hair, making balsa poppers, and tying zonkers. Also included are instructions on tying eel flies, mice, moths, leeches, and many other critters eaten by bass. The author has also provided a sound knowledge of tools, materials, and a glossary of terms to get the bass fly tier jump started down the correct path. Add to this the extremely well done illustrations and artwork of Larry Largay and you have one of the best tying books for bass flies available today.
                This book is a prime example of what a fly tying instruction book should be. It is well thought out, well-written and edited, well illustrated, and contains exactly the right amount of pertinent information in an easy to use format for the bass fly tier.
                Overall, one of the finest fly tying instruction manuals for tying bass flies you will ever read. If you tie bass flies, or would like to learn how, this is necessary addition to your library.
© 2000 Bruce E. Harang

Fishing Journal – Angling Legacy
 by you the owner
Frank Amato Publications
Portland, OR  2000
240 pages, hardbound
not illustrated
suggested price $19.95

 reviewed by Bruce E. Harang

                 This is a very nicely hardbound volume with place marker ribbon and gold embossing for recording your lifetime of fishing days. The paper is heavyweight, glazed white with clear crisp printing. Each page records a day on stream and includes space for all of your field observations as well as recording your catch or catch and release.
                The nicest, and most carefully organized, fishing journal this writer has seen. It will make the time used to write in it almost as much fun as the events being recorded.
                This book is definitely a great way for the fisherman to keep his fishing memories fresh. The quality of the materials and binding of the book guarantees that the memories will be protected for generations.
© 2000 Bruce E. Harang

Early Love and Brook Trout
by James Prosek
The Lyons Press
New York, NY  2000
143 pages, hardbound
illustrated, color
suggested price $24.95

reviewed by Bruce E. Harang

                 James Prosek is a young man with a lot of talent, as both an artist and a writer. This lovely whimsical book about the author’s coming of age displays both of his talents very well indeed.
                This is a set of sketches, which revolve around the author’s early fly-fishing, and discovery of girls. The are no fly-fishing techniques, or secret fly patterns here. Instead, you have the opportunity to look back into your own childhood-to-adulthood transition through the eyes and experiences of the author. As you read the well-constructed prose, you are not so much learning about the author’s life as you are reliving the wonders of your own.
                Interspersed throughout this small book are well done reproductions of watercolors by the author. Each one reaffirms for you, the author’s wonderfully developed eye for composition and color. These images will also evoke warm memories of your own outdoor experiences. The image of the moose hunt, for example, will remind everyone who has ever hunted with friends, of the wonderful camaraderie of the hunting camp. The waterscape of Langsee, Austria will remind you of the beauty of your favorite places. The riverscape of “Taylor and a deer on the upper Connecticut” will evoke memories of all of the wonderful events you have witnessed while fly-fishing.
                This volume is a wonderful window into each of our own small books of outdoor memories. A touchstone which allows each of us to recall those golden moments that cannot be shared; only remembered.
                Overall, an excellent work, well edited, and well written and illustrated. Well worth the cost of ownership.
© 2000 Bruce E. Harang

A Handbook of North Country Trout Flies
by Roger Fogg
Old Vicarage Publications
Congleton, Cheshire  1988
222 pages, hardbound
not illustrated
suggested price: about $21.00

reviewed by Bruce E. Harang

                 Soft hackle flies have enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in this country due in large part to the books of Sylvester Nemes. But the flies themselves, and how to fish them, date back to eighteenth century northern England, Scotland and Wales. This book covers the history and lore of this very successful style of fly as well as the flies themselves.
                The book starts out with a history of the soft hackled fly, or spider, and the methods developed to fish these flies successfully in rivers. Next are described methods for using these flies in stillwaters. The author then discusses the various styles of dressing soft hackled flies and the materials needed to do so.
                The second half of the book covers many of the old patterns, including the correct materials, acceptable substitutes where necessary, manner of tying and a bit of history of the pattern.
The method of indexing the patterns is most novel. Instead of listing patterns alphabetically, the author groups the patterns by what soft hackle feather is used for the hackle on the fly. Thus, patterns are arranged by those tied with Woodcock feathers, with Grouse feathers, with Snipe feathers, with Partridge feathers, with Waterhen, Coot, and Jackdaw feathers, with Starling and Golden Plover feathers, and with poultry hackle.
                The book is well written and well edited. The English is in the style of England and not America however, so you will stumble a bit with some of the word patterns. This is only a minor point and you will easily overcome this as you progress through the book. The author also gives excellent citations to other works. Both those he has quoted from and those worth investigation by the reader. The only negative note is the lack of color illustrations of the flies.
                This book is not readily available in the U.S., but it is available from Coch-Y-Bonddu Books who advertise in many U.S. fly fishing magazines and can be reached on the web at
                Overall, this is an important work that helps to preserve an important part of fly fishing and fly tying history. It is done well and is highly recommended as a basic part of every fly tyer’s library.
© 2000 Bruce E. Harang

Creative Flies
by Robert Williamson
Frank Amato Publications

Portland, OR  2002
38 pages, softbound
illustrated, color
suggested price, $15.00

 reviewed by Bruce E. Harang

           Frank Amato Publications has been publishing a number of fly tying manuals directed to specific methods and techniques of fly tying. These small books have been extremely well designed, printed, and illustrated. They provide step-by-step instructions using excellent photographs and drawings to illustrate well written and well edited text. This book covering the methods of chain-stitching, weaving, air-filled, and foam bodies is another excellent example of this genre.

          Robert Williamson has provided the fly tier with the necessary information to allow tying some innovative and productive flies. Flies having extended cork underbodies covered with woven skins. Dry fly extended bodies utilizing modern synthetic tubing to form air-filled balloons. And methods of creating cased caddis imitations using pre-made chain-stitched thread to create the colorful cases of caddis pupae.

          Split into four sections the book provides clear, concise instruction on tying flies using the Overhand Knot Weaving technique, the Chain-Stitching technique, the Air-Filled Body technique, and the Foam Twister technique. Each section is well written and presented with excellent photo reproductions, and drawings. The layout allows the book to be laid open and have the pertinent text and illustrations positioned so that page flipping is not required.

          If you would like to learn some new fly tying techniques that produce flies that draw comment from your fly fishing buddies and also catch fish, this book will get you well on your way. The cost is very reasonable for the amount of excellent information included. The author has done an excellent job of bringing these techniques to the fly tying fraternity. The resulting flies will obviously work on the large brawling rivers of the West. But they will also work extremely well on the freestone mountain pocket water of the east as well as the larger rivers, lakes, and ponds of the Midwest.

          Overall, this book provides great value, great information that is presented in an extremely useable manner.
© 2002 Bruce E. Harang

Fishing in Wild Places
by David Street
Gomer Press
London, England 1989
201 pages, hardbound
illustrated, B&W
suggested price, $20.00

 reviewed by Bruce E. Harang

     On my current reading list - review will be forthcoming very soon.

Small Stream Bass
by John Gifford
Countryman Press
Woodstock, VT 2002
216 pages, softbound
illustrated, B&W
suggested price, $16.95

reviewed by Bruce E. Harang

     On my current reading list - review will be forthcoming very soon.

Lee Wulff
by Jack Samson
Frank Amato Publications, Inc.
Portland, OR, 1995
238 pages, Hardbound
illustrated, Black & White
suggested price, $34.95

                                 reviewed by Bruce E. Harang

             Lee Wulff was a quintessential fly-fisherman. From earliest childhood growing up in Alaska, Lee and the outdoors were two intertwined threads in the pattern of a long and accomplished life.
            Jack Samson has very clearly documented the fly-fishing life and accomplishments of Lee Wulff. All the well-known fly-fishing highlights are here. The invention of the American style fly-fishing vest, the idea of "catch-and-release", the molded plastic bodied fly and many more. Also documented are Lee's equally well known fly-fishing accomplishments, such as hooking and landing an Atlantic Salmon on a very light bamboo trout rod.
The author then goes behind the public image and tells the story of Lee's not so well known accomplishments. Events such as helping to found the Federation of Fly Fishers, working to protect and preserve the Atlantic Salmon, opening up sport fishing in Labrador, Canada, and constantly teaching conservation and good stewardship to the world. The biography is made complete in documenting Lee's life and relationship with the rest of the world. This is truly a wonderful accounting of an outdoor giant's life. It is the story of a true renaissance man.
            Overall, this is a well-written and illustrated tribute to a genuine American hero.
© 2002 Bruce E. Harang

Dry-Fly Patterns for the New Millennium
by Poul Jorgensen, editor

Frank Amato Publications, Inc.
Portland, OR, 2002
87 pages, limited hardbound, hardbound, softbound
illustrated, color
suggested price $60.00, $29.95, $19.95

reviewed by Bruce E. Harang

          Two years ago the Catskill Fly fishing Center and Museum invited fly tiers the world over to contribute flies to create a collection that would present a snapshot of fly tying at the beginning of the 21st Century. The result of that invitation is a collection of 1,886 flies from 792 fly tiers from around the world. The 366 dry flies in this collection are presented in this, the first volume dedicated to publishing the whole collection. It is not a book showcasing famous fly tiers, though they are here. It is instead a showcase of where fly tying stood on the eve of the new millennium. And as such it is a unique and valuable resource for all fly tiers, and fly fishermen. In one volume is the expansive range of dry fly design, technique, theory, and materials. Every type of dry fly is here, from classic Catskill quill bodies to outrageous foam creatures and everything in-between. The ideas, like the fly tiers represented, span the globe. There are flies from tiers in the United States, Canada, Spain, England, Scotland, Australia, Denmark, Belgium, Italy, and South Africa to name just a few.

          The bottom line is that here is presented one of the most comprehensive and unique collections of dry flies ever published. Each fly is shown in a microphotograph and accompanied by the pattern recipe and notes on the tier, tiers location and where given historical notes. No future fly tier or fly fisherman will ever have to wonder how the wing was tied on a Kaufman Stimulator, or what on earth a Double-Origami Daddy Long Legs was. It is all here and so much more.

          The book overall is well put together and edited. There are a few glitches that should not have happened however for a work of this sort. There is one fly where the image and the recipe don’t match, a couple where the recipe is not completely in sync with the image. And there are a number of images that are not to the standard of quality that one should expect in a book of this type today.

          With several versions of the book available from softbound at $19.95 to a special edition hardbound with a fly tied by the editor Poul Jorgensen at $60.00 there is a version in everyone’s price range.

© 2002 Bruce E. Harang


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Copyright © 1997 - 2006 Bruce E. Harang
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Last modified: January 04, 2006