Eye of the Guide


Satoshi Yamamoto - Oct 5, 2015

Tying the Classic Salmon Fly – A Modern Approach to Traditional Techniques by Mike Radencich (1997)

Craving More:

As I completed more patterns and worked with my mentor, I was craving more knowledge. I'm not saying previous books weren't enough but it was simply the fact my interests and involvement with Atlantic Salmon Flies were growing and glowing. This book was one among many that my mentor suggested me if I want to pursue more. Indeed my mentor contributes to significant chapters in this book.

Hook & Gut Loop:

I acquired some exotic feathers. They were not necessarily expensive rather simply hard to find. As I practice and dress more flies, I noticed very fundamental materials that I had to keep track of their amounts. Those were blind-eye hooks and silk gut loop.

As for hooks, I started with regular up-eye hooks. All the tying videos and books I own are using blind-eye hooks and silk gut loop. At the beginning I had no access to these two. Even before I venture to find them I knew they would be too expensive for just practice flies. To make a long story short, I came to the point that up-eyes were causing problems toward the finishing steps of flies. I just needed to step up. First I looked at E-Bay and I found and purchased Spanish silk leader. Then I learned to twist them to produce gut loops (again my mentor advised me in details).


Then I started to remove the eyes of standard up-eyed hooks with a rotary tool (a blade on the head). Then I tried to smooth them as much as I could with a rotary tool (a sanding tip on the head). During the process, I honestly wondered where I was heading and doubted if this would work. However, my little concerns turned out to be nothing. What I came up with weren't too bad!

I still use these homemade hooks when I just want to occupy myself at my bench. Then I use much more specific display hooks when I tie for commissions or presentation.

I still think all of these steps and actions of mine are funny and I chuckle when I look back. Something motivated me to do so. This was when I noticed I was the one who was "hooked" by these flies (not Atlantic salmon!) and I felt Atlantic Salmon Flies mean something other than just beautiful flies. Not to mention, not a hobby any more but a life-time pursuit.  


This is indeed an All-Star contribution of Atlantic Salmon Flies (Stackpole Books, ISBN: 0-8117-0331-2). Each author who is in charge of the chapter shares his/her specialty and knowledge. Then Radencich dictates the entire book with his superb photography and editing skills.

In my personal opinion, this may not be suitable for a total beginner. Tying instruction sequences are with The Baron. That's definitely too difficult for beginners to start with. Also chapters for dying feathers, framing, and hook-making (and so on) will intimidate potential beginners: "do I need to do this much?" Rather, this book should satisfy the needs of all serious pursuers.

Satoshi Yamamoto, www.leftyanglerandflies.com, is a guide and a fly-dresser in Livingston, MT. 

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