Individual taste in books varies as much as the favorite rod or fly. With that in mind, we hope to review books and videos from the ever-growing fly fishing world, and share them with you. Books will be the best of all worlds, new and old. Many of the old books are now available in reprint, and the wisdom contained is timely today. Others can be found in second-hand book stores, or by mail order dealers. As we find videos we feel are outstanding they will be included. Be assured, reviews are based on what we have actually read or viewed, and due to that fact, may not appear weekly.

April 21st, 2008

Rotary Fly-Tying Techniques
By Gretchen and Al Beatty


Reviewed by Ron Eagle Elk

Book cover

My wife Vickie and I have been tying with rotary vices for years and I thought we had a pretty good handle on using them to their full potential. After sitting across a table watching our friends Al and Gretchen Beatty tie flies at an Idaho Fish-In two years ago, we knew there were many more valuable techniques to learn.

When I heard that Al and Gretchen had a new book being released entitled Rotary Fly-Tying Techniques I knew I had to have a copy. It finally arrived in the mail box and I sat down to skim through it. Wrong. Skimming is not something you want to do with this book because you'll miss too much. I suggest turning off the television, getting your beverage of choice, a comfortable chair, good lighting and read the book. It's packed full of information that's just too good to miss.

It seems Gretchen's family has been in on the true rotary tying revolution since the early stages, starting with treadle powered tying vises. Yup, I said treadle powered. They add a bit of history to the book by discussing the antique rotary vises as well as how to use them, including a neat electric powered vise. Kind of makes me glad I only have to deal with a manual vise.

When Al and Gretchen did the live demonstration tying session for us at the Fish-In, they were both constantly interrupted by "Wait, how did you do that?" and "Do that again, will you?" One technique Al showed us was the traveling bobbin rest. (There were several of the "Wait a minute." interruptions on that one) By the time we had a chance to chat a bit and I walked to the cabin, I had forgotten how he did it. Thankfully, it's in the book, along with other techniques to make your fly tying simpler, easier and more fun. Now we can carry it to the tying bench and practice, practice, practice.

Not only are the techniques of rotary tying written about in clear prose, but the accompanying high quality photos are a perfect compliment to the written word. Something readers of Al and Gretchen's other books have come to accept as the norm from these two.

I was surprised to note how many vises are discussed in this book. Al and Gretchen tie on a bunch of different vises and include information on several of today's modern rotary vises, and use those vises to demonstrate the techniques.

Not to leave anything out, there are several fly patterns in each chapter that encourage using the techniques. Some are patterns you already know that will be so much simpler to tie with the techniques shown, and others may be brand new to you and an enhancement to your fly box. For an example, check out the EZY Parachute PMD, HERE.

If you aren't tying on a true rotary vise and are thinking of upgrading, this book will be a big help. If your already tying on a true rotary, this book is a must to bring out the best in your vise of choice.

Rotary Fly-Tying Techniques
By Al and Gretchen Beatty
8 ½ x 11" format
Softbound 116 pages
ISBN: ISBN-13: 978-1-57188-418-3
Price: $24.95 US
Published by Frank Amato Publications
Portland, Oregon 97282
Phone: 800-541-9498, ~ REE

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