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, and due to that fact, may not appear weekly.

November 16th,1998

The Fly Tier's Benchside Reference
By Ted Leeson and Jim Schollmeyer
Published by Frank Amato Publications
P.O. Box 82112, Portland Oregon 97282
Phone: 503-653-8108 email Frank Amato Publications

It seems every major writer on fly tying has contributed to the praise of the "Benchside Reference," but A.K. Best seems to have sumed up the whole of it. "The Fly Tier's Benchside Reference is an incredibly detailed book that will no doubt be recognized for many decades as the definitive guide to tying anything on a hook to create any kind of trout fly. With in-depth discussions of over 400 tying techniques dealing with both natural and synthetic materials, and demonstrated with more than 3,000 color photos, there is hardly a question concerning tying trout flies that goes unanswered."

We received a copy delivered this week - an unexpected surprise! I knew the book was in process; promo information was at the Amato booth at the Salt Lake fly tackle dealer show. I did not ask for a copy of it, because frankly it is expensive, and I have a problem asking a company to "comp" anything. That said, I was doubly delighted when it arrived. As publisher of this website, I needed a really good reference on fly tying. Even though I taught tying years ago, I am not an expert! And I need to be able to answer questions, find sources for folks with problems and keep up with what is new in tying in general. Thanks to the folks at Amato I can now do that.

If I had a fly shop, I would order at least a half-dozen copies of The Fly Tier's Benchside Reference. One of the copies would be open sitting on the shop tying bench, and one to keep at home. The other copies would walk out the door the first time one of my customers couldn't get in to check out the copy on the tying bench.

The book is incredibly detailed. The photo (left) is of one page. The end of one section on a winging method is on the left, and on the right, the beginning of a section on using wing burners, has not just the basic methods, but specialized methods as used by the "name" tiers. There are several sections on burnt wings, from feather tips to folded caddis wings. In total over 100 pages just on winging! Very thorough!

For the serious tier here are the solutions to the most difficult problem. For the new tier, it is step-by-step, hand-holding thorough basics - including handling materials! Your copy may get very dog-eared - but in the process you will greatly improve your tying skills.

There are nearly 500 pages, in a large page format, 8.5" x 11.5", and weighs over four and a half pounds! Sections are color coded, a very considerate detail. This is a real, lifetime reference book.

The Fly Tier's Benchside Reference priced at $100.00, although one of our FAOL readers tells me has it for around $70.00. The ISBN number is 157188126. ~ DB

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