Stu Farnham

June 17th, 2002

A Fly Fisher's Library
By Stu Farnham

The Internet is a powerful resource. It provides us instant access to information, and brings us together via email, bulletin boards, chat rooms, and instant messaging. FAOL is a wonderful example of the Internet at its best. The Internet, however, will never replace the printed page.

I've loved books and fishing since my youngest years, although I did not start fly fishing until 1993. This column will give me an opportunity to share reviews of some of my favorite fly fishing and tying books (and some that are not such favorites) with my friends here at FAOL. My library reflects my tastes and interests, and so will this column. It will be heavily slanted towards cold water fishing and tying for trout and steelhead, and won't touch much on areas of which I know little, such as warm or salt water fishing.

I hope that these reviews will motivate some of you to pick up a good book, on this or any subject, and read. ~ Stu Farnham

Cripples and Spinners

Cripples and Spinners
by Kelly Galloup
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Dean Publishing, Traverse City, MI
$34.95 Hardcover
ISBN: 0970721307; (March 2001)

Scott Richmond, in his excellent little book The Pocket Gillie (hmmm, a good subject for a later review), talks about patterns and presentations that imitate aquatic insects at their points of vulnerability (POV). POVs are those times at which the insect is particularly vulnerable as prey for the trout, and the cripple and spinner POVs have received relatively little attention until recently.

Along with Bob Linsenman, Kelly wrote the 1999 book Modern Streamers for Trophy Trout, which provided a comprehensive look at tackle, flies, and techniques for streamer fishing. In Cripples and Spinners, Galloup provides an equally thorough coverage of his material.

Kelly opens the book with a survey of the scant literature on his topic, and a review of the lifecycles of aquatic insects. In his chapter 'The Significance of Spinners,' Galloup asserts that spinners are important because they concentrate a large number of vulnerable insects in a small area. He also disputes the commonly held assertion that spinners provide little nutritional value based on his observation that trout key in on females which carry additional nutrition in the remains of the egg sac.

I suspect that most of us will remember Kelly's knocked-down dun and cripple patterns as his most important contribution (see the accompanying photo of his PMD cripple). He ties these patterns on hooks with shanks bent to the side (as viewed from above). The chapter on cripples includes good B&W photographs of crippled mayflies as well as Galloup's excellent patterns to match them.

Chapters on technique, equipment, and reading the water offer little that is new. However, the chapter 'Rigging for Cripples and Spinners' has excellent advice on pattern selection and offers a number of two-fly rigs along with guidance on when to use each rig.

The fly tying section yields the real meat of the book. Galloup presents his philosophy of pattern design, covering shape and dimension, color, and visibility. He also provides the obvious but important observation that ". . .float is the number one consideration in all [dry] fly design. You can have everything on the fly exactly right. . .but if the fly does not ride properly on the water all your efforts are in vain." He goes on to point out that this means more than just sitting upright. The pattern needs to sit in the water in the intended manner. Having just gone through a series of experiments to adapt some existing Pteronarcys patterns, I can attest to the validity of these observations.

A separate chapter reviews Kelly's preferences in techniques and materials as applied to cripples and spinners. In chapter ten, Galloup profiles a number of leading contemporary tiers from the US, and provides their thoughts on fly design, especially as applied to the book's subject. He interviews Andy Burk, Dave Ellis, Ted Fauceglia, Craig Matthews, Mike Mercer, Gordon Rose, and Scott Sanchez.

There follows a section of excellent color photographs of flies by each of the profiled tiers, as well as Galloup's own patterns, and equally clear photos of naturals. Fly recipes follow the photographs.

Cripples and Spinners was my favorite new technical book on fly fishing and tying of 2001 (as opposed to books of essays or fiction). This book may be hard to find, as it was published by a small local press in Traverse City, Michigan. You can find it on or for an autographed copy contact Kelly at his new venture, (resort and fly shop, the Slide Inn), between Ennis and West Yellowstone, Montana.

Kelly Galloup
50 US HWY 287 S
Cameron MT 59720
Phone 406-682-4804
~ Stu Farnham

About Stu

Stu tying Stu Farnham is a New Englander by birth, who was transplanted to and put down roots in Oregon in the early 1990s. A software engineering manager by vocation, he can be found in his spare time chasing trout and steelhead in the rivers of the Pacific Northwest, chasing his four Gordon Setters (who in turn are chasing chukar), tying flies, reading, or working on his website. Colleen, his long suffering wife of 28 years, is a professionally trained personal chef.

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