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
Oliver Edwards'Flytyers Masterclass
Paperback and Hardcover: (April 1995)
Publisher: Stoeger Publishing Company
When I think of Oliver Edwards, I tend to think of
his super-realistic flies (e.g., his stonefly nymphs).
In preparing to write this review, however, I reread
Flytyer's Masterclass, and, in doing so,
was reminded that Edwards is simply a superb fly tier.
Edwards himself speaks to this point in his introduction,
saying that he is not motivated by a desire for
super-realism but rather a desire to incorporate
the necessary characteristics to trigger feeding into
Some of his flies, such as the spent willow fly featured
in chapter 16 or the heptaqenid nymphs in chapter 3, look
as if they are ready to fly or crawl off the page. Along
with these highly imitative patterns, however, Edwards
presents others which are more impressionistic or suggestive,
such as the emerging duns in chapter 5. What all the patterns
have in common, however, is first-rate technique and precision
Edwards is from Great Britain, so it is no surprise that
the patterns in the book have a distinct European bent.
However, each chapter includes a sidebar suggesting the
British and North American species for which the pattern
is appropriate. Beautiful color photographs by Peter
Gathercole illustrate the finished flies, and the line
drawings illustrating tying steps are clear, detailed,
Oliver also writes a column for the British magazine Fly
Fishing and Fly Tying which is worth the price of
the magazine. He ran a series on North Country spiders
(a.k.a. soft hackles) last year which provided a wonderful
survey of those simple and effective flies.
This book is exactly what its title claims: a masterclass
for fly tiers. Those who work their way through the book
will not only have some new patterns for their fly boxes,
but also have added a number of new techniques to their
repertoire of tying capabilities. ~ Stu Farnham
Stu Farnham is a New Englander by birth, who was transplanted to
and put down roots in Oregon in the early 1990s, now residing in
the Seattle area. 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.