Stu Farnham

October 14th, 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


Dry-Fly Patterns for the New Millennium

Dry-Fly Patterns for the New Millennium by Poul Jorgensen
Hardcover: 87 pages; Aug. 2002
Publisher: Frank Amato Publications, Inc.
ISBN: 1571882456

Poul Jorgensen is a master fly tier born in Denmark and now living in the town of Roscoe in the Catskills in New York state. His several books on tying include Salmon Flies: Their Character, Style, and Dressing and Poul Jorgensen's Modern Trout Flies (among others) and are recognized as classics.

I eagerly looked forward to Poul's latest book. It differs from his earlier work in that it is not an instructional text featuring Jorgensen's own tying. Instead, it contains photographs of and patterns for flies sent in by tiers from around the world for the current display at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum. This volume is the first in a series the proceeds from which will benefit the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum in Roscoe.

On the plus side, the book provides a wonderful cross section of fly tying circa the year 2000. The patterns featured range from the classics of Catskill tying such as the Quill Gordons to what might best be called postmodern flies like the Big-Eyed Toadbug. Some of the better known patterns are represented in the work of several different tiers; for example, there are six renderings of the Royal Wulff, allowing you to see the variations of individual style. This book is not dominated by the work of master tiers, although several are represented (for example, Ed Shenk, Al Beatty, Ronn Lucas Sr., Roman Moser, and Jorgensen himself); it includes a democratic sampling at all levels of skill.

On a personal note I was pleased to see flies tied by a number of people I know, either as friends, or by correspondence, or by participation in fly swaps. I'm sure I'll overlook someone, but among these are Mark Romero, Steve Gossage, Allan Podell, Ron Koenig and Dave Schmezer - all fine tiers.

On the other hand, the production values of the book flagged in places. The photograph accompanying the recipe for the Gray Quill on page 84 did not match the pattern (it shows a downwing caddis tie); a number of the photographs were overexposed (e.g., the Goddard Caddis on page 18). I also found numerous typographic errors throughout.

These problems notwithstanding, the book is a treat, and I look forward to the volumes yet to come in the series. All the flies are on display at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum in Roscoe, and include wets, streamers, flies for saltwater and panfish. ~ 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, 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.

Previous Stu Farnham Book Columns
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