Tying Small Flies Hardcover – Illustrated, 31 Jan 2004
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About the Author
Ed Engle began writing a column about small flies for Fly Tyer magazine in 1996. His previous books are Splitting Cane (0-8117-0008-9), Fly Fishing the Tailwaters (0-8117-2343-7), and Seasonal: A Life Outside (0-87108-780-4). He lives in Colorado, where he guides and instructs fly fishers on the South Platte River.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
If you followed Mr. Engle's column in Fly Tyer Magazine then you know how clearly Mr. Engle writes. His writing style (like his flies) is brief, concise and well thought out. This book is much more than a collection of the Fly Tyer articles (though it does contain updated versions of those articles) - it is an exploration of how a "regular guy" ties these little flies for tailwaters.
I recommend adding this book to your collection along with the predecessors. Any fly fisher wanting to explore these flies will benefit from all of these books. I know I have.
For those having read any of John Gierach's books, the name Ed Engle will be quite familiar, as will the high esteem in which Gierach holds him. This is not without cause: "Tying Small Flies" is extremely well-conceived, devoting much attention to tying technique and material handling for an outstanding selection of small flies through step by step tying instructions and their accompanying photographs. Much more than a simple how-to book, it is rich with background information about the flies' creators and the history of small flies over the past century. In supplying this history and background and inviting the reader to take a considered look at the design aspects of these flies, Mr. Engle has produced much more than the cumulative effect of several "fly of the month" magazine articles. As the simple and definitive title suggests, it is a comprehensive treatise on the subject, the scope covered ensuring its current and future relevance.
Among the basic topics covered is that of hooks and threads, subjects I gave little thought to prior to reading these chapters, but now feel sufficiently informed to intelligently order the more esoteric hook and thread selections online or via mail order when not available at the local fly shop(s). Weighting the flies with wire, beads and dubbing, selection of CDC and snowshoe hare's feet - it's all here. Allusions to days spent guiding on the river and guide considerations when tying also provide a rare glimpse into this side of the sport.
To be clear, this is not a book for the casual or beginning fly tyer, or anyone prone to being overwhelmed by a myriad of fly choices without an understanding of their use. It is a book for the spring creek or tailwater devotee driven to small flies and their application as these special waters demand.
The companion volume, Fishing Small Flies, is no less well-conceived, and while demonstrating the applications and techniques in fishing them, also provides an answer to the question implicitly begged at the topic of small flies: why are they so necessary at certain times and on certain waters? As Gierach aptly notes in the introduction to "Fishing Small Flies", the two volumes stand independently from each other, but comprise an authoritative handling of the subject when taken together.