Your favorite fly tying book [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Your favorite fly tying book

03-04-2003, 09:51 AM
We have quite a few truly gifted tiers in our midst, and I know that many of us, including myself, aspire to achieve the same success with the patterns of utmost interest. The last few years have seen a multitude of fly tying books hit the shelves, and it's from these books that many of us without access to a local tier able to demonstrate must turn. Some of these books are much better than others, and I was wondering what everyone's favorite tying books are, and for what reasons? If you tie flies for various fishing situations (i.e. saltwater in the Northeast or Southeast, steelheading, salmon, trout, bass, etc.), feel free to list one or two books for each. This would be great info for those that are relatively new to tying and want to get some good instruction that they can refer to at home when sitting at the vice.

For me...
Saltwater - Pop Fleyes by Ed Jaworowski and Bob Popovics. I've learned to tie so many unique patterns from this book, it has turned my tying completely around (with practice, of course). By far the best $35 I ever spent for tying purposes.
Also, I like Klausmeyer's book on tying contemporary fly patterns. It really helps to see tying steps, particularly for the Puglisi fly.

Freshwater - Bob Pops book again, since I fish for large freshwater species that go after the same flies as many saltwater species.

Dble Haul
03-04-2003, 10:05 AM
For saltwater, I couldn't agree more with your choice of the Popovics book. It's excellent.

For freshwater, Randall Kaufman's Tying Dry Flies and Tying Nymphs are very good. Each has a series of demonstration patterns, and an index of other patterns that can be tied with the same methods learned in the demonstrations. In addition, Kaufman's company is a Forum sponsor. Check them out at

For other freshwater fish, I basically freelance and adopt techniques and ideas from just about anywhere. I too use Popovics patterns in fresh water, particularly for bass and pike. And to think I was the only one doing that. :p

03-04-2003, 10:58 AM
of his first steelhead fly fishing book. This, like a few others, can be opened to any page at random for some great read. Some things never change.


PS: Video's would be Lannie Wallers three vid's on steelhead fishing.

03-04-2003, 12:01 PM
That Trey Coombs first Steelhead Fly Fishing book is one of my cherished first books on steelhead flies and fly fishing bought in 1980 or 81. It started all of this madness.

Pm Out

03-04-2003, 12:37 PM
I would have to agree on the starting of the madness. Trey Combs started me on the quest for summer runs on the fly...I haven't looked back since.

However as for my favorite techniques book...I have got to say the Fly Tiers Benchside reference guide by Leesom and Schollmeyer.....I have been tying now for 35 yrs , I am 43 now and more obsessed than ever.

A little pricey as books go, but I learn something new everytime I pick it up.


03-04-2003, 01:09 PM
For me it's John Shewey's book on Spey flies.

Very nicely written with great how to tie and color pix for many of the most popular flies.

03-04-2003, 01:36 PM
Here are my three favorites.

Hair-Wing Atlantic Salmon Flies
by Keith Fulsher, Charles Krom

The Complete Book of Fly Tying
by Eric Leiser

The Versatile Fly Tyer
by Dick Talleur

I learned to tie from Eric Leiser's book. I am find everything I need for atlantic salmon flies in the Fulsher-Krom book. I always find something useful in The Versatile Fly Tyer.


03-04-2003, 02:38 PM
Another couple of favorite fly tying books are:

Randall Kauffmans - Nymph Fly Tying Manual
Kent Helvie - Steelhead Fly Tying
Joe Bates - Streamers The Big Fish Flies
K. Fulsher & Charles Krom - Hair Wing Atlantic Salmon Flies

Have the J. Shewey - spey Fly book but undecided on it yet. I guess its because I can't see tying beautiful spey flies like that to throw into the log jam holes out here. 1-3 casts and their life is probably over.

PM Out

03-04-2003, 03:17 PM
Don't see many of them(logjams) on the Mo' or Man. Lots of nice open water.

If you are talking the PM proper spey fishing is not done there. Unless you are float (indicator) fishing with your spey rod.

Guess it boils down to how cheap you are.

03-04-2003, 04:34 PM
I "learned" from a pamphlet that was included in an "el cheapo" fly tying kit that my parents got me for Christmas as a kid. I had really wanted one for a long time. (The vise that was included consisted of a bent piece of 3/8 inch metal rod, with a 3/16 inch bolt in the bottom to clamp it on the table, and a 3/16 inch knurled bolt with a couple of washers on it to "hold" the fly. Better than nothing - but not much!) My fancy Maine streamers were really in demand, too, especially with a few guys who went for "ice-out" lakers with the fly rod.

But I learned, and quickly. And a lot of guys even paid me to tie 'em flies.

Anyway, Kaufman's books are good, and I have them, along with a lot of pattern books.

Now, I keep it to a few simple and very good patterns that work.


03-04-2003, 04:35 PM
"Trout & Salmon Flies for Ireland" by Pete O'Rieley (sp) - I don't tie much from it but every plate is chuck full of beautiful flies that are more akin to artful interpretations instead of the American philosophy of exactly imitating bugs. No, a "Dog Knobbler" isn't listed.

03-04-2003, 06:38 PM
Boy this is hard... I have to say since I am into saltwater fishing..Four books come to mind... Lefty"s book on saltwater patterns is a must for the number of flies in there... also Dick Browns Bone fish flies, Bob Pop's book and Bob Veverkas Innovative flies... general book would be the Bench side Reference which is a must for ALL tyers which is mentioned above in another thread... I also have to say that I am starting to accumulate some freashwater books for later tying... I bought two of A.K Best's books... AK's Fly Box and Advanced fly tying. Trey Combs Book on Blue water fishing has great patterns for the Sea Habits, and other great saltwater flies that can be used in shore as well. Finally for my streamer's there is Carrie Stevens Book which has great photo's of how to.

03-05-2003, 12:19 AM
Without hesitation the three books that come to mind are Talleur's "Versitile Fly Tyer", Jorgeson's "Salmon Flies: Character, Style and Dressing", and Leeson and Schollmeyer's Benchside Reference". These three will show you and talk you through how to tie virtually any style of fly from simple dubbed nymphs to full dressed feather wings.

To this I would add Veverka's book and Helen Shaw's book. Then I would add Chris Helm's video on tying with deer hair.

If you really want to get into learning more about tying and expanding your library with some rather expensive books, start buying the Flyfisher's Classic Library editions of no longer in print classics on trout and salmon tying and fishing.

I have a rather large tying library with some 45 books in it. Some are very good, some are good pattern references but no good as tying references, some are priceless specialized gems like Kelson's "Salmon Fly" and "Land and Water Salmon Flies" or Blacker's book or Schwiebert's "Matching the Hatch".

The best thing to do is buy the three I mentioned first and then buy whatever strikes your fancy as you go along. There is a wealth of information of tying and tying techniques in print. Some are very good, some are pretty awful. but all usually have someting of value in them.

03-05-2003, 01:29 PM
Atlantic Salmon Flies : Joseph D. Bates Jr.

and one more, for memory lane, cost me $1.50 back in 1960;

03-06-2003, 08:22 AM
Just picked up a couple of books on-line; $28 for Veverka's book, and $22 for George Roberts' book, both new. Not bad, $50 for both.

03-06-2003, 09:00 AM
IMO you only need three:

1. Veverka's, Innovative Flies
2. George Roberts, A Fly-Fisher's Guide to Saltwater Naturals and Their Imitation
3. Lefty Kreh's, Saltwater Patterns

Then just follow around Juro, Bob Pink, Striblue, Penguin, Adrian... and "borrow" as many flies as possible.

03-06-2003, 06:14 PM
I saw that squid you tied at JimW's tying clave........

What book did that thing come out of?:hehe:

I know, I know, I've tied one fly in my whole life so I'll just keep my opinions to myself. I do have some great footage of Adrian tying a flatwing, though.:D

The way I look at it, I still owe you about 4 flies from that cow striper/bluefish blitz down in Chatham. With interest factored in over two years I figure I owe you the first 10 flies I tie.;)

03-06-2003, 10:55 PM
Production Fly Tying, AK Best - this really improved my tying.

Flies for Alaska, Anthony Route and Fly Patterns of Alaska, Alaska Flyfishers are the only pattern books I usually refer to. The AK FFer's book has well photographed general purpose patterns.

I always liked the Orvis comprehensive fly-o-pedia too, but never saw fit to fork out for it.

03-08-2003, 02:07 AM
Matching the hatch
by: Ernie Schweibert :)

03-13-2003, 03:50 PM
i haven't read to many but my favorite so far is dave hugh's essential trout flies

03-22-2003, 04:03 PM
I have used lots of different flytying books, and lots of them were not very good. After looking hard and long I have found a great one. Its Tying Nymphs By Randall Kaufmann, and Tying dry flies Revised Edition By Randall Kaufmann. They are both really good. They are both a little expensive but there worth it. 32.95

Tod D
03-23-2003, 06:03 AM
1. Shewey - "Spey Flies & Dee Flies" - I'd 2nd prior comments. Picked up a copy at the Wilmington show last week and have been reading in the evenings. Beautiful pictures/instructions & offers a lot of inspirational ideas.

2. Bates - "Streamer Fly Tying & Fishing" - Classic book, ideas & patterns.

3. Hughes - "Essential Trout Flies" - my favorite trout fly book. His new book on trout flies looks spectacular - if expensive.

03-23-2003, 12:03 PM
my favorite book has to be "Mayflies, the Angler and the Trout" by Fred Arbona, though I don't use it much anymore since leaving mayfly country and becoming a west coast steelhead junkie. The insights into insect behavior that are provided in this book are unreal, and definitely translated into more fish for me. Lucid and enjoyable, I like it much much more than the "Hatches" classics

04-03-2003, 12:57 PM
New favorite to add to my list: Trout Flies; The Tier's Reference by Dave Hughes; saw it in a local B&N, wasn't about to pay $75 for it. :eyecrazy:
Picked it up on Amazon for $50 with free shipping. Clearly demonstrates tying steps for dozens and dozens of patterns, very informative, very pretty, great photos. This is the next best thing to having someone with experience next to you on the bench, it would seem.