Book Review: Mayflies "Top to Bottom" [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Book Review: Mayflies "Top to Bottom"

02-20-2004, 09:55 AM
I received this book by Shane Stalcup a few days ago, after seeing it in a catalog. The book starts out with discussion of some of the most important materials used in Stalcup's choice of patterns for the following pages. I knew of some of his work through Denise's uncle, who has Stalcup's complete video series and owns one or two of his books, but frankly I was taken by surprise by the overall quality of information presented in this book; superb photographs and tying steps accompany a brief discussion of each pattern or pattern variant, and I must say that the innovation in several of the patterns was enough to make me draw up a list of "must-tyes" for the upcoming season. Three or more recipes and photos for variants in each pattern is practically standard. Of course, I had to take stock of the materials I have on hand and put a small order together for those that I needed, and it was in this regard that I was caught off-guard by the prices of some of the synthetic materials used in Stalcup's patterns, namely the Medallion Sheeting which retails at close to $6 per pack :eyecrazy: . There appears to be no true substitute for this stuff, unfortunately, and don't think that I didn't catch the fact that much of the material in the patterns is tied with Stalcup's endorsed materials (i.e. medallion sheeting, flashback, hollow tubing and D-rib, and micro dry-fly dubbing) which are typically on the expensive side of synthetics, in general. I was happy that I already a few of the materials and was sometimes able to substitute some less expensive ones for others; after all, the trout aren't going to care whether the dubbing is Stalcup's or some other brand, so long as the fly looks tasty. By the same token, trout may not care if the wings look transparent or if they're tied with hen saddle tips, but it looks cool to me and frankly that will earn it a place in some of the other patterns I keep for trout. Of course I expect the guy to promote his own materials, it's what anyone else would do.

So all of that aside, I think that this is one of the dozen or so books that earns a permanent place in the top of my tying cabinet, handy for quick reference at all times. It was well worth the $19 paid on Amazon.

02-20-2004, 10:45 AM
Thanks for the review. Will have to check this out.

I have seen a bunch of Stalcup's patterns in flyshops and catalogs and they are pretty innovative.

Over the last few years a mind-boggling number of situation specific mayfly patterns have "emerged" (couldn't resist). There must be 50 different ways to tie a green drake dun by now. Weather a stage-specific (emerging cripple, etc) pattern outfishes a parachute adams remains to be seen in my book. I fish some pretty snobby trout in the summer and tend to stick to the old standby patterns, occasionally "modified" with a pair of nippers....however it's always fun to try something new.

Experimentation and creativity as half the fun of fly tying. I think you're on the right track forgetting about specific materials and coming up with your own variations based on some of Stalcup's ideas.