Pattern/Intstructional Books [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Pattern/Intstructional Books

11-07-2002, 07:40 PM
I am looking to hit the vise hard this winter to improve my tying skills as well as build an arsenal for next year. Does anyone have a favorite book or two or three they would reccommend for Northeast saltwater patterns?


11-07-2002, 08:00 PM
Funny you mention it, that's also one of OUR projects for the winter... a forum fly pattern book! Proceeds will go to site costs for 2003.

Anyway, in the interim I would recommend Popvic's book and Tabory's baitfish and imitations guide for starters.

Also don't forget that if you do a search for all dates in the striper fly archive you will get a huge assortment. (I have asked people to make sure they don't just post a picture but include the recipe as well)

11-07-2002, 08:58 PM
I think the Popovics book is one of the best EVER. Unreal.

A book I would strongly recommend to any fly-tyer or fly fisher is George Roberts' "a fly-fisher's guide to Saltwater Naturals and their Imitation". Not a fly tying book per se, though it does have a large number of classics and their recipes in it. What it gives you is a vast storehouse of small black "profiles" or outlines of the shapes of bait fish, their size range, and a description of primary colors (and variations when they occur), spawning times, environmental preferences, and behavior. The info is worth many times its weight in gold.

So you pick a pattern that generally matches the profile of the fish you are going to imitate, say surf candy for sand eel or catherwood mackerel for something bulkier, then you tie the fly to the color description, and finally trim your fly (if using synthetics) to more exactly match the profile. I'm advocating a slightly different approach, namely cutting down on the number of patterns you tie, but learning to adapt them to different baits based on the info in this book.

This book would make lefty, flip, and anybody else you care to name a better fisher...

11-07-2002, 09:14 PM
I agree that having that type of book is critical to sucess for any fisherman. I have Alan Caolos book Atlantic Baitfish & Other Food Sources. It offers all of the information you mentioned and is small in size which makes it great for throwing in your tackle bag or glove box for on the water analysis.


11-08-2002, 05:39 AM
You start out tying less impressive flies than the books can show you, then you catch up to the book patterns, then you leave them far behind with your own creations. That's when you know you are a good fly tyer.

Recipes are a good starting point, but over time the recipes are replaced with mutations and adaptations based on observations of your own eyes brought to your own vise. Books are good for establishing the basis of tying flies; but the important thing is to get the creative ability into your own mind so you can move beyond books and into true fly tying - the ability to react to what you learn with each outing.

Good luck on your journey!

11-08-2002, 07:08 AM
I will be going down the Cape this weekend and will get you a bunch of titles.

Dble Haul
11-08-2002, 08:08 AM
Just for sheer volume of pattern recipes, I'd check out Lefty's Saltwater Fly Patterns. While it doesn't have highly detailed instructions, it does give general directions for atypical patterns.

And it covers every saltwater gamefish you can imagine.

I'll throw in another vote for Popovics book. The photography and detailed instruction are high quality.

Doc Duprey
11-08-2002, 08:23 AM
Let me add my support for Bob P's book. He and Ed J. did an outstanding job with both text and picture, capturing the details of the tying methods Bob has developed for his unique, durable and effective flies. It's a must have book.

The books cited by others relating to prey species are also excellent, as they can give you a better feel for what you are trying to imitate, as well as good information on habitat and behaviors. While not strictly speaking fly tying books, they are useful references at the bench.

Now let me add to thta the work of Kenny Abrames (Striper Moon, and The Perfect Fish) both of which provide a unique perspective and techniques to tying for salt water. While Ken takes an entirely different approach from that espoused by Bob P., the resulting flies can be just as effective and often more so, given the proper conditions and presentation. Ken also provides a lot of insight into color theory and selection, and teaches a more impressionistic way of tying, rather than the more precise, imitative approach of Popovics.

Perhaps the mastry of both approaches is the ideal answer, as it would give you the greatest range of choices to meet the changing conditions we face every time we go to the sea in search of ...

Just my $0.02

Your mileage may vary.

Best regards,


11-08-2002, 08:28 AM
You may want to look at "Inshore Flies - Best contemporary Patterns for the Atlantic & Gulf Coasts", Amaot publishing (no affiliation)

It's chuck full of patters & recepies from Texas to Maine - interesting stuff for sure.

Good luck!