Stu Farnham

September 16th, 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

Oliver Edwards'Flytyers Masterclass

Oliver Edwards'
Flytyers Masterclass

Oliver Edwards
Paperback and Hardcover: (April 1995)
Publisher: Stoeger Publishing Company
ISBN: 0883171791

When I think of Oliver Edwards, I tend to think of his super-realistic flies (e.g., his stonefly nymphs). In preparing to write this review, however, I reread Flytyer's Masterclass, and, in doing so, was reminded that Edwards is simply a superb fly tier. Edwards himself speaks to this point in his introduction, saying that he is not motivated by a desire for super-realism but rather a desire to incorporate the necessary characteristics to trigger feeding into his flies.

Some of his flies, such as the spent willow fly featured in chapter 16 or the heptaqenid nymphs in chapter 3, look as if they are ready to fly or crawl off the page. Along with these highly imitative patterns, however, Edwards presents others which are more impressionistic or suggestive, such as the emerging duns in chapter 5. What all the patterns have in common, however, is first-rate technique and precision of construction.

Photo of Edwards courtesy of Partridge Edwards is from Great Britain, so it is no surprise that the patterns in the book have a distinct European bent. However, each chapter includes a sidebar suggesting the British and North American species for which the pattern is appropriate. Beautiful color photographs by Peter Gathercole illustrate the finished flies, and the line drawings illustrating tying steps are clear, detailed, and informative.

Oliver also writes a column for the British magazine Fly Fishing and Fly Tying which is worth the price of the magazine. He ran a series on North Country spiders (a.k.a. soft hackles) last year which provided a wonderful survey of those simple and effective flies.

This book is exactly what its title claims: a masterclass for fly tiers. Those who work their way through the book will not only have some new patterns for their fly boxes, but also have added a number of new techniques to their repertoire of tying capabilities. ~ 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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