Fly Tying Made Easy for Beginners
Fly Tying Made Easy for Beginners, by Randall Kaufmann; forward by Randy Stetzer. Published by Western Fisherman's Press. 80 pages in a 8.5 x 11 inch format. Full color. $21.95. Available from Kaufmann's Streamborn or online (google title and author).
ometimes it seems like fly anglers spend more time getting ready to fish than fishing. They hunker over their vises and spend hours turning the hair and feathers of dead animals into trout-catching gems.
Sooner or later, every fly angler tries his or her hand at this piscatorial alchemy. Bursting with enthusiasm and eager to get started, they head for the local fly shop. But when confronted with a wall or two of fly tying materials and a plethora of pattern possibilities, even the most ardent heart can lose its fire.
The big question is: where to begin?
There are two answers to that question. The first is to take a class. The second is to buy a good book, such as Fly Tying Made Easy for Beginners, by Randall Kaufmann .
From Trout Bum to Mogul
Kaufmann is one of our sport's most successful retailers, with three shops in the Northwest and a thriving catalog business.
He is also a master tier who has created some of the West's most popular patterns, including such standards as the Stimulator, Kaufmanns Stonefly, and Freight Train. His first book, American Nymph Manual, arrived almost three decades ago and is now a classic. Two popular books, Tying Nymphs and Tying Dry Flies, are now in their third editions.
But back before he became an author and commercial mogul, Kaufmann was a young kid and a trout bum. He fished his way through the West with no means of economic support other than his tying skills. When he ran short of beans and bread, he'd call on a local sporting goods emporium and see what flies they needed. In the course of more than 20,000 dozen flies, Kaufmann developed an efficient, no-nonsense style that he has passed on to others in his books and classes.
Book Reflects Decades of Experience
Fly Tying Made Easy for Beginners reflects his decades of tying, writing, and teaching. It has the detailed instructions and advice that beginners need. While it focuses on the tricky parts that beginners often trip over, it doesn't belabor simple steps.
This book, like Kaufmann's patterns, reflects his efficient, straight-forward approach. It also reflects his years of teaching and writing on the subject.
Photography is one area where Kaufmann has honed his skills to a fine edge. With two color editions each of Tying Nymphs and Tying Dry Flies, plus his two editions of Fly Patterns of Umpqua Feather Merchants and his bonefishing books, Kaufmann has fly photography down pat. The lighting, exposure, color balance, and film choice combine to reveal the details that you need.
This book includes multi-step instructions (with a photo for each step) for 12 nymphs, five streamers, three steelhead flies, and seven dry flies. An additional 36 pattern recipes (with photos) are in the back. Tools, hooks, materials, and basic techniques are also covered.
A reduced-size version of this book (with a few patterns removed) is included with a tying kit that Kaufmann sells in via his shops, catalog, and website. The kit has all the hooks, feathers, and other materials to tie the first nine flies in the book; tools, such as vise and bobbin, are not included. The kit sells for $79.95. The materials are excellent quality, which is unusual for fly tying kits.
Another book, Basic Fly Tying, is also reviewed on Westfly. If I had to choose a beginning tying book for Western fly anglers, I'd give the nod to Kaufmann's volume. It covers the basics of tying but it also summarizes important points about the confusing profusion of tying materials and hooks. And it covers more of the essential flies that anglers need for the West. Kaufmann does a masterful job of putting a lot of useful information into a small package and making it easy to understand.
Bottom Line: Great choice for a beginning tyer. Reviewer Rating: 4
5=tops 3=average 1=low
No user reviews have been submitted yet.
You must be registered and logged-in to submit review comments. How to do this.