Trout Flies of the West
Trout Flies of the West, by Jim Schollmeyer and Ted Leeson. Published by Frank Amato Publications. 128 pages in an 8.5 by 11 inch format. Softbound. Available at many fly shops and online (google title and author).
hen I go into a fly shop that I haven't visited before, I spend most of my time in one place. It's not the rod rack or the display case filled with shiny reels; I've seen them all in other shops.
There's only one big question in my mind: what flies does this shop carry?
I quickly pass by the standard patterns--the Adams and Elk Hairs, the Pheasant Tails and Kaufmann's Stones. These flies come from a small number of big suppliers, such as Umpqua Feather Merchants (the AT&T of trout flies). Like the rods and reels, I've seen them before.
The interesting flies are the ones tied by some guy who lives down the street. If you're planning to fish within 50 miles of the shop, you'll want to pick up a few of these, because they are the flies that evolved to catch local fish on local waters.
I've often wondered if it wouldn't be handy to have all that regional innovation collected into one place? Then tyers from around the country could see what the guys and gals in the next county are coming up with.
Well, Ted Leeson and Jim Schollmeyer did that. They wrote to fly shops around the West and got the recipes for their best local flies. Their book, Trout Flies of the West, is a dandy collection of the 400 best patterns, with recipes, photos, and notes about how to tie and present the flies. Some of the notes are pretty interesting, like the one that mentions a highly specialized version of a particular pattern, one that involves dubbing fur taken from Boris, a Persian cat owned by the pattern's originator.
This is a practical, well-thought-out book. For example, many patterns are shown from more than one angle, to make it easier to figure out what the final product should look like. If there are unusual tying steps, they are explained and illustrated.
The book's text is clear and consistent, and the photos are sharp and well-lit--just what you'd expect from ace writer Ted Leeson and master photographer Jim Schollmeyer. And I congratulate publisher Frank Amato for fine production values: the layout and typography are not crowded, so the book is a pleasure to look at; and the photos appear to be well reproduced.
Winter is coming, and the weather will soon restrict our fishing. So pick up this book and thumb through the patterns. When the winter gales are blowing, set up your vice by the fireplace and tie a few each night. Then dream of spring and the fish that will come to them.
Bottom Line: An excellent collection of fly patterns that represent some of the best regional thinking on the sub Reviewer Rating: 4
5=tops 3=average 1=low
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