Individual taste in books varies as much as the favorite rod or fly.  With that in mind, we hope to review books and videos from the ever-growing fly fishing world, and share them with you.  Books will be the best of all worlds, new and old.  Many of the old books are now available in reprint, and the wisdom contained is timely today.  Others can be found in second-hand book stores, or by mail order dealers. As we find videos we feel are outstanding they will be included. Be assured, reviews are based on what we have actually read, and due to that fact, may not appear weekly.

May 22nd, 2000

Forgotten Flies
By Paul Schmookler and Ingrid V. Sils
Published by The Compete Sportsman.



Forgotten Flies
When Forgotten Flies arrived last week, I pretty much lost the day. It was a work day. But I just couldn't help myself. As I turned each page, and said outloud, "WOW" JC eventually went outside to get away from it all. That may sound like an overstatement. It is not.

The quality of Forgotten Flies in every way one can judge a very fine book is there. From paper quality to the outstanding photography this is terrific! Add to that, real content!

Complete Sportsman Catalog The premise for the book begins with, quoting the catalog, "During the first half of the twentieth century, a small and dedicated number of craftsmen and women worked to vitalize the art of fly tying in America. Their names now read like a checklist of who's who in fly-fishing: John Harrington Keane, Mary Orvis Marbury, and Herb Welch. They were soon joined by others, including Carrie Frost, Theodore Gordon, Lewis Rhead, Carrie Stevens, Charles DeFeo, Preston Jennings, and Ray Bergman. Regardless of their age or gender, these tiers shared characteristics that made them a new and active core at the center of the trade. They quietly worked at the bench and, to varying degrees, were all involved in revitalizing or generating ideas and, teaching or sharing their concepts with others. In their time, they were successful far beyond normal expectations and enjoyed every-widening reputations and influence. Unfortunately what happened next is a phenomenon that transpires all too frequently in history. Their work simply went out of fashion.

There have been hundreds, even thousands, of early amateur tiers who were never achnowledged for their contributions to American fly tying. We have selected five individuals to represent those untold craftsmen who left collections of dressings that were forgotten or scattered for decades. This book, therefore, is dedicated to these undiscovered and forgotten flies."

Each of the five individuals chosen to be covered in Forgotten Flies has their own section, with a biography with wonderful photographs, (most from family collections) and the flies. Tons of flies, each in glorious color, each very large to show complete detail - with the recipe! The featured tiers are Ray Bergman, Charles DeFeo, Preston J. Jennings, Mary Orvis Marbury and Carrie Gertrude Stevens. The history is wonderful, the photos are wonderful, the flies . . . what a marvelous contribution to the fly fishing world!

By the way, you can get your own copy of the Catalog shown above, with excerpts and photos from the book, by sending an email to The Complete Sportsman. Please let them know you found Forgotten Flies on FAOL!

Both books

We have a copy of The Fly Tiers Benchside Reference which is a great instructional book. When it came out there were some negative comments on the price. Since it is now in it's third or fourth printing I guess the price was not that much of an issue. Just for comparison, I asked JC to photograph it along side Forgotten Flies. I wanted you to have an idea of the magnitude of Forgotten Flies.

Both books open The other point I want to make is the size of the fly photographs. On the left you see the same two books, open for comparison. The photos are not actual size of course, but it gives a good idea of what you have to work with. I have to admit I had JC weigh Forgotten Flies. It weighs over eleven pounds!

If it isn't obvious, I am thilled with Forgotten Flies. It is absolutely wonderful! It is NOT available through the internet booksellers. It is available in some book and fly shops, and you can order it directly from the publisher, which is also the author Paul Schmookler. ~ DB

Forgotten Flies
500 plus pages, 11" x 14; full color
Hard Cover: $110.00 US
ISBN 1-886961-03-4
Published by The Complete Sportsman.

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