Stu Farnham

June 24th, 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


Three Short Reviews

The Fly Fisher's Illustrated Dictionary

The Fly Fisher's Illustrated Dictionary

by Darrel Martin
Hardcover: 292 pages
1 edition (September 1, 2000)
Publisher: The Lyons Press
ISBN: 1585740535

Darrel Marin is the master of fly fishing and fly tying minutiae, both in size (he wrote the book Micropatterns, which I covered in an earlier column) and in detail. Here he has tapped his broad and deep knowledge of the details of fly tying to produce an entertaining and informative book.

The book is organized alphabetically covering topics from 'Advanced Wing' through 'Z-Twist.' Want to know about the Greenwell of Greenwell's Glory? You'll find the information here. Looking for a short history of the type of fly called a spider? That's here too.

You can use this book as a reference, or for entertainment. Leave it by your reading chair, pick it up now and then, open to a random page, and read. You'll be both informed and entertained.

Fly-Tying Tips & Reference Guide Fly-Tying Tips & Reference Guide
by Dick Stewart
Paperback: 143 pages
3rd edition (February 1999)
Publisher: Countryman Press
ISBN: 0936644222

Here's the print counterpart to the weekly 'Tying Tips' here on FAOL. Dick Stewart, best known as the co-author with Farrow Allen of the "Flies for..." series of pattern books, has assembled a book full of useful tips to help you tie better, save money, and solve a whole range of tying problems.

Stewart's tidbits are seldom more than a paragraph or two long. He organizes them into chapters on topics including storage and organization, tools, materials, dubbing, weighting flies, and a number of others. The book is a gold mine of ideas not found in any book on patterns or tying techniques. These are the sort of tricks one accumulates over a lifetime of tying and fishing flies.

Hooks for the Fly Hooks for the Fly
by Bill Schmidt
Paperback: 119 pages
(September 2000)
Publisher: Stackpole Books
ISBN: 081172803X

Want to find a 4XL 1XH nymph hook? Does the recipe in front of you specify a Kamasan hook, when all your local fly shop carries is Dai Riki? This is the book for you. Bill Schmidt has put together the definitive book on modern fly hooks. Schmidt starts with a chapter describing the basics about hooks: bends, eyes, shanks, and spears. He also bemoans a problem which he must have felt more acutely than the rest of us when putting this book together: the lack of standardization across manufacturers.

The bulk of the book comprises a set of tables, one for each of the major (and some of the minor) manufacturers of hooks for flies active at the time the book was written in 2000, from Daiichi through VMC. For each manufacturer, there is a table cross-referencing that manufacturer's hooks with the corresponding hooks, if any, made by the others. There is also a table describing the important characteristics of each hook model: model number, intended use, wire stoutness, shank length, eye type, bend, finish, barb type, point type, common name, available sizes, and any special remarks worthy of note. Pictures of each hook are also provided. ~ 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. 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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