Stu Farnham

July 8th, 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


Tying Flies the Paraloop Way

Tying Flies the Paraloop Way

Ian Moutter
Hardcover: 191 pages (April 2002)
Publisher: Countryman Press
ISBN: 0881505544

For the last nine years my home waters have been the stretch of Oregon's Deschutes River between Warm Springs and Trout Creek. The Deschutes is famous for its spring salmonfly hatch, as well as for hosting a summer steelhead run alongside a native strain of feisty rainbow trout known locally as redsides. The fame of the river, along with its proximity to the city of Portland, brings heavy fishing pressure to the river.

As a result of that pressure, Deschutes redsides tend to be wary fish, growing more wary as the season progresses. That wariness has led me to favor flies that present different profiles from the usual parachutes, comparaduns, and elk hair caddises. Look into my flyboxes and you'll find funnelduns, dancing caddis, and paraloop flies along with more standard fare.

Author Ian Moutter

The paraloop style of tying evolved at more or less the same time in several places. At the same time that U.K. tier Ian Moutter was experimenting with the paraloop style, Californian Bill Quigley was inventing his hackle stacker dun and, Jim Cramer and Ned Long were using similar patterns in their tying. Moutter's Tying Flies the Paraloop Way describes the evolution of his variant of the style.

The dominant feature of a paraloop fly is the wing. After constructing a body using whatever method and material the tier prefers, hackle is wrapped around an upright post in a manner similar (but not identical) to wrapping a parachute hackle. A robust thorax is added, and the hackle-wrapped post is pulled down and forward over the thorax. The resulting profile suggests both splayed legs and fluttering wings above the thorax.

When I first received Moutter's book, I wondered if a single style of tying could fill an entire volume. The answer, in this case, is yes. Moutter provides basic information on techniques tying paraloops, followed by specific applications for traditional dry flies, emergers, buzzers (midges here in the US), and spent wing patterns. He also acknowledges the ork of Long, Cramer, et al in a chapter titled "The Paraloop in the Hands of Others". Ian closes the book with a gallery of paraloop patterns including several innovative applications of the technique.

Overall, this is a good book that will allow you to add another style to your tying arsenal. My only complaint is that the chapters on tools and materials contain very little that is either new or directly related to the tying of paraloop flies. Moutter will send you rummaging through your box of little used tying equipment to find that gallows tool you bought but never use. You learned to tie parachutes without it, but, believe me, you can't tie a paraloop without one. ~ 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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