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> > Book Review: Tying Small Flies

DarkknightApril 12th, 2007, 2:07 pm
Longview, TX

Posts: 1

Title: Tying Small Flies
Price: $34.95
Format: hardcover
Pages: 240 pages
ISBN: 0-8117-0082-8
Photos: 300 color photos
Publisher: Stackpole Books

Now, everyone likes to be on their favorite trout water and see a large size 14 or 12 dry fly being slammed by a gorgeous brown trout. Who wouldn’t?

But in most situations that is not the case when fishing more heavily fished rivers such as the San Juan River or the South Platte River. This is where this book shines. Mr. Engle’s approach to tying smaller flies to catch more fish solves this problem.

“Tying Small Flies” breaks it down for you in describing the hooks, materials and tools that are used, as well as, describing the different types of flies that can be tied to imitate these smaller insects. This book is filled with step by step instructions in tying some of the most popular small flies, with the highest quality pictures depicting each step of the tying process.

It may be difficult for you to imagine fishing or even tying flies is sizes 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30 and yes, even the ultimate in small, size 32. For those that were worried about the infamous size 32, Mr. Engle has set aside a chapter specifically to cover this topic.

Mr. Engle’s philosophy is to tie simple flies that are durable and will catch fish. This is made even clearer with his section on tying midges. This book shows how important midge larvae are to any one who fishes the San Juan River. Ed shows some of the more effective patterns of San Juan River guide Gary Willmart. Although, Willmart ideal spooks in his words the “pretty boy” fly tiers, he shows how easy they are to tie using his simple techniques with emphasis on tying thread flies, which work.

These and many other classic patterns are covered, as well as, fishing techniques used and the history behind the small flies. All in all, this is a great book for anyone who enjoys tying or learning more about the small flies that these imitations mimic.

Overall Rating (1-5 with 1 being "horrible" and 5 being "outstanding"): 4 out of 5

Review brought to you by Terry Will March 20, 2007. Terry is a web developer for Neiman Marcus and NOT affiliated with any fly fishing company. When not spending time with his family you will find him usually hip deep fly fishing for Rainbows and Browns in the Lower Mountain Fork River tail waters just outside of Broken Bow, OK.
"Many men go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after"
Henry David Thoreau

SayfuOctober 5th, 2012, 9:59 am
Posts: 560
My approach in those tough situations, and anglers going quite small is to strip a sizable Woolly Bugger in front of them. Take it, or leave it! Not really. This is my small fly time of the year, and I always wonder now that I am 70 if my eyes will let me down, or are my nerves good enough.
EntomanOctober 5th, 2012, 3:13 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Ha! Very funny, Jere. I find myself having to drop tiny flies off the back of larger dries more and more as my eyes lose their acuity. This is not necessarily optimal as this can introduce subtle drag issues because the two flies are often in opposition to each other on subtly different currents. You have to do what you have to do, I guess...

I've said this before, but personally, I draw the line at TMC model 500U in size 22 (shank equiv. #24 - #26). Tying flies on hooks smaller isn't the issue but hooking/holding fish is. I readily admit we have some really good anglers on the forum that do go super tiny (Gutcutter,etc.) with good success and enjoy the challenge. Perhaps it's the larger waters/fish we deal with out West Jere, but I don't have much confidence in hooks that are smaller than the trout's teeth, let alone the spider web you need to use for tippet!:)
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
SayfuOctober 5th, 2012, 3:52 pm
Posts: 560It is the larger fish, and in heavier water for me on the SF. I draw the line at a #18, and then choose to tie on the caddis/pupa hooks with a wider gape, and a shorter shank. I also never go below 5x for tippet.
EntomanOctober 5th, 2012, 4:08 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Yeah, same with me, though I will go down in size as mentioned above and as light as 7X on some spring creeks & ponds I fish. I had some excellent midge fishing this year over very large fish.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
GldstrmSamOctober 5th, 2012, 7:05 pm
Fairbanks, Alaska

Posts: 212
I saw this post title and was wondering if there is a specific area on here to post my reviews for fly tying books, or do I just do it in the fly tying section?


There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm. ~Patrick F. McManus
EntomanOctober 6th, 2012, 7:11 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Hi Sam -

Right here in Fly tying is probably the best place to review/discuss a fly tying book. You raise a good point, though. Perhaps a separate book review section in each of the categories (fishing, fly tying, entomology) would be a good idea. Jason?
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman

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