Sunday, April 4, 2010

Fishing Flies - An Encyclopaedia

By Malcolm Greenhalgh & Jason Smalley
Published by Harper Collins Publishers, London
Available from Coch-y-Bonddu Books

When I first started tying way back in the dark ages, well, the early 1960s, one of the must-have fly pattern books was A Dictionary of Trout Flies by A. Courtney Williams, first published in 1949 and went through a lot of editions. What was so different about the Dictionary was that with each pattern there was a short history of that pattern and who was responsible for developing it. It gave a tormented beginner like I was, in those days, a lot of the information.

Living in Australia we were starved of this sort of information. The truth was, I could easily afford those E. Veniard booklets and they were cheap but books, I had to save for. For me the Dictionary was my fly tying bible. Then came Flies by J. Edson Leonard, first published in 1950, with over 2000 fly patterns and what an eye-opener that was! I still have two editions of that work. Unfortunately for me this work did not appear in our book shops over here until the early 1970s. Just the same, I fumbled with every page over and over again, trying to soak up all that it was hidden within those 340 pages.

So, let's fast forward. A couple of years ago, after attending the British Fly Fair, Ole Bjerke, Mustad (ex Partridge) and I were invited to lunch at the home of Malcolm Greenhalgh. Well, there I was trying to eat this magnificent meal that Malcolm and his wife had prepared but I was so ill with a stunning British cold, that I was unable to finish it all. Really, I should have been in bed.

Out of that delightful luncheon there was an offer to participate in Malcolm's new book, Fishing Flies, which is, in all honesty, an encyclopaedia of fly patterns that Malcolm has gleaned from around the world over his extensive career as a fly fishing/fly tying author. The work contains some 1300 patterns, with a small photograph of each one.

What is different about this book is that it is not only a terrific reference work but that the flies have been sorted into categories such as North Country Spiders, Midge patterns, Stoneflies, Shrimps and so on. In all there are fifteen different categories, so if you are looking for fly patterns to represent say Mayflies or Upwings, as they are called today, this work has a whole chapter listing a reference source that would cover just about all of the patterns one would need to carry on a world trip. A great buy and at 30 quid, it won't break the bank.

Australia is well represented with patterns by yours truly, the late Warryn Germon, Ray Brown and John Rumpf.

The late Warryn Germon

Ray Brown, Tasmania

Unfortunately, I don't have a current pic of John Rumpf. Internationally, the other contributors are Stuart Bowdin, who tied most of the dry flies, Paul Little, who tied all of the salmon flies and Terry Jenner tied all of the salt water flies.

Other guests are: Dave Bell, Brian Burnett, the late Al Coen, Howard Croston, Oliver Edwards, Lawrence Finney, Wendy Gibson, Peter Greenhalgh, Les Gregory, Mick Hall, Geoff Haslam, Chris Helm, Chris Hosker, Ed Jaworowski, Peter Joest, the late Paul Jorgensen, Ian Kennedy, Torril Kolbu, Ted Malone, Ken Maylor, Robert McHaffie, Steve Munn, Dick Nelson, Wally Nowak, Steve O'Dea of Donegal Flies, Marc Petitjean, Bob Popovics, Terry Ruane, Roger Salomonsson, Riny Sluiter, Mikko Stenberg, Paul van den Driesche, Chris Wadmore, Bar Woodall and Terenzio Zandri.

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