WTB this book on tying techniques

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by Allison, Nov 11, 2007.

  1. nb_ken Member

    Posts: 514
    North Bend, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +6 / 0
    I think Davy's point was that buying an expensive reference book isn't really going to address any of the problems you mentioned here.

    You need to go slow. Find one simple fly and master it. Say a soft hackle. That fly is fairly easy to tie and the materials are cheap. You won't feel bad about throwing away the disasters.

    Over the course of a few days, tie up a dozen soft hackles on a relatively large hook. If you're not happy with the results, tie up another dozen. When you get comfortable with the pattern, tie up a dozen more on a smaller hook.

    Pretty soon you'll be able to tie up 2 or 3 in a row that look ... well ... damned good. Your thread control will get better. You'll get comfortable working with dubbing. You'll understand proportion and what happens if it goes bad. You'll learn how to tie in hackle, make a thread head and learn to use a whip finisher. None of this will happen after the first fly and you still won't be a master tier after 30 or 40 flies. But you will have an incredibly better understanding of the craft.

    Once you get comfortable with one pattern, pick another. Say a hare's ear nymph or woolly bugger. You'll find that 75% of the skills you picked up with the first pattern will carry over directly to the next pattern. Tie up a dozen. Tie up 2 dozen.

    Keep going. Every pattern has its own little idiosyncrasies, but once you learn some basic techniques, dealing with the details becomes a lot easier. Owning the Benchside Reference won't give you those basic skills.

    Someone mentioned Morris, et al's 'Fly Tying Made Clear and Simple.' That book gives an excellent progression of patterns that let you build up that basic set of skills. Get comfortable with each pattern before moving on to the next. If you do that, when you get to the end, you'll be a competent fly tier. Might take all winter, but if you really want to learn to tie, that's not too much time.
  2. Tim Cottage Formerly tbc1415

    Posts: 1,686
    Outer Duvall
    Ratings: +244 / 1
    My two cents
    Buy the book.
    It is precisely because of the previously mentioned "hundreds of techniques described in excrutiating detail" that it is such a valuable resource.
    You alone will be the filter that determines what to use and what to disregard for another day.

  3. Allison Banned or Parked

    Posts: 829
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I have an electronic copy now. I also have Skip Morris's book and a Dave Hughes book that Kent suggested.

    nb_ken, I probably overstated my incompetence a bit. I'm not that bad, I just don't have all the moves down yet.
  4. Norseman1 Spey Fishing the Mighty Columbia......

    Posts: 248
    BC, Canada
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Hi Allison.

    I have been tying since I was 7 yrs old....that was 40 yrs ago now. I have a copy and I still like to thumb through it occasionally. There is a lot there that keeps me thinking outside the box, and that is what I like about the book. It makes me look at a lot of materials, fly tying and fabric store type things in a different way......hmmmm what else can I use that material for. For instance. Organza ribbon. Cut on edge off, pick out the cross weave and you have an incredible material for ribbing a fly and making it look like gills, or even some very cool looking palmering.

    At any rate. If you are in the Seattle area and want a bit of a road trip , there will be a very large number of us tying at the Ellensburg FFF on May 3rd this next year. It is a great little show with many very TALENTED tiers. You say you are a visual learner.....me too, show me once and I have it...read it and it takes forever to sink in. So go to the show and bring your camera and camcorder...you will flatten the learning curve considerably.

  5. pittendrigh Active Member

    Posts: 305
    Ratings: +51 / 0
    I recently paid $200 for a copy of "The Master Fly Weaver"
    by George Grant. Is the book worth that much?
    No, not even close. But I needed the book and I'm glad to have it.
    I'm working on a short history of woven flies in Montana
    (Pott, Wombacher, Grant and Tom McIntyre, etc) and I needed this
    book. So "is it worth it" is context sensitive....depends not only
    on who you are, but when and why.

    I don't have the Benchside Reference either. I wish I did.
    50-75 bucks doesn't sound like that much for a good thing.
  6. Mike Etgen Not Quite A Luddite, But Can See One From Here

    Posts: 1,433
    Port Orchard, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0

    I hadn't opened this thread for a look until this evening, and have no personal knowledge of "The Fly Tyer's Benchside Reference to Techniques and Dressing Styles."

    However, the Skip Morris book that is mentioned ("Fly Tying Made Clear and Simple") is one that I have and used a great deal when I was starting out, and one I'd be happy to lend you for a look and test drive until and when you decide what to do about your real question. It would be great to have someone get some use from it for a while.

    Let me know if you'd have any interest.

    Edit...Oops...didn't see the second page of posts. You've already got it. My bad.

    If anyone else out there would like to take me up on the same offer (the Skip Morris book) , I'd be happy to hear from you. This would be a borrow - I do want to hold on to it in the long run.
  7. FishMonkey Fish On!

    Posts: 16
    Olympia, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Buy the book already:) You'll be much happier, and it really does have excellent pictures of different techniques. I saw it used on amazon for 45.00.

    Fish On!
  8. qrider13 Member

    Posts: 46
    pasco, wa
    Ratings: +0 / 0

    I just opened this thread tonight. Most books have bits and pieces that are worthy of reading and following. One of the things that I like much better than books are dvd's. There is a show we get from WSU-tv on fly tying, and the videos are for sale. I really enjoy the format as it has two tyers being critical of one another, and offering hints as one of them is tying. Old show is two guys, one from Lewiston and the other from Pullman. New shows are the Lewiston guy and a lady from Spokane. I personally find this way much more useful than books.
  9. cabezon Sculpin Enterprises

    Posts: 1,713
    Olympia, WA
    Ratings: +237 / 0
    I love the Benchside Reference. BUT, it is not the place for a relatively new tier to master skills. The Skip Morris books and similar (I love Shane Stalcup's Mayflies "Top to Bottom") and DVDs/Videos are far more focused on showing you the steps necessary to develop fundamental skills. Follow those recipes and you will produce, eventually, very nice functional flies.

    I see the Benchside Referece as having two values. First, if you are following a recipe for something outside the norm, say a woven-body fly, it can show you how to tie it, sometimes several ways to tie it. The other use is to browse as a source of inspiration for producing unique flies. It shows dozens of ways of producing bodies, another mountain of strategies for producing wings or trailing shucks or whatever. That is a huge diversity of possible flies. Mix and match to produce that killer fly that the educated trout has never seen before.

  10. Buzzby New Member

    Posts: 19
    Jefferson, NH
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Hi Allison,
    Your initial thread indicates that you've already made up your mind to purchase the book: good for you. Follow your instincts, locate one you can afford, and buy it. Indulge in your hobby. You shouldn't have to justify to anyone why you need it. Books, no matter how often they're used, are wonderful things.
    Perhaps my pro-book comments are influenced by my being over 60, educated in a non-electronic era, and used books as entertainment, education, and mind traveling.
    I own a signed first edition copy of that book, the Rare and Unusual books, and many others. Even if you only use it a few times a year, it will always be there, provide answers, and appreciate in value. It is, afterall, the combination of the experience of two fine tyers.
    There are too few lady tyers. Keep at it.
  11. Les Johnson Les Johnson

    Posts: 1,590
    .Redmond, WA
    Ratings: +6 / 0
    We keep a Benside Reference in our tying room. While we don't crack it all that often, it has proven useful at times. Some folks likely to not feel that it is worth the money. That is a personal opinion and budget issue.
    Les Johnson