ASF Sustaining Member
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Upper latitudes of the Western Hemisphere
Tying Flies with Foam, Fur, and Feathers
It's been an age since I have been on SP, much has changed. Been busy with work-related things and our somewhat recent hobby involving raising heritage breed ducks and geese for eggs, meat, and feathers. At any rate, now that the weather here has crept out of winter, I have been perusing my vast library of fly angling and tying literature. A friend who has chronic pain issues has expressed an interest in fly fishing as a means to get his mind off of his troubles, and I will be indoctrinating him with a two-handed rod and the underhand casting technique in the next few days. As part of his "therapy", I'm also suggesting that he consider tying as a means of focusing on something other than the pain. We're in trout country, a short drive from the Delaware Water Gap, and I can think of no better set of productive patterns to introduce a novice to than those of Harry Steeves. He had two books published on terrestrial patterns; the one that I find most useful is Tying Flies with Foam, Fur, and Feathers. While I thoroughly enjoy coming up with my own streamer and salmon-type patterns (traditional and modern) for migratory salmonids and predatory species (freshwater and marine), I find Harry's terrestrial patterns to be pragmatic, that is easy to tie and effective on trout and panfish. Towards the end of the book are a handful of patterns which some salmon and steelhead anglers will recognize as having characteristics not unlike those of some dry or damp patterns; I've used some of his patterns as leaping off points for creations that produced some rises and a couple of takes from fish in the Gaspesie, and also in Chile.
This particular book is loaded with full-color photography, very nearly in step-by-step sequence for each pattern presented (the DVDs that show Harry actually tying many of these patterns are well worth owning). Of course, actually seeing Harry tie a few of these in person is helpful if you have specific questions that are not covered in the videos or in the book. At any rate, this is another of Stackpole's series on fly tying, and the format will be familiar if you own any of the other titles that they have published in the past twenty years. I believe that I paid something like $20 for it; I was fortunate enough to meet Harry at the annual fly fishing show in Somerset many years ago, and he was kind enough to autograph it for me (along with adorning it with an illustration of one of his ant patterns, drawn in ball point pen).
In summary, this is a title well worth owning for those who are not purists and are, instead, just interested in the pursuit of finned quarry with an effective and simple fly knotted to your tippet.