Autumns on the Spey (pdf) - Spey Pages
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-02-2009, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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Autumns on the Spey (pdf)

My own inclination is to go to the original sources whenever possible, and so I was looking for a copy of Knox's Autumns on the Spey. Low and behold I discovered that Google books has scanned a copy and has made it available online, you can download a pdf and print it out yourself.

Autumns on the Spey, By Arthur Edward Knox

I hope this is not old news, I did a quick search of the forums to see if anyone else had pointed this out and did not find it. Now I'm curious what other gaps in my fishing library might be filled in this same way.

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Jim
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-02-2009, 12:21 PM
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very cool.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-02-2009, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
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I will point out that pages 3-11 of the pdf are blank and the title page appears on page 12 of the pdf file. The chapter Spey Flies and Wading Gear is on pages 82-98 of the pdf with the patterns described on pages 88-91.

Jim
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-03-2009, 02:22 AM
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Although this is a great read that is full of very useful information, it isn't the only original source on spey flies, it is just the first one only on tying and fishing them. Check out Francis Francis's book for a much more complete listing of the old spey flies. And Francis's book is from the same time as Knox's, but Francis covers far more flies, tackle, and goes into good depth on how to tie various styles of salmon flies. I own both of these books along with many others.

For those serious about increasing their knowledge and libraries of books on salmon flies, Fly Fisherman's Classic Library is hands down the best source. They offer superb, leartherbound, printed on acid-free paper reprints of a huge number of the old classic salmon and trout books. Their editions are not cheap with most running in the neighborhood of $100.00-$150.00, but they are well worth the money. Just google them up.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-04-2009, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Flytyer,
Thanks for the suggestion on the Francis Francis title. There are a few titles by him available on Google books for free download. Not sure which one you were referring to. Here's one:

A Book on Angling: Being a Complete Treatment on the Art of Angling in Every ...
By Francis Francis


I obviously should have put this into the Misc forum under the Books topic, I would move it if I knew how. Perhaps someone else can.

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Jim
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-08-2009, 01:12 AM
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Jim,

This is the Francis Francis book I was speaking about. Keep in mind his illustrations were done with pen and ink, they aren't true reproductions of a tied fly. There is some artistic license taken in them, but you can get a good idea of the style and overall form of the flies used at that time. And in the Salmon section of the book, he has several hundred fly dressings listed by the river they were commonly used on at the time. Back then, it was incorrectly assumed that for the most part only certain flies worked on a specific river.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-08-2009, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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Kelson too!

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Jim,
This is the Francis Francis book I was speaking about. Keep in mind his illustrations were done with pen and ink, they aren't true reproductions of a tied fly. There is some artistic license taken in them, but you can get a good idea of the style and overall form of the flies used at that time. And in the Salmon section of the book, he has several hundred fly dressings listed by the river they were commonly used on at the time. Back then, it was incorrectly assumed that for the most part only certain flies worked on a specific river.
I have a fairly extensive library of flyfishing titles of my own but have never focused on the salmon fishing literature. Although for me an online copy does not replace having a real book, this is a great resource since the books are free and searchable, much better than an index. You can add books to a "library" and share them with others. I have found 36 titles of interest to me, you can see the ones I've collected in my library.

I have been perusing Kelson and think it is the best so far and it is also available for full viewing.

The salmon fly: how to dress it and how to use it‎
George M. Kelson - 1895 - 510 pages


Interestingly, none of Skues titles are available for full download and neither is Jock Scott's Greased Line Fishing for Salmon. I would have thought the copyrights would have expired on these as well but perhaps they get renewed when the book is reprinted, or perhaps Google simply hasn't gotten around to scanning in copies yet.

Best,
Jim
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-08-2009, 08:03 PM
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Thanks for this thread. I went on Amazon.com and found that you can buy it reprinted either in softcover or hard cover. Copies of "Autumns on the Spey" in hardcover are $22.99. I am half way through it now.

Be Responsible, have all your Steelhead speyed
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-10-2009, 02:01 AM
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Jim,

I agree with you on Kelson. I think his is the best of the salmon fly and salmon fishing books from the 19th and early 20th century. It is full of great info on tying, fly patterns, tackle, and salmon fishing (which is directly applicable to steelhead too). He was one of the greats and it is easy to see after reading his SALMON FLY...., why he was the editor of a prominent salmon fishing magazine of the his day.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-10-2009, 12:04 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flytyer View Post
Jim,

I agree with you on Kelson. I think his is the best of the salmon fly and salmon fishing books from the 19th and early 20th century. It is full of great info on tying, fly patterns, tackle, and salmon fishing (which is directly applicable to steelhead too). He was one of the greats and it is easy to see after reading his SALMON FLY...., why he was the editor of a prominent salmon fishing magazine of the his day.
Reading Shewey, his claim to the effect that Kelson was incorrigible was a teaser. I have been reading Shewey spottily and and have not run across any stories about Kelson to back this up, do you know what he is referring to? Elsewhere I have seen that when Kelson's book was released he was accused by another prominent angler of the time of taking credit for patterns that were not his own. Do you know if that's what Shewey is referring to?

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Jim
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-13-2009, 11:26 PM
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Jim.

Kelson was an excellent angler and superb fly tyer. He was also quite vocal when someone challenged him or began writing or telling others that there was only one way to catch salmon. He was also well-educated and when combined with his penchant for simply telling it like it was even if the hearer or reader got offended didn't sit well with the politeness expected of well-educated men of his era. Needless to say, this didn't endear him to some.

Additionally, he didn't suffer fools, or those who hadn't all the experience fishing for and catching salmon or tying salmon flies that he did, well at all. He had a penchant for simply telling them they didn't know what they were talking about, which didn't gain him any friends either. For example, although he listed a huge number of fly dressings in his book, he himself stated throughout that he only used a few dozen in his own fishing. And he committed one of the major sins of the era, he used flies designed for one particular river on other rivers and caught salmon doing so.

He was excluded from participating in and entering salmon flies in some major tying competitions after his falling out with Marlow. And since Marlow was a publisher, he used his publishing company to in effect black-ball Kelson. Kelson wasn't excluded because he was not a world-class tyer at the time, he was excluded simply because the major sponsor didn't want him to participate.

One of his best friends and angling companions was Major Traherne, a consumate gentlemen, excellent fisher, fly tyer, and creator of the Traherne series of rather complicated and difficult to tie flies. If you read his book, you find he gives credit to who originated the pattern, if he knew. And you will also find much very useful information on fishing for salmon and what works and his opinion on what doesn't. You will also find that a lot of the stuff written about him over the years since his death that he supposedly wrote is pure make believe.

In my opinion, there has been much published over the years about how Kelson was a boorish rogue and bully, but I strongly suspect this is the result of folks simply parroting what they read without really knowing much about the man himself. Personally, I would have loved to have met the man if for nothing else, his great knowledge of salmon angling and salmon fly tying.

I also rank his book as the most important one on salmon flies and salmon fishing. I think the next most important one on salmon flies is Price-Tannat's book. Hale is a great book on tying, but I'd rank it third in importance of books on salmon flies. Hale along with Hardy has a huge number of dressings. But Kelson's bood predated theirs and their books (Hale's first edition didn't have all those flies in it, they were added to editions after Hardy's book was published) include all the flies Kelson lists. And the next most important one a salmon fishing and salmon flies is Traverner. I'm sure some will disagree with me on this, but that's fine and of no real consequence.

Before someone takes offense at not including Blacker, his was a great book, still is, but it is not easy to understand his tying instructions. This I'm convinced is the direct result of two things: 1) Blacker didn't want to tell everyone how he did things in order to protect his professional tying interests; and 2) the editor altering some of his language before it was printed. Blacker was not a well-educated man, so I'm sure his writing was in dire need of editing. Unfortunately, I doubt if the editor knew much if anything about tying married wing flies resulting in some odd directions that would serve to greatly confuse folks unless they had some experience tying married wing flies.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-14-2009, 12:06 AM
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brilliant! thank you
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-21-2009, 10:45 PM Thread Starter
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Kelson the great.

Flytyer,

Thanks for the detailed reply on my question about Kelson. I'm thinking that I need hard copies now (of Kelson and Price-Tannet at least) ... though I think a Blue Eared pheasant skin might come first. I'm in Portland and I went to Powell's today, there we no copies of either.

Best,
Jim
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-22-2009, 01:19 AM
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Jim,

I got my copy of Kelson from Fly Fisherman's Classic Library, which is located in the UK. It was a bit spendy at about $180.00 US, but it is a great leather bound, printed on acid-free paper reprint. I consider it a great value for the price. They also have Price-Tannat reprinted along with several others, including Blacker. A quick Googling will get you to them.
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