BOOK REVIEW – The Fly Tying Artist by Rick Takahashi

| December 19, 2018

Working Backward – Book Reviews in Waiting

One recent book I received for review is “The Fly Tying Artist – Creative Patterns for Common Hatches,” by Rick Takahashi. I have to admit, I do get a bit excited when a large book with the word “Artist” in the title shows up in the mail. 

So many times fly fishing writers (as opposed to artists) fall victim to their own prose, falling (my opinion) down a dark hole of trying to pile as many elaborate and floral descriptions to the sport as will fit on the page. And once they start down that path, the path most often taken, they dig deeper and deeper into their own word trips and rarely resurface.

On the other side of the coin, there are the fly fishing experts who dive so deeply into the science of fly fishing – be it bugs, casting or habitat – they forget to bring the human side along for the write. My eyes glass over, and one bug begins to look like another. Or, one sad stream illustration leads to another. So many of this genre are waiting for video to move in and do 

Not so with a fly tying or artist oriented book on fly fishing. The fly tying books occupy a special place in my library. Let’s just call it a “high use” spot where I can go to them and search for a fly I want to tie, or ideas on tying something that’s occupying my imagination. The art oriented books are fuel for my fires. Thirty years a photographer, I will admit I am still turned on by the visual mores than the written. No, no, no that’s okay, keep reading …

Takahashi does a great job of the “why” to tie a particular family of flies, weaving stories into beginnings of chapters – success stories that, without the flies you are about to see, would never have happened.

One chapter that could have easily been left out, just because I spend a lot more time on the genre, is the chapter on bass flies. Catching the green trout is something we do so much of down South that we who are here have a better handle on the flies for our green monsters. 

Setting the localism aside, Takahashi’s book is one for your library BECAUSE fly tying books are always a solid investment, and there are times when you may be going exactly where he has been and what better way is there to get insights than from someone who’s been there and done it? I have never been a big fan of the pasty blue background for photographing flies though. I think it detracts from the design and is a color that does absolutely nothing to help a tier discern tying detail.

Spend a little extra time on the chapter “GO2” fly series. I see a lot of practical use for that group of patterns.

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Category: Book Reviews

About the Author () is where to find my other day job. I write and photograph fish stories professionally, and for free here! Journalist by training. This site is for telling true fishing news stories, unless otherwise noted.

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