SFF LIBRARY FACTS AND INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE.
The SFF Library has a very extensive collection of fly fishing books and videos. We currently hold 304 books and 126 video cassettes, most of which have been updated to DVDs. The library has lent 107 books since its inception in late 2012. Meanwhile, members have also borrowed 35 videos since these became available in late 2014.
All materials held are available for member check out and use. Only SFF members may check out Library materials. It is the ongoing hope of the SFF Board and the Library staff that members will make maximum use of this wonderful resource.
Check-out procedures are simple and involve a simple manual card system. Members, prior to their first check-out, are asked to provide contact information and sign a simple agreement to adhere to check out procedures and stating that they understand any materials held longer than two months from check-out can result in a fine of ten cents per each overdue day. Please note that the Library staff will gladly extend check-out times upon request.
When you borrow a book or video, the librarian will stamp the check-out card with the due date and ask you to print your name on the card, beside the due date shown. For books, a card will also be stamped with the return due date and placed inside the front cover, for your reference.
Again, the Library is intended for the education and enjoyment of the membership. All members are encouraged to check out its materials.
BOOK OF THE MONTH
By: Larry Ray, Librarian
Tracing Fly Fishing’s History through Development of Its Flies. Has it ever occurred to you that fly fishing’s history could be traced through development of the flies themselves? Not until Ian Whitelaw’s
The History of Fly Fishing in Fifty Flies was donated to our Library did this occur to me. This volume proves that our history can be so revealed, making for delightful reading in the process.
Most of the fifty flies described are generally known to us all, making this exercise even more fascinating. The original “recipes” are provided for each. The first, the Stonefly, was tied on a “Handmade hook from a bent and tempered needle, with a hand-cut barb”. Also, the tippet was “Horse hair whipped to the hook”, as was usually the case before the advent of eyed hooks (a fairly recent development, having been pioneered by one H. S. Hall in the 1880’s with a suitable knot being developed by Major W.D. Turle as described in other parts of this book). Sorry for the digression, but this book will do that to you. Avoiding more of the same, I’ll just relay some of the facts contained in the narrative:
In about 200 BC an angling fly was described by the Roman Claudius Aelianus, who noted in On the Nature of Animals, “…in Macedonia there is a fly called a Hippouros that looks like a wasp.
Fisherman don’t try to use the fly as bate…”. Instead, they “… wrapped a hook with crimson red wool and attached two wax colored feathers from a cockerel’s throat” …
Palmered hackle flies appeared in as the 1600’s and were named for the caterpillar they originally tried to imitate, which in turn was named for pilgrims wandering throughout Europe in the middle
Dubbing was first described by Thomas Barker in 1651 (two years before the first edition of Walton’s The Compleat Angler) as in “if you make the grounds of Hogs-wooll, sandy, black, or white, or the wooll of a Bear, or of a two year old red Bullock, you must work all these grounds upon a waxed silk”.
Dubbing used in a specific pattern was first described by Charles Cotton in his recipe for the Green Drake thusly: “And then take your dubbing which is to make the body of your fly, as much as you think convenient, and holding it lightly, with your hook, betwixt the finger and thumb of your left hand, take your silk with the right, and twisting it betwixt the finger and thumb of that hand, the
dubbing will spin itself about the silk…”.
Dry fly fishing only became acceptable in the mid-1800’s. Before then, when a fish took a wet fly before it sank, it was generally considered to be coincidental. When, in 1865 Charles Ogden, using his Ogden’s Special (a stiffly palmered mayfly imitation) proved to an audience on the River Wye that
rising fish could be cast to and caught on winged and hackled, floating flies, shock grew to alarm that the method was so deadly it was banned on many waters for some time afterward.
Concurrent with the proven success of the stiff hackled “dry” flies, soft hackled spider ties also
became favored. In 1857 W.C. Stewart lauded his Stewart Black Spider (tied with a black starling soft body feather) “…As a means of capturing trout, we rank them higher than the winged imitations”. No less an authority than Mary Orvis Marbury concurred, stating “The spider hackle is the favorite pattern with Mr. W.C. Prime, who considers its action upon the water extremely lifelike”.
While the original Coachman pattern (peacock hurl body, brown hackle, and white quill wings) was dressed in England by Tom Bosworth, carriage driver to Queen Victoria, as was the variant Leadwing Coachman, the Royal Coachman was in fact tied and developed in America. Coachman patterns had crossed the Atlantic to be very favored by American anglers. John Haily, a fly shop owner and tyer in New York City, added the red silk band mid-body to prevent the fraying and unraveling of the
peacock hurl. When Mary Orvis Marberry, niece to Charles Orvis, showed the fly to her uncle, he is reputed to have dubbed it the Royal Coachman, as it was so splendidly dressed.
These are but a sample of the rich chronologies and anecdotes, tracking our sport from its origins through today, that fill The History of Fly Fishing in Fifty Flies. Find it in your SFF Library.
Two Ghosts of the Yellowstone. Beginning each month, as a kid, I used to run to the local “five and dime” to pick up the new editions of “the big three”, Field and Stream, Outdoor Life, and Sports Afield. One could read the various columns and stories by the noted outdoor authors of the day, such as Corey Ford, Grits Gresham, and Ted Trueblood, and dream. Foremost among those authors and columnists, to me, was Joe Brooks. Brook’s articles about fly fishing the Yellowstone and other fabled waters, like the Firehole and Madison, made for great bed-time reading. His style, so encouraging and easy to read,
still makes Joe one of the finest fly fishing instructors out there even now, 44 years after his passing in 1972. I have read about instances where he would genially approach complete strangers on the riverbank and offer to rebuild a faulty leader or offer other tips. He was also a marvelous story teller. Even his smiling photo, at the head of his Fishing Editor column in Outdoor Life, was grandfatherly and reassuring.
Lefty Kreh stated nobody has done more for modern fly fishing, both fresh and salt water, than Joe. Some refer to Brooks as The Father of Modern Fly Fishing.The SFFC has three of the nine books authored by Brooks. One, simply entitled Fly Fishing, was the first instructional manual I ever read on our art. If you ever need to reinforce your belief in fly fishing
methods, read his description in Fly Fishing of why they are simply the most effective. It is so logical, yet so calm and uncritical of other methods, that even the most ardent bait angler would read it and, I venture, not be offended. Meanwhile, in Trout Fishing, Brooks provides the most complete chronology of fly fishing history I have ever seen, tracing from the Roman Poet Martial, through Dame Julianna Berners and Walton, to Charles Cotton (whose estate Brooks actually visited
and on whose bench Brooks actually sat and wrote!), to the fishing of today. Trout Fishing should be read for this, if nothing else, but it is also a wonderful manual with beautiful photographic illustration that was probably ahead of its day.
Stories about fishing Yellowstone waters frequently referred to Dan Bailey and his remarkable Fly Shop in Livingston. Park waters were a mecca for fly fishing in the middle of the last century and Dan Bailey’s Fly Shop was the temple within the mecca. Bailey was from the east and met Lee Wulff there, fishing the waters of New York and Pennsylvania. Both liked to experiment in fly tying and Lee came up with a series of effective hair wing flies the floated well, making them visible in fast
water. Yes, those were the Wulff patterns, not named by Lee himself, but by Bailey, in deference to his friend and the quality of those patterns. Eventually, Bailey gravitated to Yellowstone because of it’s remarkable fishing and opened his shop. It soon became a legendary repository of the latest information and fishing tips for visiting anglers, tying innovation and the best flies, as well as the gathering place for people like Brooks and others. I, myself, finally got to visit in 1976, and it was just as described. The walls were lined with silhouettes of trophy brown trout. It was an honor to have such a silhouette of one’s catch placed on the wall. It should be noted that this was well before severe catch and release ethics really came into vogue and it was not considered a sin to keep a trophy catch. This was also when, for People like Brooks and Bailey, the ultimate trout trophy was the brown. Concern for the native cutthroat that were being displaced by introduced non-natives
would come later.
Mist on the River, by Bailey’s friend Charles Waterman, with a tribute by Wulff, isa remarkable chronicle of those days and is a must read for anyone wanting to study or reminisce over the fly fishing history of the area.
On the library’s business side, many thanks to those who generously supported the library by purchasing books at last month’s auction. Your generosity enabled us to raise $269.00 that will be used to update our collection. “Fishin’ Fred” Timms led the way with $110.00 in purchases! Thanks again to all who participated.
As this is the last review until fall, I want to thank the following for their support and encouragement of the library this past year: to Rick Newman and Joe Papenleur for their able assistance in maintenance of the storage unit; to Claude Kistler and the SFF board for its ongoing support and encouragement and, once again, to Linda Howe for the way she so magically fits all our work into the Barbless Flyer.
He may not turn a phrase as deftly as Thomas McGuane or Ernest Schweibert. He doesn’t write of consistent success or claim theexpertise to write instructively like, say, John Gierach or Joe Brooks. Neither does he get into the bugs as does Gary LaFontaine, Al Caucci, or even Brian Chann. What Nick Lyons does is talk to the reader in such a way as to convince him that they share common experience. Nick Lyons, through his writing, is every man (or, at least, every common fly fisher).
Remember when you were new to fly fishing and things went bad as often as they went well? When you were trying to wean yourself from bait and convince yourself that, if you stuck with it, you would eventually be more successful with your flies, even when the fish themselves seemed to be laughing at your efforts? Or, how about the times you tried to merge your fishing with other activities on family outings, only to have the whole experience suffer as a consequence? Lyons writes of such episodes and more, in a style that provokes the reader into recalling his own similar experiences and, aside from being entertained, being reassured that it all can, and has, happened to the best of us.
There is also humor, much of it self-effacing. In Confessions of a Fly Fishing Addict Lyons writes of fishing on an English chalk stream, hunting trout that his hosts (including John Goddard of the famous caddis tie) ably see but which he as yet cannot, while dealing with all the hide-bound streamside etiquette one would imagine in such a setting. Lyons discovers patience and self-control that enable him to attain a bit of success by the end of the day. However, the day’s journey is replete with bits of embarrassment and other humorous asides, some subtle and a few not so.
In Fishing Widows Lyons writes of those experiences, funny or not, which are all too real, and sometimes even threatening, to those of us who have had to balance family concerns with our own fishing lives. But there is more: This volume also describes the longing and hunger of an ardent angler trapped in the urban bowels of Manhattan and all that entailsregarding masses of people and professional concerns. Ever been stuck working in a city, living the city life, all the while yearning for the calming, emotional relief of the stream? Lyons discusses such stresses in a manner that evokes empathy from any of us who have been similarly challenged.
In The Seasonable Angler Lyons relates the lure of opening day or those similarly cooped up by winter in the city. A day when pent up anticipation pours forth to return one to the stream even though the rain and cold, and resulting turgid water,
finally drive fishing buddies under a blanket in the shelter of the beater station wagon that barely got them there and may not get them home.
Lest one think that Lyons can only write the dramatic story line, Bright Rivers contains wonderful descriptive remembrances of waters fished from New England to Montana, with delightful stories in the more traditional fishing story vein most of us are used to.
In summary, it can be safely stated that Nick Lyons is as wonderfully reflective as any writer in the fly fishing writing genre. Should you choose to sample his writings by borrowing one orall of these books (all of which are held in your SFF Library!) you will find yourself identifying with so much of what he describes that you will feel as though you personally know this author.
Library Silent Auction. Please plan on supporting your SFF Library at the
April meeting by bringing money for the silent auction! Eighty-nine volumes,
with authors such as Caucci, Kreh, LaFontaine, McClane, and Ovington, are set
for auction! See the website for the list of titles that will be available.
The library will conduct a book sale during the April club meeting. See the website at spokaneflyfishers.com for a list of books offered for sale. There will be some real bargains with which to stock your own libraries.
Ladies in the Sport.
When I began fishing about sixty years ago in Alaska, where I grew up, I knew of no women who fished. Fishing and hunting, even where so commonplace, were still the purview of men. Ladies stayed home, maybe helped clean the fish and process the game, but hardly ever did they stray out to lake, stream, or field. Once, when Mom did join us on a local lake, I was embarrassed at her awkwardness.
My, but how things have changed! I, for one, applaud the change. A few, such as Carolyn Sells, Judy Kaufman and Mary Kovatch have been at it for a long time now and are respected practitioners of our art. At the next club meeting, observe how many women have joined as actual participants. The number seems to have risen to where it is no longer even remarkable (which, of course, is the ideal). Statistics support this observation – marketers to the fly fishing crowd now note that one in three is female. Its also true in other field sports. Last year over twenty apprentice falconers obtained licenses in this state – all female!
But where, then, if this is so, are the female fly fishing authors? Our club library holds remarkably few. A small number have written (or co-authored) guidebooks, such as Bev Miller (Lake Fly Fishing Guide) and Marie Morrison (Fishing Western Waters). And, as if to cling to the old cliché, Sylvia Bashline (Cleaning & Cooking Fish). Joan Wulff is mentioned in several instructional books for her casting prowess and teaching. But where are the books that really explore or convey the female
experience in fly fishing? Are they out there but not a part of our collection? Or, is there really a dearth of such reading?
Recently, when screening our catalogue for female authors, I found Cast Again by Jennifer Olsson. Here is a wonderful description of one lady’s experience in our sport that truly does provide a female perspective. Olsson began fly casting in a fly fishing family at a young age and eventually became a fly fishing instructor and guide in Western Montana. This book relates Jennifer’s dealings with such as the rich spouse who, out of sight of her husband, wants nothing to do with fishing and instead asks to go on a shopping spree to collect western outdoor wear! Or, when on her first trip guiding clients, she forgot her waders and had to fake it through by wading in lady’s jeans and stylish loafers! As can be anticipated, stories of guiding grizzled fishing veterans who demand results, along with raw rookies who are in need of careful instruction and nurturing, are long on apprehension andhumor. But there is so much more. Early on, a married Olsson describes a budding, serious
attraction to a Swede who is guiding her party on an exploratory trip to test Sweden’s fly fishing opportunities for women. One is then left to ponder if the attraction will reappear later and, if so, how?
Olsson’s discovery of split cane rods, and her description of her initial handling of one, could only have been written from female emotion. So, too, her feelings upon rediscovering her great grandfather’s fishing photo and the very same Pfleuger reels shown in that photo. At the end, a split cane rod becomes the centerpiece in the resolution of the quandary presented by the mutual attraction between her and the Swedish guide.
Cast Again is not at all technical and, like a novella, progresses very quickly once begun. The richness of Olsson’s descriptions from the feminine side provides a refreshing departure from male-dominated, fly fishing story telling. Check out Cast Again by Jennifer Olsson for an easy, yet revealing, heart-warming read.
By: Larry Ray
A Gift in Season. The SFF Library was fortunate, recently, to have received a substantial donation from Anita King. Included in the donation was a complete set of The Hunting & Fishing Library series. This series was issued over a period of years from about 1982 ‘til about 1987. Each of the eight volumes deals with a special fishing topic, as noted at the end of this review.
We fly fishers, at times, may think our methods are superior to those employed by others. Fly fishing, after all, enables us to more readily practice catch and release. Also, over time, our sport and art do seem to have taken on an air of sophistication. Yet, I think we can gain from observation of our brethren in the hardware and bait fishing sectors. By doing so some of us may recall, with fondness, simpler fishing time spent before we “advanced”. After all, did we all begin with a fly rod? We might even gain some knowledge of methods or practices that might be of benefit now. Ever troll a spoon or spinner behind a sinking fly line? Trust me, it works! The action imparted to the lure behind a fly line, unimpeded by lead weights, is probably superior to that created by other forms of trolling.
In this vein, the volume in this series entitled Fishing with Live Bait is a fascinating eye popper, beginning with the cover photo of wriggling “garden hackle” crawling in and around a Copenhagen can. Yet this is just an introduction to an incredibly interesting, diverse topic. The section, for example, on identifying and keeping various minnows alive displays a wonderful variety of species. Are there really that many kinds of minnows? It is also replete with advice such as “AVOID buying baitfish with damaged fins, red snouts or white, cottony patches wherever scales and slime have been rubbed off the fish. Bulging eyeballs and black heads are signs of disease…Missing scales indicate that baitfish have been handled too much”. Really? Bait fisherpersons actually have to pay attention to such concerns? The various hooks and strike indicators (bobbers) used are extensive and much more specialized than I’d realized. Then there is the entire chapter devoted to worms and leaches, with incredible photos of the same leeches (and others) we, as kids, used to pull off our bodies after visits to the local swimming holes. There is another chapter on catching and keeping of land insect larvae. Like, raiding beehives (yeah, right!) to obtain the wax worms that might be burrowed into the beeswax! This incredibly informative volume, like the en-tire series, is just loaded with wonderful color photography that aids in the instruction.
The series includes separate volumes entitled The Art of Freshwater Fishing, Cleaning and Cooking Fish (reviewed last month), Fishing with Artificial Lures, Panfish, Largemouth Bass and Smallmouth Bass (are you paying attention, Keegan?), and Walleye. Each is as well endowed with fantastic photography and detailed instruction as the one noted above. And, all are available in your SFF Library. So, take a break from the some-times intense and parochial reading about fly fishing and enjoy a literary detour into the worlds of fishing by other means. You’ll be highly entertained!
By: Larry Ray, Librarian
Cooking Your Catch. I once read that one of the pleasures of fishing with Charles Ritz, the great fly fisherman and hotelier, was sharing a salmon cooked over a camp-fire with a wonderful mornay sauce prepared by him (along with a flask of good brandy!). Wouldn’t you love to try that? Some of you have probably wondered if there is any other way to cook a catch than with the old tried and true, “roll ‘em in cornmeal and fry ‘em in bacon fat”. While our Library is not overstocked with cooking volumes, here are a few fish cooking references for those who would like to explore other ways to prepare their catch for the table.
A.J. McClane’s The American Angler has a chapter entitled Two for Dinner…The Lake Trout and the Walleye. McClane expresses a preference for poaching, to preserve moisture. Brochet au Beurre Blanc is a poaching recipe for Walleye served in a rich, creamy butter sauce (beginning with a court bouillon based on white wine and vinegar) while Truite a la Lorraine describes broiling lake trout steaks with a baste of a mixture of light pink wine and cream. Those who fish area deep water lakes for these species will want to try these.
Patrick McManus’s Whatchagot Stew is, actually, a complete collection of recipes for camp and field cooking of all sorts, including fish and game. The chapter entitled Fish and Fowl holds recipes for such as Baked Bass and Mushroom Dressing and Baked Steelhead in Cream Sauce. For the novice, there are recipes for beer batter and basic fried fish, using the bacon fat and cornmeal gambit. Brining and smoking kokanee is also included here, as are other recipes for fried trout and crappie. Beware! Some typical McManus humor ispresent. Be sure to read the Preface and the first chapter before proceeding onward, to guard against straying into cooking that is intended for humor instead of actual consumption! But, this is also a traditional cookbook – seriously!
Recently our library was fortunate to receive a donated copy of Sylvia Bashline’s Cleaning and Cooking Fish, from the Hunting and Fishing Library series. This beautiful volume is the best I’ve seen on the topic. Illustrated with wonderful photography, it contains complete discussions of various cooking techniques, including pan frying, deep frying, poaching and steaming, grilling, open fire, and broiling. Really – it is all here. Preserving techniques such as canning, pickling, and salt curing, are also discussed. Detailed instructionss, with wonderful illustration, of various preparation techniques like boning and filleting is also provided (check the instructions for preparing a catfish!). Lots of great recipes are here, too. The illustrations, beginning with the cover photo of crappie fillets frying in a pan over a fire, serve not only to teach but to whet the appetite. If you never read another book about preparing fish for the table, you’ve got to read this one!
By Larry Ray
Like you, I’m sure, I enter the fall perplexed and saddened by the burning of much of our forest lands this summer. More sadly for me, my favorite lake, Long Lake in Ferry County, was in the path of the North Star Complex Fire. The Forest Service, as of my last conversation with the Colville Ranger Station, had not been able to go back in and assess damage. So, what to do while we fret through and wonder what has happened to some of our favorite locations? How about some soothing, funny reading? Books displaying fishing humor are held in abundance in the SFF Library.
First, we have works by those authors whose primary approach is satirical humor. Many of you know of local author/columnist Alan Liere through his reporting in the Spokesman Review, or through his column at the back of each issue of Northwest Fly Fishing. We have, in our collection, Alan’s, And Pandemonium Reigned. Patrick McManus, another northwest author dealing in outdoor humor, is represented in our library by Never Sniff a Gift Fish, Rubber Legs and White Tail Hairs, and Whatchagot Stew.
There are the more classic fly fishing works by authors who liberally weave humor through their narrative, such as John Gierach and Nick Lyons. Both these authors enrich their work with dry and not-so-dry humor and irony, often directed at themselves. Gierach’s work has been previously reviewed here, but Another Lousy Day in Paradise, Dances with Trout, At the Grave of the Unknown Fisherman and Sex, Death, and Fly Fishing give a clue to what’s in store just by their titles. Our collection of Lyon’s work, meanwhile, is worthy of a revue of its own and I hope to provide that shortly. However, Confessions of a Fly Fishing Addict and Fishing Widows provide humorous insight into the trials of the urban angler trying to find some fishing adventure around such areas as Manhattan and crowded New England.
For story telling, if you are familiar with Tom Bodette from his radio ads for Motel 6 you might want to read of his experiences moving to, and living in, Homer, Alaska, in As Far as You can Go Without a Passport. Jennifer Olsson tells of her rich experiences from the perspective of a female fishing guide, in such chapters as “Cheese Balls and Emergers”, in Cast Again (Tales of a Fly Fishing Guide).
Those who enjoy cartoons should review The Curtis Creek Manifesto, a fly fishing primer which teaches almost entirely through the use of marvelous cartooning, in the style of author Sheridan Anderson, a self proclaimed rebel and disciple of the cultural revolution of the 60’s and 70’s. Fishing, by Herbert Kavet, provides 62 pages of entertaining fishing cartoons.
The above is just a sampling of the more than twenty-six titles containing some form of fishing humor held in our Library. For more, go to the SFF webpage and open the SFF Library Catalogue. The indicator “Hu” by title descriptions indicates some humorous content. Check out some fun reading to get by while we wait to see what’s left of some of our favorite fishing destinations.
Warm Water Fishes. A few of you, with the arrival of early spring weather, have turned thoughts toward fishing for warm water species which, during the spring spawn, become more aggressive. We have a few nice warm water options (or so I’m told) nearby, such as Silver Lake. Anyway, several of you have asked over time what is held in the library with regard to such fishing. I must confess, I never really knew. So, a search of our catalogs and shelves revealed this compilation.
Fishing. Advanced Bass Fishing by John Weiss and the Modern Book on Black Bass by Byron Dalrymple barely touch on fly fishing. The most comprehensive book in our collection, devoted entirely to fly fishing for bass and the other sunfish, is The Sunfishes by Jack Ellis. Indeed, this book is the one shining jewel in our collection on this topic. It is delightfully illustrated in ink by David Taft. Various waters and cover types in which sunfish and bass are likely to be found are discussed at length. There is an entire chapter devoted to the merits of dry as opposed to wet fly tactics, as well as another entitled “The Bream Fisher’s Fly Box.” Bugs and flies are discussed in detail, with such comparisons as to how the surface tension is affected by a bullet-head popper as opposed to one with a blunt, clipped dear hair head. The first two lines of the forward say it all – “Selective Bream? Yes, indeed! The only question is, why did it take us fly fishers so long? Why wasn’t this book written years ago?” As a quick reference, John Shewey’s Trout and Beyond contains a chapter on Smallmouth Bass. It is written in a compact, rather compressed form, with more photos than text. Still, if one wants a quick dissertation on Smallmouth fishing in area rivers, it is provided here.
Tying. Our collection contains an ample supply of tying manuals for bugs and poppers. C. Boyd Pfeiffer’s Bug Making is probably the most comprehensive and recent (1993). Popper and plug materials from balsa and foam, to deer hair, and to hard plastic and epoxy, are all covered. Claiming to provide patterns and instructions for everything from Bluegill to Billfish, it seems to concentrate on bass and sunfish. There is much black and white, close-up, instructive photography. Meanwhile, A.D. Livingston provides Tying Bugs and Flies for Bass. Similar in style to “Bug Making…” but limited to bassing bugs, it is still well illustrated with black and white instructional photos. However, the chapter and photos on Muddlers, Spuddlers, and Miracle Bugs might appeal to big trout fly devotees, as well. (By the way, Livingston’s teaching style is fun, as those of you who have seen his game and fish recipes in past volumes of Gray’s Sporting Journal will appreciate.) Two volumes by Dick Stewart, Flies for Bass & Panfish, and Panfish, round out our collection. Flies…, the more recent of the two, is illustrated with nice color photography, with a shot for each pattern. Panfish, meanwhile, is illustrated with the more traditional drawings of its day.
All the books mentioned above can be found in your SFF Library. Check them out and see if you discover a pleasing new form of fishing and tying. (Meanwhile, as a postscript, veteran member and bass angler Mike Keegan says if we need more information we can always call him!)
NEW LIBRARY CABINET
By: Rick Newman
The recent addition of more books finally over- whelmed the plastic cabinet that held many of the Spokane Fly Fishers books. The pull of gravity was greater than the strength of the shelves. The poor little wheels were not up to the task of moving the cabinet any more either. At a board meeting some months ago, the need for a new cabinet was mentioned.
One of my favorite sites to visit daily is Craigslist. I found a seemingly nice metal cabinet for sale…called, made a deal and picked it up. It resided in my garage during our brief winter until the tempera-tures rose enough that I could take it out in the sun and work on it. After the purchase of some heavy duty casters, sandpaper and spray paint, I went to work and added the casters, securely connected the bottom of the cabinet to the sides and started sanding. John Melzer, one of the Project Healing Waters veterans, came over and helped me sand and prepare it for painting. After lots of sanding and a few coats of paint, my son and I loaded the cabinet into my truck and hauled it to St Francis of Assisi Church where Mike Ainsworth, a Project Healing Waters volunteer, and Larry Ray the club librarian and I hauled it inside. A short time later the shelves were in and so were the books.
The picture shows our happy librarian, Larry Ray, comparing the two cabinets. I invite all of you to come and see what books Larry has organized for us to peruse and check out. I think you will be surprised at the amount of knowledge contained on the shelves of this restored cabinet.
I enjoyed working with John, Mike and Larry on this project, I hope the cabinet can be used for many years.
By: Larry Ray, Librarian
Catalogue of SFF Library Volumes, by Author. Due to several member inquiries regarding works by certain authors, I created an authors catalogue of our collection which can be perused at our meetings as well as on the SFF website. While doing so, I became enthused at our extensive holdings of some who are
considered classic writes in the fly fishing community. We hold nine titles by Lefty Kreh, seven by Dave Hughes, six by John Gierach, five by Randall Kauffman, and four each by noted writers Joe Brooks, Nick Lyons, A.J. McClane, and Dick Steward. Others such as Trey Coombs, Gary LaFontaine, Deke Meyer, and Steve Raymond are also well represented.
Recommended Reading by Dave Whitlock. The extent of our collection was further revealed when I read articles by Dave Whitlock in the two most recent issues of Trout magazine – the quarterly publication by Trout Unlimited. These dealt with traditional wet and dry flies, respectively, providing history and showing artist color plates of what are, in Whitlock’s estimation, the twenty most representative patterns. Whitlock recommends books that the tyer who wants to further examine these two traditional fly types should read. Amazingly, of the six volumes recommended, four are held in our Library – Art Flick’s Streamside Guide, J. Edson Leonard’s Flies, Ernest Schweibert’s Matching the Hatch, and Trout by Ray Bergman. So, if you might delight in tying patterns that were fished (and fished well!) by our grandparent’s, have a look at these.
Another donation. The Professional Fly Tying, Spinning, and Tackle Making manual and Manufactures’ Guide, by George L. Herter, was recently donated. Browsing it awakened fond memories of a time when I, as a kid, used to dream over Herters mail order catalogue. I used to look longingly at such items at the imported Turkish hunting bows, with their delicate handle inlays, as well as at the extensive fishing assortment. Later, my cousins and I would prowl the Herters outlet in Lacey, Washington.
The volume just received (The revised eighteenth edition!) reveals how the Herter family, as marketers, truly tried to be all things to all fishermen. Indeed, in the frontispiece is a printed claim that “more copies of this book have been sold than any other book ever written in the world on a sporting subject”! True or not, the book provides a fascinating look at promotion of the outdoor business in the bygone, pre-Endangered Species Act era. For example, recommended tying materials such as cedar waxwing, loon, and yellow-headed blackbird feathers would, if found by the warden on one’s flies today, likely generate an appearance before a judge and a hefty fine, if not jail time! Other discussions from stream entomology, fly tying, lure and tackle making, to fish anatomy, various fish species, and tackle marketing, are contained in the book’s 554 pages. There is some strong opinion, including Mr. Herter’s stated preference for brook trout, grainy photos of which are numerous. Other photographs cover everything from blindfolded dolphins navigating underwater obstacles to female workers inside a Japanese fly tying factory. The book does deal extensively with fly types and patterns, some of which are modified from earlier patterns and are unashamedly named after members of the Herter family. All-in-all, this book will provide an interesting read for anyone interested in the history of fishing sports marketing in the middle of the last century.
More Tying Instruction. I recently purchased another tying book, Alf Walker’s Mastering the Art of Tying Flies (1976). It is similar to such instructional books of its day and not distinguished, except for an interesting section on tying completely by hand, without the use of a vice. Sounds almost impossible, doesn’t it? Yet it has been done more frequently than one might think. I read somewhere that Partridge of Redditch hook makers once sold flies that were tied by their workers entirely by hand ( I don’t know if they still do this). The late Harry Lemire, renowned northwest steelheader and author, used to tie a steelhead fly every morning on the way to work and, again, every evening on the way home, while driving (Aren’t there laws…?)! And, he didn’t use a vice! Anyway, if you’d like another fly tying challenge, check out this volume (which I’ve donated to the Library) and take a crack at tying sans vice, with reference to the drawings and instructions shown.
Some Housekeeping. Our video library has continued to expand due to the efforts of members who have donated time and effort. Our Treasurer, Claude Kistler, recently purchased and donated six fine DVDs from the Scientific Anglers Instructional Series. These are Advanced Fly Casting, Anatomy of a Trout Stream, Basic Fly Casting, Fly Fishing Made Easy, Introduction to Fly Casting, and Strategies for Selective Trout. The instructors are such as Rick Hafele, Brian and Judith O’Keefe, and Doug Swisher. Check them out (figuratively and literally!)… Meanwhile, an anonymous donor/ member has copied many of our old VHS volumes onto DVDs, which are also now available for check-out.
Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are enjoying the New Year. Take time to tie some favorite patterns and read.
Of the 300 or so volumes held in the SFF Library, 98 (a third!) are tying manuals or, at least, contain significant tying instructions. Many date from the 1980’s or earlier, when everyone published one and seemed to follow a common format of step-by-step “recipes” with black and white photos of each step described. Believe it or not, Family Circle Magazine ac- tually published such a guide in 1954 (Family Circle’s Guide to Trout Flies) and it is even quite good. Others were excellent. Randall Kaufmann’s American Nymph Fly Tying Manual, for example, is so simple, comprehensive. and well illustrated that it is still valuable. Likewise, Dave Hughes’s American Fly Tying Manual was among the first to use color photos intead of artists’ color plates, and still helps me when I’m tying traditional patterns. Some recent donations contain more contemporary tying instruction. Four of these, in particular, are refreshing additions to our collection. These are:
John Van Vliet’s The Art of Fly Tying is the best photographically illustrated guide I’ve seen. This manual contains numerous helpful hints on each step of the process, with each step illustrated by a wonderful, clear color photo. So clear, in fact, that the fingerprints on the tier’s hands are clearly shown. You simply have to see this one just for the photography. It will grab you and make you sit down to read the entire volume, tying as you go, no matter your skill level!
Chris Mann’s color drawings in Beginner’s Guide to Fly Tying, by Terry Griffiths, illustrating each tying step as well as completed flies, set this manual apart. Steps involving bodies (floss, hurl, quills, and tinsel), hackling (collars, palmers beards, and parachutes) and wing- ing, are all clearly, wonderfully accompanied by Mann’s color drawings. Many tying nuances are addressed in a separate section entitled Tricks of the Trade. This guide is the best I’ve seen for introducing the novice to the craft.
Lou Tabory’s Guide to Saltwater Baits & Their Imitations is a pocket-sized gem, crammed with saltwater patterns finely illustrated by color photos, as well as fine color drawings of the species imitated. It also holds instructions on fishing the patterns and locating the bait species themselves (such as along jetties and under telltale slicks). Excellent seascape color photography illustrates these. Pattern recipes are given at the back portion of the book. Check out the epoxy flies, especially the crab pattern!
Have you ever wanted to tie a traditional salmon fly? You know, the big, gaudy patterns used on traditional salmon rivers in Scotland and our own northeast coast? If so, take a look at Poul (Yep, “Poul” is the correct spelling!) Jorgensen’s Salmon Flies. Published in 1978, it’s a bit older than the others described here but seems ahead of its time by its use of photography. Instructions are comprehensive and well illustrated in black and white, easy to follow close-ups. So, next time you are feeling creative, grab this book and sit down to tie a Jock Scott or Lady Amherst. You might surprise yourself…
All the volumes mentioned above can be obtained from your SFF Library.
Collected Works of Dave Hughes. Perhaps no fly fishing author has published more about fly fishing in the northwest than
Dave Hughes. From simple fly tying manuals to advanced instructional guides, and from basic entomology to detailed instructions about matching hatches, Hughes covers it all. Indeed, one could just about cover their entire range of fly fishing instructional needs through reference to his works. The SFF library has a fairly complete collection of Dave’s books, including those which follow.
Beginning tyers can refer to the American Fly Tying Manual. Basic steps for tying each style of fly are explained through simple instruction and many photographs. Fine color plates illustrating the basic, common patterns for each style of fly, with some historical notes, are included separately in the second part of the manual. The simplicity of the photos and illustrations serves as a confidence builder. Meanwhile, Essential Trout Flies provides more detailed instruction covering more patterns and their variations, as well as coaching as to their use. However, the same patient style is also present, making it a good read for the novice as well as the advanced tyer. The perfectly organized fly box on the cover makes me (and will make lots of you) envious!
Hughes might be best known for his works involving insect hatches. The very concise pamphlet Matching Hatches Simplified can serve as a starting point for the novice, as can The Pocket Guide to Western Hatches and Western Streamside Guide, with their wonderful color photography. The Handbook of Hatches, meanwhile, is as fine an introductory guide to this topic as I have found. Being, myself, a bit intimidated by the entomological side of our sport, I can ease that anxiety by referring to this work. The fine color photographs of the bugs themselves, along with the tying instructions for their imitations, fascinate and encourage. Nice photographs of fishing scenes further whet the angling appetite. The Complete Guide to Western Hatches, on which Hughes teamed with pal Rick Hafele, is an older, more comprehensive volume written in the more traditional format. Lots of black and white pho- tography, some fine pen and ink drawings, and a few color plates in the mid-section supplement the same patient style.
Reading Trout Water is Hughes’s contribution to that topic, and the same basic instructional format with wonderful, informative photography, is present in this work as well. Finally, Western Fly Fishing Guide contains descriptions of various fly fishing locations throughout the western USA and Canada, including some destinations very close to home (such as Nunally, Lenice, and Merry Lakes).
Library Team. The Library continues to expand with the donation of more materials and with it the need for ongoing management of the library’s collection. If you’d like to familiarize yourself with the clubs book and video collection and help manage it, and perhaps write some reviews for publication in the Barbless Flyer, please call me, Larry Ray, at 425-299-1488 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Again we need volunteers!
The Spokane Fly Fishers has an extensive library available for our members. At our meetings, we have many video cassettes for those that still have that VCR laying around gathering dust. Ask Larry Ray about the availability as we are phasing these out.
We’ve been working on our collection of DVD’s and now have a catalog of 40 titles, we have over 300 titles of print materials. The list encompasses every category, including humor, history, tying, destinations, novels and instruction. Nearly all of these books have been donated to the club from members estates and as such you’ll find some historical, out of print and hard to find books. We welcome donations of new and gently used books and digital materials, contact Larry Ray to make such a donation.
Both the book and DVD collections are now located at the club meeting site and are available for lending at meetings.
Checked out materials are now to be returned at the second scheduled meeting after they were checked out unless otherwise arranged with Larry Ray, the club’s Librarian.
If by chance you have any books or library materials please return them at a meeting or by contacting Larry whom can be reached at 425-299-1488, or online at email@example.com.
Click the links below for the complete listings.