Introduction to Saltwater Fly Tying
hardbound : 160 pp.
Pruett Publishing $34.95
Living close to the salt, and adoring Scott Sanchez's creations for decades, I was delighted to find this title in my mailbox. This book is more than an introduction to salt water fly tying. One could live in this book for the duration of his or her career in salt water fly fishing and never exhaust the possibilities.
Sanchez's book starts off logically enough with the tools of the trade: scissors, vices, stackers, bobbins and tools specific to salt water patterns. In addition, he provides perhaps the most complete treatment of hooks and threads that I've come across. I especially like it when an author isn't afraid to alienate tool manufacturers by being candid about tool preferences, especially very expensive tools like vices.
The book then launches into a plethora of saltwater fly tying materials that I suspect would amaze even an old hand at saltwater fishing. Particularly impressive is the huge array of every material you can and cannot imagine. Most books on fly tying will give a fair amount of detail on feathers, yarns, hackle and the the current nylon variants. Sanchez's treatment, though, is exhaustive. Every type of material is discussed at length, including hackle, yarn, chenille, tinsel, wire, hair, foam, flashy glittery mylar and plastic, eyes (a dozen types), coneheads (another dozen), metal bodies, rubber legs (a half dozen), and over a dozen types of adhesives, goos and tape to put it all together into a fishable whole. Next time you go into your fly shop, you can impress the whole floor by asking for some silicon Bodeez N legz and a little synthetic gator hair and count how many heads turn your way.
The majority of the book describes specific patterns at length. Each pattern is introduced by fishing strategies and targeted fish, often with a little history that inspired the pattern. No pattern or type is left out, including the great Clouser Minnow, Crazy Charlie, Lipstick Minnow, foam and fur poppers, rattle bodies, tubing flies and my personal favorite, numerous crab patterns. Epoxy flies are given a special treatment. Personally, I don't tie epoxy patterns, but I've always marveled at their construction. And I now know how to use a small desk top rotisserie to slowly shape and cure these goopy flies into submission. Fortunately, Sanchez gives the rest of us an alternative to epoxy flies, a common glue gun to build up a fly much more easily, and with fewer fumes.
One of the nice lessons learned after reading Sanchez's book is, not just how to build known patterns, but how to be creative with materials you have yet to imagine. After readying Sanchez's book, I felt empowered to be creative. Now all I have to worry about is the location of my wife's glue gun for the upcoming Coho season.
--Toney J. Sisk
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