Book Review: Charlie Craven’s Basic Fly Tying by Alex Cerveniak

Book Reviews & Excerpts, featured — By on January 1, 2011 9:44 am

Stackpole Books, 2008, 288 pages, 1000 color photos, $39.95

In this book, Charlie Craven takes a no BS approach in introducing the reader to the art of fly tying.

Like many fly tiers, I am mostly self-taught.  I like to think I’ve done pretty well for myself.  I certainly can’t take all of the credit for the techniques I’ve figured out at the vise, as I’ve picked up bits and pieces from watching other tiers, as well as a lot from reading anything I could on fly tying, be it from books or the internet.  I’ve been asked to tie at various tying shows, I’ve taught many fly tying classes, won contests, and had fly tying articles published in print and on the web.

I say all this not to toot my own horn,  but to help make the point that this book isn’t just for beginners- especially if you’re mostly self-taught.  I read this book as if I’d never tied a fly in my life, even paying close attention to Craven’s coverage of various fly tying terms and descriptions of the basic tools.  I didn’t skip over his perspective on materials, several of which he goes very in-depth on: hooks and thread, hackle, and hair selection.  I even read the short chapter on how to start thread on a hook.

These are all things which most intermediate and advanced tiers don’t give much thought to, but you know what?  I can’t think of a chapter in this book I didn’t learn something from.

This book is a must for the beginning fly tier.  Craven makes learning fun as he teaches you how to tie 17 different fly patterns.  Starting with the Brassie and culminating with the Goddard Caddis, each pattern Craven introduces  adds a new technique or material to the reader’s tool bag.  The photography is excellent, and the instructions are more than easy to understand.  When finished with this book, there should be very few fly patterns that the reader can’t figure out on their own.   If we gave star ratings here at Hatches, this book would get five of five.

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Rating: +9 (from 11 votes)
Book Review: Charlie Craven’s Basic Fly Tying by Alex Cerveniak, 8.4 out of 10 based on 8 ratings

1 Comment

  1. Bob Brovege says:

    Charlie Craven’s past signatured publications where stellar!!!! The Best; bar none! If you ty flies, his current book is a masterpiece……….A must have.

    Bob Brovege
    Littleton, Colorado

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    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)

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