AUTHOR: Chris Mann
PUBLISHER: Stackpole Books

Hairwings & Tube Flies for Salmon and Steelhead, Chris Mann


Stackpole Books
5067 Ritter Road
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

WEBSITE: Stackpole Books
COST: $34.95+ postage; cover w/ dust jacket
ISBN Number: 0-8117-3176-6

Some flies are beautiful, some are functional, and some are a melding of both beauty and the ability to catch fish. These factors are what first attracted me to Atlantic salmon flies back more than 40 years ago when I made my first trips to New Brunswick for Atlantic salmon.

I marveled at the wondrous beauty of some of those flies tied on turned-up eye, and on single and double hooks. Some flies seemed, to my untrained eye, too gaudy to catch Atlantic salmon. That thought was quickly proven wrong. Then came a 10-year career as a fly-fishing steelhead guide on Michigan’s Great Lakes tributaries.

My twin brother and I became the first two Chinook and coho salmon fly fishing guides in Michigan. My twin brother George, the fly tier, invented many patterns that worked for anadromous brown trout, salmon and steelhead. Thus, my love affair with flies of beauty and functionality was cemented after writing a color Photo-filled book on Great Lakes steelhead flies.

Enough about me, and this was mentioned only to show why I find Mann’s book so pleasing. The simple flies of yesteryear’s steelhead fly fishermen are slowly being replaced with delightful hairwing ties and tube flies. We are seeing a cautious birth in the use of many of the materials once considered suitable only for Atlantic salmon flies, and they are now being incorporated into steelhead patterns.

This 224-page glossy book is filled from cover to cover with the author’s delightful color photographs. The author carries us along with an informative chapter called History & Development Of The Hairwing Fly. To show just how cosmopolitan this book is, the next large chapter is European Hairwings and Tube Flies. Next is North American Hairwings, then the Catalogue Of Dressings, and ending with a Bibliography. Between the two covers is a wealth of information from a distinguished cast of expert tiers.

The European flies come from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Iceland and Scandinavia. The big chapter on North America covers both Atlantic salmon and Steelhead patterns. The chapter on dressings covers salmon hairwings and tubes and steelhead hairwings.

Make no mistake about it. This book is the best treatment I’ve seen on these flies for these game fish, and its historical significance is a matter of great importance. It’s no secret that fly fishing came west across the Atlantic Ocean from the British Isles to North America. Great strides were made during the 19th and 20th centuries as the British methods became common to this country, and were then expanded or improved upon.

Some of the world’s greatest fly fishermen were originally from Great Britain, and we owe them a great deal for instilling within Americans a love of fly fishing. However, in a typical American way, we have produced many wonderful fly tiers and fly fishermen. Many contributors to this wonderful work came from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

This is truly one of the finest books on these specialty flies. And, since steelhead are running in Michigan as this is written, the timing is perfect for state anglers to study the photos and fly pattern recipes in the back of the book. This is a book to fall in love with.

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