I was delighted to receive an advance paperback copy of The Orvis Guide to the Essential American Flies by Tom Rosenbauer, because it just snowed for the first time this fall and as such, I’m about to enter what I call “tying season.” And when I tie, I like to focus on the basics, spinning up a handful of patterns that I trust will work well. I’m not a very creative or innovative fly tier. Actually, I’m not a very good fly tier at all, but this is the kind of book that makes me good enough.
Originally printed in 2011, and including a foreword by the late Lefty Kreh, this book drills down on 20 patterns, and includes some variations of each. If this were a cookbook (fly-tying books are as close to recipe books as anything out there), it would feature dishes like Yankee pot roast, turkey with stuffing and apple pie—distinctively American flavors with global appeal.
As such, we’re taught to tie staples like the Muddler Minnow and Woolly Bugger (name me two better choices if you’re going to zero in on two streamer patterns)… the Prince Nymph and Pheasant Tail… Parachute Adams and Dave’s Hopper. And there are also a few saltwater-specific patterns like the Crazy Charlie (which doubles as a killer carp fly) and the Clouser Minnow (arguably the best smallmouth bass pattern in the world).
In typical Rosenbauer style, the explanations are clear and concise, and the accompanying art and layout are top shelf.
Master these American patterns, and you can fish anywhere in the world and catch just about anything. We’re living in “back to basics” times, and this is a fantastic back to basics resource for any tier, regardless of skill level.