Fishing Atlantic Salmon, The Flies and the Patterns ranks as another "must have" for the salmon fly tyer. This book is almost a spiritual concurrence of several factors. Written primarily by the late Joeseph Bates, Jr. who, in my estimation, is a great, readable author - you won't be disappointed by any of his books. The book was unfinished when Bates died, and it sat for years before his daughter, Pamela Bates Richards finished the manuscript. She also pulled in the stunning photography of Michael Radencich (see above) as well as delightful sketches by John Swan.
To top it off, I was able to obtain the late Warren Duncan's copy of the book, presented to him and signed by Ms. Bates and Bob Warren, the editor.
|Another humbling book. Sometimes, when I look at some of the people that have reached the pinnacle of this sport/hobby/obsession, and I compare their work with my measly efforts - well, it makes me think I should toss the ol' Renzetti into the dumpster...
Still, we press on...
Anyway, what a book. Pretty much anything you would want to know about Salmon Fly fishing, as well as Salmon Fly tying, is in this book. Because it's written by Bates (or, the Bateses) it's quite readable. It's not really an index or encyclopedia like the Frodin book, and certainly not a technique manual like the Radencich book. It's more of a general history of salmon fishing, that goes into some really deep detail on the flies.
That being said, there are plenty of chapters on other stuff. There are chapters on Rivers, on Tackle, on Fishing (both floating and sinking lines have their own chapters). All about knots, casting, presentation. There are chapters on various locations - North America, the British Isles, Iceland, Europe. And each of these chapters is infused with dozens of outstanding photos, drawings, and paintings. As an example, it's not enough to have a photo or two of say, the Green Highlander. There's a complete page of flies tied by a variety of tyers, in different styles, as well as the recipe and history. A very comprehensive resource.
As another way to describe the breadth of the work done by Ms. Bates and her father, the end of the book lists a page of "Fly Dressers Represented." This is a list of 4 columns of 140 fly dressers, ranging all the way back to Pryce-Tannatt. A veritable "Who's Who" in salmon fly tying. Very impressive.
So, not really a resource if you want to learn how to tie, but if you are interested in different dialects of a given pattern, or the history of the pattern, or the history of the art itself - this book is invaluable.
[Seems to be out of print. Used copies are available from $75 - 100. ]