Five Favorite Fly-Tying Books

by John Evans
(San Antonio, TX)

Five of My Favorite Fly-Tying Books

Five of My Favorite Fly-Tying Books

If you fly fish for very long, you start collecting fly tying books. And then you start wondering where you’re going to store all those books. Pretty soon you realize you have some favorites—those treasured titles you refer to time and again.

I thought I’d share five of my favorites with the readers of this blog in hopes that you will name yours. These are not necessarily tenkara volumes, though several of them feature reverse-hackle tenkara flies. Here they are in no particular order:
1. Practical Fly Tying by T. R. Henn (Bowering Press, 1952). This vintage title is not easy to find, but I treasure it because it includes information about how to tie in hand, without a vise. It’s a nice skill to learn and will help you appreciate the old masters.

2. Wet Flies by Dave Hughes (Second Edition, Stackpole Books, 2015). Dave Hughes is an excellent writer, and he does a wonderful job of exploring soft hackles, flymphs, and so forth. The photos are superb.

3. The History of Fly-Fishing in Fifty Flies by Ian Whitelaw (Abrams, 2015). You have to get this book if you enjoy fly fishing at all! What a great, interesting read, with beautiful watercolor illustrations of the flies by Julie Spyropoulos.

4. Simple Flies by Morgan Lyle (Stackpole Books, 2015). Hey, it even has Chris Stewart in it. Well-written, beautifully-illustrated, just a great read. Really an essential title in a fly-fishing library.

5. A Kid’s Guide to Fly Tying by Tyler Befus (Johnson Books, 2009). Written by a youngster for youngsters, this is the book I’d recommend for those just getting into fly tying. It assumes you’re just starting out, with little or no prior knowledge. I think Tyler did a fine job on this book.

My favorite fly-tying titles change over time, but right now these are high on my list. Perhaps you can share some information about your treasured volumes. Curling up with a good book and then practicing at the fly-tying bench is a wonderful way to pass a cold winter’s day.

Return to Your Tenkara Stories.


“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” - Benjamin Franklin

"Be sure in casting, that your fly fall first into the water, for if the line fall first, it scares or frightens the fish..." -
Col. Robert Venables 1662

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