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Charlie Craven's Basic Fly Tying: Modern Techniques for Flies That Catch Fish Hardcover – July 15, 2008


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Charlie Craven's Basic Fly Tying: Modern Techniques for Flies That Catch Fish + Charlie's Fly Box: Signature Flies for Fresh and Salt Water
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Headwater Books (July 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0979346029
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979346026
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.9 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,936 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

1,000 color photos.

About the Author

Charlie Craven has been a commercial fly tier for more than thirty years, tying flies for almost every species of gamefish, freshwater and saltwater, though he specializes in trout flies for the Rockies. He is a signature tier for Umpqua Feather Merchants, which produces fifteen of his patterns. Craven is co-owner of Charlie's Fly Box in Olde Town Arvada, Colorado, which was the winner of the 2009 Fly Fishing Retailer of the Year Award.

More About the Author

Charlie Craven has been a commercial fly tier for more than thirty years, tying flies for almost every species of gamefish, freshwater and saltwater, though he specializes in trout flies for the Rockies. He is a signature tier for Umpqua Feather Merchants, which produces fifteen of his patterns. Craven is co-owner of Charlie's Fly Box in Olde Town Arvada, Colorado, which was the winner of the 2009 Fly Fishing Retailer of the Year Award.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 73 customer reviews
He says he'll do another book someday.
Leigh Shuman
This book contains very clear instructions on technique, and outstanding photography.
A. Wiese
This is a great book for the new fly tier covering materials, tools, and technique.
Thomas Murphy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Leigh Shuman on August 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have tied flies for 43 years. I have tied commercially while in high school and college. I own or have read virtually every book on fly tying, and have taken classes with a slew of great tiers. This is, quite simply, the best basic fly tying book I have ever seen. The organization is great. The selection of basic techniques is spot on, and the photography is superb in it's clarity and explanatory power. This is no surprise coming from Charlie, whose website has set the standard for great patterns and photographs. He says he'll do another book someday. I can't wait.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By D. Mcnicholas on July 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover
If only this book were around when I started tying 8 years ago I could have avoided the year and a half snails pace of getting up to speed. The book is organized around learning all the essential tying techniques. By the time you complete the book and tying the associated flies you realize that any fly you would want to tie in the abyss of patterns out there is some kind of combination of all the techniques you learned in the book, thus you are equipped to tie just about any fly you want. Equally important is the critical information on material selection. The other extremely unique aspect of this book is that the author took the pain staking time to take very detailed step by step pictures (about 60 pictures per fly) of each and every little step of tying the fly leaving no room for uncertainty to the reader about whether or not he is on track to tying the fly correctly.
On top of all of this the reader gets the huge benefit of endless small tips that come only from someone who has been tying for 30 years like Charlie Craven. If you are a beginner, you will learn the right way to tie with crystal clear instructions. If you are a veteran tyer you will be tying better flies.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A. Wiese on September 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book contains very clear instructions on technique, and outstanding photography. If you only owned one book on fly tying, this should be it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Steve Graves on May 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is no dearth of excellent fly tying books for beginners. "The Benchside Introduction to Fly Tying [Spiral-bound] by Ted Leeson and Jim Schollmeyer; David Hughes "Trout Flies: The Tyer's Reference"; Rosenbauer's "The Orvis Fly Tying Guide are my staples. Craven's book has earned a place in my "go-to" library.

His photo's are glorious and the large illustrations of proportions are simply the best. His instructions are detailed enough for beginners yet he includes production tips that can make life easier for more experienced fly tyers.

One gripe. There are many ways of tying even standard patterns. Craven sometimes belittles methods used by others and doesn't appreciate the fact that some his methods aren't necessarily better, they're just different.

I frequently will look at several videos or printed methods and more often than not, combine different tricks and approaches from different tyers when I tie the pattern. This is called personalization and all tyers will adopt methods as they grow and gain experience. Othewise, they are just cooking by recipie.

I will hasten to add that Charlie justifies most of his opinions and I am convinced that his approaches are better than most, most of the time. In particular, his approach to tying parachutes is paricularly effective.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By W. Heffner on August 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I ordered this book because I like Charlie's tying tips in other articles I have read. I would recomend this book for beginers as well as the experienced tier. His fly progression and tips will make anyone a better tier.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Involved Dad on February 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book has the basic foundational steps to establish a baseline for being a productive tyer. What's most striking, though, is that he does such a good job showing the reader the nuances of his craft. The experience steps that take the frustration out and put the productivity in the process of tying a fly. You will not regret the money you spend on this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Arthur M. Allenjr on December 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I have been tying flies for over 40 years and still learned a lot
of good tips from this book. I may not use all of it but there are just to many common sense ideas in this book not to have it be of benefit to even the most experienced tier. Thank you for a great set of lessons and
can only finish by saying I wish I'd have had this book when I was first learning. Thanks again Art Allen
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kyle Cauthron on August 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
If you are looking for a book on beginning tying, look no further. I second all the other praise this book has received (for the pictures, the easy-to-follow steps, the tips missing in other books, and the massive proportions at a glance pictures). Two points I would add:

- All the patterns in this book are ones that either are or should be in your fly box. I fish in the Rockies, and I already use all of these patterns . I have always hated having to buy materials to tie some fly I knew I would never, ever fish just to learn a technique. Not so with this book - at least not if you fish in the Mountain West.

- The book is fun to read. The author has a sly sense of humor, which works its way into the text from time to time.

One sentence early in the book sticks out in my head. The author warns against over-dubbing and says he once kept track and tied over 500 dozen size 20 RS2s from a single pack of Antron. That made me pause: 500 dozen size 20 RS2s, and he had tied so many of them already he decided to see how many he got out of a single packet of material. Perhaps that experience is unremarkable for a commercial tyer, but it is clear the author knows his subject.

In short, this is an excellent book: thoughtful, clear, precise. It is a great book for learning to tie.
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