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Good Flies: Favorite Trout Patterns and How They Got That Way Paperback – September 1, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press (September 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599212153
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599212159
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 6.3 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #493,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

It's easy to forget that in between his collections of essays, John Gierach has published a number of slender volumes, each devoted to a single aspect of fly-fishing and usually of a more technical nature. Flyfishing the High Country and Fishing Bamboo come to mind. Some readers may grouse that these tracts are more about one angler's proclivities and lack the lode of quotable lines of the essay collections--and they'd be right--but like a comfortable old pair of waders, they get the job done in a familiar sort of way, which is to say they mark the developments of an ever-changing pursuit at a particular time, with a nod to the author's own role therein. If it sometimes seems like Gierach can write them in his sleep, so be it; that's what happens when the honing of style meets extensive first-hand experience. Good Flies finds Gierach behind the fly-tying vise, sorting through his neck feathers and homemade bodkins in an effort to make sense of his own fly-tying tendencies within the larger, centuries-old tradition. "Tying our own flies is where many of us go off the deep end in fly fishing," he admits in the introduction as a caveat emptor. Non-tiers might lose interest in the subsequent chapters of seeming arcana covering everything from the pros of spade hackle (essential for dry-fly tails) to the cons of beadheads (they're ugly). But amid this abundance of information and opinion, Gierach's puckish, Twain-like sensibilities poke through just enough so that any fly-fisher with a taste for the sport's hallowed literature, regardless of whether he ties his own, can settle back with a copy of Good Flies and enjoy the drift. Gierach has been around. He remembers when Dave's hopper first jumped into the scene as well as the nutty "graduate students" in the '70s who fished with "dinky little, otherwise useless rods, pocket-watch-sized reels, and leaders as fine as spider web" in order to catch the midge hatch before anyone really knew what a midge was. Tiers may take issue with some points, but they're more than likely to come away with some new ideas, too. It's all part of the ongoing riverside chat that John Gierach has been having with fly-fishers for the past two decades. --Langdon Cook --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Gierach’s skill lies in turning maddening frustration into fun. -- USA Today

If Mark Twain were alive and a modern-day fly fisherman, he still would be hard put to top John Gierach. -- Sports Illustrated --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

John Gierach is the author of several previous books, including At the Grave of the Unknown Fisherman, Standing in a River Waving a Stick, and Dances with Trout. His work has appeared in Gray's Sporting Journal, Field & Stream, where he is a contributing writer, and Fly Rod & Reel, where he is a columnist. He also writes columns for the Longmont (CO) Daily Times-Call and the monthly Redstone Review. He lives in Lyons, Colorado.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 14 customer reviews
It's hard to sit still long enough to read this book.
James Stripes
They all caught fish in the right hands, and some of the best of them really did look like drowned rats'.
Beth DeRoos
The chapters are well thought out and very enjoyable to read.
James Mosley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
John Gierach continues to hold his spot as the top author of fly fishing. I actually anticipated him taking the subject of fly tying, and go against the grain. While most authors tend to make this subject dry and complex, John makes it simple. Through the book he continues to discuss the practicality of his tying and being realistic to use what works. After all, tying flies is a means to an end. Everyone who ties flies enjoys tying the pretty ones, but the ones we use are the ones that catch fish.
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Aside from the utterly awesome and accurate illustrations of dozens of flies, its the honesty of the author I appreciate. In reading how he came to tie his own flies I felt a kindred spirit because he mentioned, the artistic as well as the frugal, self reliant, and even scientific in a 'quaint, naturalistic sense' of tying ones own flies.
And that he looked at successful fly fisherman and their fly boxes and like himself and myself he saw a motley crew of flies, from 'either to long and gangly or short and stubby, neat or sloppy, trim or fat, bright or dull. They all caught fish in the right hands, and some of the best of them really did look like drowned rats'.
I had to laugh when I read on page 5 where he writes 'I also ran into the idea of flies as art, which further complicated things. I don't mean really well tied fishing flies, I mean display flies tied by people who had no intention of ever showing them to a fish,' since I have know people like that. Sadly they aren't good fisherman and in a couple instances tied flies that probably would have scared fish away.
Like the author 'For as long as I've fished with a fly rod, I've had a self conscious weakness for dry flies; first because of their puffed-up classiness, later in spite of it. Dry fly fishing may or may not be the most demanding way to catch fish, but everything about it is visual and beautiful and I've always been a sucker for that kind of thing'. (page 31)
The way the author describes the ins and outs of various flies along with accurate illustrations is a college level educational experience. He shares where he has fished with various flies, successfully as well as what each is made of. Which ones he uses most and why. Here is an example:
Page 39 'Blue Winged Olive Palm Merger.
Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By James Stripes on February 22, 2001
Format: Hardcover
It's hard to sit still long enough to read this book. Every few pages has me up out of my seat--what am I doing reading, when I could be at the vise creating? Gierach offers several ideas in this book that I've tried and like (Now, what will I do with all those Wooly Buggers tied the old way?). Of course, his preferences and biases don't always gel with my own, nor with those of other tier-authors. But even when I disagree (I like the looks of beadheads), the preferences he explains in this book offer plenty to think about. In addition, he offers some unforgetable common sense anecdotes reminscent of the stories in books like _Sex, Death, and Fly-Fishing_.
One quibble: The cover blurb compares Gierach favorably with Mark Twain. As a humorist I think Twain may remain above Gierach. But Gierach's reputation as a humorist after the manner of Twain fails to offer justice to the range of Gierach's work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James Mosley on March 25, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book is great fun to read and gives you a better perspective on flies and there history. The chapters are well thought out and very enjoyable to read. The tools and materials chapter is very good also. Like all of Geirach's book it is a good read that you will read again and again.
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By Gerald W. Buckley on March 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover
John Gierach's straight to the point, matter of factness on flies, trout's selectivity (or lack thereof) and his total lack of sacred cows on the stream is a hoot.
When you buy this one (and you WILL buy it, if not now then eventually) have a good seat, expect a fun and informative read: it's not entirely what you're expecting. Most of what you're expecting is there... but, hey, it's John after all.
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Format: Hardcover
Unlike the majority of John Gierach's books this one is not a collection of entertaining short stories. Instead this one delves into his fly box and Gierach shares his preferences. He does manage to entertain but this book will be of primary interest to those fly fisherman who tie their own flies and is mostly directed toward trout fishing on western waters.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Insight. A philosopher who fly fishes. How can you beat that? I am just a bit more synthetic materials oriented, but it's really cool to get his take on that also.
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