Outside magazine, February 1996
For truly hardened fly fishermen, winter is interminable. Confronted by streams stopped with ice and snow--and left to such pale diversions as scotch, skiing, and sled-dog races--it's no wonder they seek the rigors of fly tying. Yet only a few ever excel. The reason: Solid fly-tying technique is difficult to pick up from a static book. You have to learn by watching. The Hooked on Fly Tying video series, from the producers of ESPN's popular Fly Fishing Video Magazine, is one to watch. This 28-volume set of instructional videos brings nine of America's best-known tiers to your home screen. Each tape begins with a short, on-stream segment, in which rising trout and dear summer landscapes are longingly visited. Then it's off to the tying bench--dramatically spotlighted on a black stage--where the masters walk you through their techniques.
Bearded, bespectacled Dick Talleur, perhaps the country's most celebrated fly-tying authority, heavies up the series with nine 60-minute video titles and one 90-minute omnibus that taken together constitute a fly-tying university. Students learn to tie from four to seven flies per tape, with lessons ranging from how to attach bodies and wing hackles to nymphs and dry flies (Step 1 for Beginning Tyers) to making flashy, esoteric Atlantic salmon offerings (Practical Atlantic Salmon Flies). Talleur even imparts professorial locutions, such as "this methodology has much to recommend it from a functional standpoint."
René Harrop, chief flytier and guiding spirit of St. Anthony, Idaho, and the Henry's Fork of the Snake River, hosts four videos that take viewers on underwater tours of insect life cycles and show how to create feather imitations of these bugs at each stage from larva to adult. As advanced training, Harrop's Favorite Flies tape teaches a few of his pet patterns. Taken individually or as a library, the Hooked on Fly Tying videos are fine companions on snowbound winter nights to come.
$19.95 each. From Bennett/Watt Entertainment, 13101 244th Ave. S.E., Issaquah, WA 98027; 800-327-2893.