I often wonder about the origination of certain fly patterns and the reasoning behind their design. I acknowledge that the introduction of certain aspects of a popular fly had their place and time; hence it would be helpful if we could somehow delve into the mind of each flies creator, which might help us understand why they chose a particular material or technique. For instance, some may ponder the significance of the Royal Coachman's uncanny use of red floss or the Prince Nymph's impressionistic looking white biot wings.
Well, seek no further. Mike Valla presents a profound analogy of 43 of some of the greatest and most influential American fly tiers in his 2013 release of TheFounding Flies: 43 American Masters: Their Patterns and Influences. Valla provides a clear and concise illustration of key fly tiers such as Ray Bergman, Cal Bird and Lee Wolff, covering a period from the mid - 1880s to the late 1960s. This is not only a historic account of fly tying, but a quite interesting depiction of each masters character and how their lives were affected by fly tying. Excellent quality photos of both original and replicated patterns are shown throughout each chapter. The book ends with recipes for 300 of the flies portrayed throughout the book.
|Image from Copperfly Web site: http://copperfly.net/the-founding-flies-by-mike-valla/|
I would highly recommend The Founding Flies to any serious fly tier who is looking to progress in tying both old and new designs. The books historical account provides a solid foundation, which I think is crucial in any skill. Skimming through the book, I think that you will find that certain master tiers will be more relative than others. You will relate to some concepts and perhaps not agree so much on others. Nevertheless, Whether or not the ultimate fly has been produced, ultimately this book will aid in gaining a deep perspective on the evolution of fly tying, which I think will be beneficial in the creative stages of your fly tying.