With the Seasonal holiday now complete, I was able to take stock of the generous presents I had received from friends and family, including a publication called 'The Fly-Fishers Entomology' by Alfred Ronald's.
This wonderful little book is a Fly Tyers must, and although only half way through its contents, it has demonstrated to me (with alarming clarity), the lack of knowledge and common mistakes I have been making in Fly Tying over the last 30 years. My knowledge concerning the 'accurate proportions' of an insect has been sadly lacking, and I have slavishly put together my own creations, based on others well known patterns, seldom giving much thought to the 'actual proportions' of natures insect world. I will therefore promise to give this area a serious re-think in my future endeavours.
Another gem contained within the cover of this book, was a cd, containing a compendium of works from long ago, books and publications long out of print but nonetheless fascinating in their content. I believe I counted 190 such items of which I am only on number 6! I have a lot of enjoyable reading to do.
One such paragraph I came across concerned the attributes of a Fly Tyer. I had not really given much thought about this during my years of tying flies, but to me it summed up exactly what one should aspire to be. I even felt better for reading it, and I hope that if you are a budding or experienced Fly Tyer, you will too.
An extract taken from (Page 9) E. Fitzgibbons book, 'A Handbook of Angling 1865'.
'The fly-dresser is a modeller of no means attributes. He has to represent, by means of the most delicate substances of varied colour, insects, often complete atomies, tissue and colour of insects often complete atomies, and of changeable shapes and hues. Extreme neatness characterises all the paraphernalia of the fly-fisher. His sport requires the handling of nothing that will soil the best bred hand. The composition of his bait extracts pain from no living thing. To know positively that his baits are good, he must, to a certain extent be a naturalist. He must be aquainted with the outward appearance of several sorts of insects; he must know the divisions of the seasons in which they live and cease to be; he must know the climates and localities peculiar or otherwise to each species; he know their names, and be able to classify them, if not scientifically, at least piscatorially; he must know those that prove the most attractive food for each kind of fish he angles for: in fact, he must possess a fund of knowledge that will cause him to be considered an accomplished man by the members of every rational society’.
What a wonderful description of the men and women who undertake this fascinating and truly wonderful art. I certainly do not possess all of those qualities shown above, but would like to think that over the years, I have learned a few.