Randall Kaufmann’s Tying Dries and Tying Nymphs

Recently I’ve started tying flies again, not on a big scale level, but a few here and there, mostly nymphs, eggs and worms, the staple of any Rocky Mountain fly fisher’s spring arsenal. I also dug out the vice and materials so that my daughters could be creative, too. If you haven’t introduced your kids to tying you’re definitely missing out.

Anyway, all of this got me to thinking about how I got started in tying and the books that helped ┬áme learn how to do it. These days we have the Web and you can find videos that show how to tie just about any pattern, but the books that I learned from Tying Nymphs and Tying Dry Flies, by Randall Kaufmann, are still treasures. In fact, his books are as much about fishing as they are tying and the images from lakes in Oregon, or the High Sierras, or New Zealand can’t help but get you fired up to fish. When you are tying the particular patterns he covers in the book, which are mostly traditional, such as the Elk Hair Caddis and P-Chute Adams, you can pretty much visualize yourself casting that fly for the trout in the images.

Part of the appeal to these books are the step by step images that show exactly how to tie these patterns, including how much material to place on the hook to achieve the results you’re looking for. Which all means, these are great books to start tying with.

If you are looking for a place to start in tying, make sure to take a look at Kaufmann’s books. I consider them classics, even if some of the patterns are a little dated. Let me know what your favorite tying books are.

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5 Responses to Randall Kaufmann’s Tying Dries and Tying Nymphs

  1. Chris Schnepf says:

    The Kaufmann books are classics! A lot of folks also got their start with Jack Dennis’ books. A couple more I would put in that category (though perhaps they haven’t aged long enough to call classics): “A New Generation of Trout Flies” by Scott Sanchez and “Creative Fly Tying” by Mike Mercer, both from Wild River Press. Both are gorgeously illustrated, and the Sanchez book has a bunch of really effective, easy ties. For warm water flies, “Bass Flies” by Dick Stewart is a great place to start, and you can usually get a used copy for less than $15.

  2. Jim Maxham says:

    Jack Dennis’ first book started me on a love for fly tying that’s been almost 40 years and I enjoy it now more than ever. When that book came out there was nothing else like it. A whole book that focused on western trout flies I couldn’t believe it. I had seen Dave Whitlocks chapter in Art Flicks Master Fly Tying Guide and thought wouldn’t it be great to have a whole book like this. Then there was Randell Kaufmanns first tying book I think it was called the American Nymph tying Manuel. Not nearly as nice as his later books but so much info. Thank You Jack Dennis and Randell Kaufmann for giving us the best fly tying books that have ever been printed.

    • Greg Thomas says:

      Great comment. Sounds like Jack Dennis’ book was golden for a lot of people. Another book I really liked was Tying Northwest Trout Flies. It was spiral bound and just a great resource for Northwest fly fishers.

  3. Bill Emmet says:

    Great article and good suggestions. I first started tying flies in 1989 when my family and I were living in West Africa. My wife bought me a kit from LLBeans along with Ted Leeson and Jim Schollmeyer’s “The Fly Tier’s Benchside Reference”. Many years later and many books later, this is still the go-to reference for me .
    Best regards

    Bill Emmet
    Bremen, Maine

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