Tom Rosenbauer's Essential American Flies

At first I wasn’t too excited when I received Tom Rosenbauer’s Orvis Guide to The Essential American Flies, and that was a little hard to admit because I consider Rosenbauer one of the great people in fly fishing as well as a personal friend.

But then I thought about how long I’ve been in fly fishing and considered what I most often pull from my fly boxes. By doing so I remembered two things: First, I reflected on how useful basic pattern books, including Tying Dry Flies and Tying Nymphs, by Randall Kaufman, were to me when I started tying flies and throwing the long rod; and, second, I peered into my boxes and saw a plethora of P-chute Adams’, Prince Nymphs, Hare’s Ears, Muddlers, Elk-Hair Caddis, Sparkle Duns, Stimulators, and P-tail Nymphs.

Here was a book in my hands that covered history and tying info for some of the best patterns on the planet, many of which fall into the “go-to” lot for me. Looking deeper I saw that the patterns and the instructions were fully illustrated, in nice, big, easy to see images. Looking at the description for a Parachute Adams, which is a challenge to young tyers, I figured a person with Essential American Flies at their side would have a pretty good chance of pumping out passable ties on their very first tries.

The book, really, pays homage to the early creative fly tyers in America and serves notice that these “old school” patterns are still taking what must be “old school” fish.

The book offers 208 pages, hundreds of illustrations, and covers 58 patterns, including variations on the classics. Rosenbauer also offers 20 useful, useful sidebars, including notes on using oak-mottled turkey, peacock herl, rabbit fur, visible wings, elk hair, deer hair for muddler heads, marabou for steelhead patterns, etc. READ MORE