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Trout fly-tying for fishing aficionados


Photographs by Egmont Van Dyck

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San Francisco: Chronicle Books

132 pp. $29.95

THE trout fly has long served more of a purpose than merely enticing a fish into taking the hook. It provides hours of satisfaction to many fly-fishermen and women who endeavor to create an imitation of an insect from feathers, fur, and assorted synthetic materials.

The end result can be stunning.

``Although flytying has a practical goal and is based on scientific observations, flies ... are made to inspire and please their creators as much as they are to appeal to the appetites and instincts of the trout,'' Judith Dunham says.

Her book displays the best efforts of more than 40 fly-tiers, along with personal comments regarding their efforts. Borrowing on the author's background as a writer and exhibition curator, this book is almost a piece of art itself, with half its pages full-color photographs, the other half containing wisdom, information, and lore about each fly illustrated.

The photographs seem so real as to tempt the reader to reach out and pick the fly off the page. Photographer Egmont Van Dyck borrows hues and form from each fly to construct the still-life setting in which it is illustrated. His mastery of lighting technique and attention to detail provide rich visual rewards for the reader.

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Much of the text was written by the master tiers themselves, providing insight into their ideas and motives. Interviews with other tiers exhibited provide information on their creations.

For the trout-fishing aficionado, this book provides a brief look at the favorite trout flies of many of the most well-known personalities in the fly-fishing fraternity. For the uninitiated and especially for photographers, ``The Art of the Trout Fly'' is a sumptuous introduction to a world in which art becomes pragmatic.

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