DVD production company DGP has collaborated with Oliver Edwards for some years now to produce the Essential Skills and Essential Patterns series of DVDs. Exemplary DVDs, well produced and presented, they bring together fishing, watercraft, knowledge of insects and, of course, fly tying. Oliver is a masterly angler and fly tyer who happens to appear very comfortable and natural in front of a video camera, so the lessons are all there. Now DGP has introduced a selection of flies – Oliver Edwards’ patterns – available from its website.
Tied to very high standards, these flies represent Oliver’s patterns very well indeed. The selection extends a little beyond patterns devised by Oliver to include flies like the Kinkhamer, so I suppose this is more like a selection for Oliver’s fly box really. I believe Oliver ties all these patterns in the Essential Skills DVDs (some are from Oliver Edwards’ Flytyer’s Masterclass), so these flies can easily be used as reference or simply bought as fishing flies.
A fly in the hand may be worth two or more on the page. I have a Mohican Mayfly in my hand. This is a three-dimensional object. I can turn it around, see it from any angle, feel the texture of it, see the curves and geometry. I can drop it and see how it falls and lands.
Look at the picture at the top of this page and you see that fly from a single angle. Hopefully, I chose an angle that shows useful detail and gives a decent idea of the overall proportions and shape of the fly. Inevitably, however, handling and looking at this fly is a different experience to looking at a photograph, I have so much more information if I need it and if I can make use of it.
My comments about the difference between seeing a picture of a fly and handling this fly also apply to watching Oliver tie the pattern on screen. Having a fly in my hand is simply another another aid towards getting the results I want.
To my mind, there’s an aspect of fly tying we don’t discuss much – knowing when to stop. I don’t mean when to give up fly tying completely or when to take a few minutes out to talk to the family. I do mean knowing when a fly is finished. Having an example fly helps me with that, I can compare my fly with the example at any stage, judge if I am matching or bettering that example. And when the thread is tied off I can look for differences – should my body be a little slimmer, are the tails long enough, the hackle the right density, the head too big? The list goes on, but the point is that if I have a reference fly in my hand I have the option of trying to match it closely or using it to help me make my version of the same pattern as I want it.
From: Flies, DVDs and the republished Flytyer’s Masterclass are all available from www.essential-skills.tv. This is an excellent website, too, containing details about all the products including flies, and offers a selection of clips from the DVDs.
Price: Flies are priced individually, from £1.95 per fly (minimum order value £15).