REVIEW BY CHRIS O'BYRNE
As if I were up to my knees in the celebratory nature of this new book, my enthusiasm for fly fishing flowed as I opened my fresh copy of The Art of the Fishing Fly. This 2018 coffee table book celebrates angling by combining several topics in snippets of prose with bright photographs. Demonstrating that his seventh book speaks his own passion, the author, Tony Lolli says, “Fly fishing is a way of life and I wanted to celebrate it through flies.”
In the aptly written foreword, keen fly fisher President Jimmy Carter cheers the creativity inherent in fly tying. Beginning with the introduction, vintage fly plates and quotes from past experts teach a history of angling with flies, then in The Zen of Fly Fishing, Lolli celebrates the healthy escape that fly fishing is. History continues to be a theme in a chapter on the materials used for rods, reels, lines, and leaders. Lolli segues to his main topic with a lesson on fly tying. Like angling itself, the heart of this book is about flies. Introductions by guides, and fly designers from all over the world paired with creative photographs celebrate these stylized tools. Lolli explains, “I wanted to search out the best examples of the tyer’s art.” He presents these prime creations, from humble old flies like the Cow Dung to the modern Double Barrel Popper, with detailed photographs and crisp prose. The book finishes with a look at great fishing destinations.
Lolli combines his experience guiding for twenty-five years, and fishing for double that time, with his diverse education and writing experience to bring this subject to life in a new way.