Review: Tying Nymphs by Charlie Craven

~By: Lance Dean | August 1, 2016

Tying Nymph - by Charlie Craven

My copy of Tying Nymphs: Essential Flies and Techniques for the Top Patterns by Charlie Craven arrived in my mail just before Christmas and after reading the book, I have to say it did not disappoint.  I love to tie flies and I really enjoy Charlie Craven’s other two books, Fly Tying Basics and Charlie’s Fly Box, very much. In fact I would venture to say that the three books he’s written are three of my four favorite fly tying books, the fourth being John Barr’s Barr Flies, which Charlie Craven was a part of.

As I opened the package from the first thing I noticed was a bend in the corner of the book at the spine and although I can’t prove it I believe the spine is broke on my book. I know that Amazon probably would have replaced it for me, but my patience on waiting for this book was too thin to allow Amazon to fix the problem, so I decided that I would just be very careful with my copy.  Aside from that the book looks very classy with its white semi-gloss cover and the awesome CDC Golden Stone on the front cover.

In the introduction of Tying Nymphs, Charlie Craven explains that this book is not just another pattern book, but that Tying Nymphs is as Basic Fly Tying and Charlie’s Fly Box which are about teaching techniques rather than specific patterns.  He gives a good argument that knowing the techniques of tying a fly is more important than learning the steps of a specific pattern.  Which I whole heartedly agree with, I too, believe that knowing three or four various techniques allows a tier the ability to tie many flies without having a step-by-step for each one.

My favorite fly pattern is the Copper John.  I have tied so many Copper Johns that I can tie them in my sleep, seriously, I sometimes have dreams about tying the Copper John and other flies; because of this it is not my favorite tutorial in Tying Nymphs.  My favorite is probably the CDC Golden Stone tutorial.  It is such a classy tie and could easily become a favorite in my fly box.  From the flashback spine to the CDC and hen saddle collar this fly shows traditionality mixed with modern intuitive design techniques, the CDC Golden Stone is a piece of art.

The tutorials of Tying Nymphs are awesome, many techniques can be learned and reviewed by following and completing them; however, my favorite part of this book as with the other three books mentioned above are the brief overviews of the flies.  The bits of background, fishing techniques, and stories about fishing and tying the flies are what I especially enjoy.  They motivate me to get on the vise tie some flies and then go after some monsters.

Tying Nymphs offers not only a great learning experience but it also a bit of insight into the flies and why Mr. Craven picked them to be in his new book.  The 31 tutorials combined with the 30 additional recipes makes 61 total flies in Tying Nymphs.  That is quite a collection. This book is must have for any serious tiers collection.

You can get your copy from or request an autographed copy from Charlie's Fly Box.

I have really enjoyed this book. Thank you, Mr. Craven for writing it and I can’t wait for your streamer book to come out.

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