Book review: Author’s new carp flies book truly the ‘best’

HUNGRY? Here's a carp smorgasbord of deliciousness.(Jim Burns)

HUNGRY? Here’s a carp smorgasbord of deliciousness.(Jim Burns)

We’re currently in the salad days of books about carping, with Orvis releasing two during the last two years. Both are good, and, as they say “three’s a charm.”

For the carp enthusiast as well as fly-tying fanatic, Jay Zimmerman’s “The Best Carp Flies: How to Tie and Fish Them”(Headwater Books; $29.95) is that home run for which you’ve been waiting. Zimmerman is a wordsmith among his many other talents, penning two previous books. His care with the plume certainly shows, as the writing in this big volume is crisp, clean and engaging. I only wish the copy editor had taken more care with his marvelous prose.

After a straightforward introduction to the sport, as well as a guide to what should be on your fly-tying table, he gets into the meat of the book, 22 must-have patterns and variations. OK, so he didn’t include our river’s Tortilla Fly, but you’ll find such notables as the Swimming Nymph, Near ‘Nuff Crayfish and Barry’s Carp Fly. Each recipe comes with a couple dozen steps and color photographs. I mean, even in the era of YouTube, this book is exactly what you need to become a better fly-tier and fly fisher.image

Also, Zimmerman addresses those trying to tie the “next great carp fly.” His depth of knowledge will put you ahead in the next carp fly swap. He’ll have you checking your fly’s weight, buying a testing tank and, most probably, upgrading your equipment. This book pushed me over the edge to finally buy that rotating vise I’ve been craving. The book’s price of $29.95 is well worth admission to a greatly expanded carping world.

If you read California Fly Fish magazine, look for my detailed review in next month’s issue.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

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2 thoughts on “Book review: Author’s new carp flies book truly the ‘best’

  1. Good Jim,

    I own Jay’s book and it is well done. Your comment about a local fly is similar to sentiments I held myself. Perhaps regional books may be in order next. In any case, it’s about time carp have their day in court as it were.

    Gregg

    • I was half joking, Gregg, but I think you’re right. I tied up several different variations of the Swimming Nymph, and fooled around with weight. Of course, I missed both fish I targeted, one because the weight I had on screwed up my cast.

      There is nothing more maddening than getting snagged on the bottom. Because it’s been so hot here, yucky clumps of green algae were floating downstream today. But there were also swirling of cottonwood seeds in the air. It was magic. I tried to get a picture but it didn’t look anything like what we were experiencing.

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