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Vince Wilcox's "Naturally Artificial Signature Flies" - Lyons Press April 2012

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“Vince Wilcox is one of contemporary flytying’s leading innovators. His signature trout patterns break the status quo because they are originals, period, invented and tested by the man behind the vise, and this book. From midges and micro mays on technical Western tailwaters, to fishing J.C. Specials on unnamed rivulets in New York’s vast Adirondack State Park, the flies featured here regularly stick selective fish. Read Wilcox’s articulate descriptions, practice expert step-by-step techniques, and unlock the recipes that tap into fish instinct and angler curiosity better than most. Then go fish the bugs and see for yourself.” Geoff Mueller, senior editor, The Drake

“Vince Wilcox is the most creative and unorthodox tier of his generation. His flies are as fun to tie as they are to fish.” Ross Purnell, Fly Fisherman

Here is the introduction: "Creating effective, durable flies should be the goal of every fly designer. In this book I’ve tried to demonstrate how to reach that goal through the combination of natural and synthetic materials. I show you not only how to tie my best Signature flies (most of which have been sold hundreds of thousands of times and fished in forty-nine states and fourteen countries) but also the thought processes that went into creating them. What influenced the creation of the pattern? Why did I choose the materials that I did? How does a given kind synthetic material complement another type of natural material? I discuss how and when to fish them. In addition, I’ve tried to break each fly down into its most basic steps, so that even a beginning tier will be able to follow along. Fish have relatively small brains, but what they possess instead of big brains are instincts, and these instincts may be honed so sharply that the fish give the impression that they are intelligent. If you are fishing a high mountain stream where it is rare for fish to be exposed to artificial flies, the fish will be “dumb,” or at least cooperative. Now take that same species and place it in a heavily pressured river, and you may have to change your tactics dramatically. Think 15-foot leaders and size 26 midges launched 30 feet back from the bank. To keep up, tiers have to constantly anticipate hatches and fishing conditions. We have to innovate, show them something new. Hatches may vary from river to river, state to state, or even from run to run, but more often than not what changes most dramatically are the conditioned instincts of the fish. If you have a particular color and size of insect hatching, you will need to imitate that same color and size to be successful, no matter where in the world you are fishing. The patterns in this book try to anticipate the instincts of the fish, leading to more hookups. Although I acknowledge the bin appeal of my patterns and am flattered by the anglers who love how they look, they were not made for the angler or the bin. I designed each and every one to catch more fish. After years of experimentation, of trial and error both at the bench and on the stream, these are the patterns I’ve found to work the best. And they’ve been tied in the most effective way I know, using a combination of materials. Whether using feathers or fur, foam or flash, I like whatever it takes to do the job. This book uses a difficulty scale that assigns a rating from one to four stars, but if you’re a beginner, please don’t be discouraged if a fly has a **** ranking. The steps have been laid out so that every level of tier can follow along easily and complete the fly. It just might take more time if you’re a beginner.
The following are the criteria on which the rating is based.
• Time it takes to complete the pattern.
• Number of materials used to create the pattern. Generally speaking, the fewer the materials, the easier it is to tie. Some materials also require more skill and time to prepare.
• Level of skill required to complete the various techniques.
I included an “estimated time to tie” (ET3) feature to give you a better idea of how long each fly will take to complete. After years of teaching and tying these patterns, it seemed helpful to give fly tiers the chance to anticipate their time commitment and to measure themselves against other tiers. Your time can improve rapidly if you tie more than one fly per pattern. I would highly recommend tying at least a half dozen of a given pattern at one sitting, and more if you have the time. The finished fly does not have to look exactly like the finished pictures to catch fish, but I assure you it doesn’t hurt! Take your time to complete each step correctly and don’t be afraid to back up a step if need be. Tying the fly correctly the first time will make it easier to repeat the process each succeeding time, and the flies will look better and catch more fish."

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