• Tied in the Hand: Odyssey of a Salmon Fly-Tyer

    By Sven-Olov Hard, published by Coch-y-Bonddu Books, Machynlleth, Powys, UK

    £35 (limited edition leatherbound £575),www.anglebooks.com

    Who says you can’t judge a book by its cover? When Tied in the Hand was launched at the British Fly Fair International in June, I took time out to watch the public as they perused the latest releases on the Coch-y-Bonddu bookstand.

    Without exception, this was the book that attracted the most attention, and once in the hand, the other hand was reaching for payment! I wasn’t in the least bit surprised when I read it, because for me, this is one of the finest books ever written on the subject.

    The illustrative reproduction of the 143 flies is quite extraordinary. One almost feels you can pick them up from the page. We are not told how this “three-dimensional” result was achieved, but I suspect that cutting-edge technology was employed along with just a hint of witchcraft!

    Do not mistake Tied in the Hand as being just another coffee-table book, despite its large format and glossy colour plates. It is a serious study by an unassuming genius who, in 10 chapters, takes us on a fascinating journey.

    We learn the history of the salmon fly, then how the author became a tyer who is able to construct a complex fly using only his hands.

    There are details of the House of Hardy’s salmon flies, as well as the story of this great company’s influence and contribution to the history of our sport.

    Then we are taken gently by the hand and introduced to the techniques and material management needed when tying a fully dressed salmon fly using only one’s hands. As a contrast to the beautiful fly colour plates, Lars Sundstrom’s illustrations perfectly complement every chapter.

    Finally, we journey to Scotland to share in the author’s experiences when angling with the beautiful flies that he has “tied in the hand”.

    So the next time that your “significant other” tells you that you are impossible to buy a gift for, you might like to point them in the direction of the publisher’s website.

    Here, £35 will buy the standard edition or, if you are very deserving, the leather-bound special edition with a mounted “tied-in-the-hand” salmon fly can be purchased for a mere £575.

    Chris Sandford

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