This week’s Throw Back Thursday post is the Fly Tier’s Benchside Reference by Ted Leeson and Jim Schollmeyer.

Fly Tier's Benchside Reference Book |

I purchased this 436-page reference book in 1999 as I recall. At $100, it was a major investment for me. Any question I had about a technique used to tie a fly was found in the book.

I found the following description on Amazon…

“…this book features over 3,000 color photographs and over 400,000 words describing and showing, step-by-step, hundreds of fly-tying techniques! Lesson and Schollmeyer have collaborated to produce this masterful volume which will be the standard fly-tying reference book for the entire trout-fishing world.”

I couldn’t agree more. Here is a listing of the chapters.

  • Chapter 1 – The Anatomy of Selection of Fly-Tying Materials
  • Chapter 2 – Hook Preparation
  • Chapter 3 – Thread Handling
  • Chapter 4 – Mounting and Trimming Materials
  • Chapter 5 – Weighting Hooks
  • Chapter 6 – Underbodies
  • Chapter 7 – Wiggle Bodies, Tandem Hooks, and Weed Guards
  • Chapter 8 – Tails and Trailing Shucks
  • Chapter 9 – Ribbing and Gills
  • Chapter 10 – Bodies
  • Chapter 11 – Wingcases and Overbodies
  • Chapter 12 – Wings
  • Chapter 13 – Hackle
  • Chapter 14 – Legs
  • Chapter 15 – Heads, Collars, and Eyes

Remember, this was before the Internet was such a valuable tool to help us learn a fly pattern. I don’t recall YouTube at that time! My how the times have changed.

I remember using it to understand how to tie a parachute hackle. I didn’t think there were so many methods to choose from!

Fly Tier's Benchside Reference Book - TOC |

Here is an example of the detail step-by-step instruction I used.

Fly Tier's Benchside Reference Book - Step by Step

The book is just as valuable today as it was when published in 1998.

Leeson and Schollmeyer created The Benchside Introduction to Fly Tying (2006) which incorporates fly patterns, not just techniques.

Amazon describes it as follow:

“The first 25 pages of this oversized, hardcover spiral-bound book are filled with fly-tying techniques, the last 164 pages are cut horizontally across the page. The top half of the page shows tying steps for numerous patterns, and includes references to techniques that are explained step by step in the bottom half.”

Did either one of these books help in your fly tying journey? It did mine.

Enjoy…go fish, stay safe!

(John Kreft is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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One Comment

  1. I’ve got the “Introduction book”-it’s a pretty darned good resource and the split page concept works pretty good to mix patterns and techniques. Now, I need to raid my piggy bank for the reference book!!

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