Almost.. The North Country Fly

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Back in 2010, Bob Smith, who, at the time was burning the midnight oil, knee-deep in ancient manuscsripts working on his epic, definitive tome 'The North Country Fly - Yorkshire's Soft-Hackle Tradition', asked me if I'd like to get involved by taking the fly photographs for the book. Fame and fortune were mine, all mine, surely? Perhaps not, with a Yorkshireman of a thousand year ancestry holding the purse strings. Nevertheless, I instantly agreed. A week or two later, a package landed on my doorstep containing scores of the most delicate, elgegant and exquisitely tied North Country flies I had ever seen. Inspired is an understatement, and I set work immediately - if you can call taking pictures of flies like these 'work'. There is, however, an interesting paradox inherent in both tying and photographing flies of such remarkable simplicity: there's nowhere to hide your mistakes. There wasn't many, if any mistakes on Bob's flies that I noticed under the close scrutiny of a macro lens, but the photography was another matter. I made mistakes aplenty, toiling with preening, lighting and depth-of-field (thank heaven for Photoshop), but a a few months later, I managed to furnish Bob with some printable results.

Anyway, due to various constraints like time, money, and the number of trees on the planet, not all the flies that Bob sent me to photograph made in into the book. A real shame, as some of Bob's finest tyings, not to mention many classic and extraordinarily beautiful flies, plus some my personal favourites didn't make the final cut. One has to draw the line somwhere, I guess. They're not all perfect shots, but there's no point them sitting on my hard drive for eternity. So here you go, scroll down and feast your eyes on more of Mr Robert L Smith's interpretations of history...

Pearsall's