Oliver Edwards has worked all over the world as a fly tying and fly fishing tutor / demonstrator, at events like Chatsworth in the UK, the Dutch Fly Fair and Federation of Fly Fishers Conclave in West Yellowstone USA to name a few.
He is one of the world’s most influential fly dressers, winning Fly Tyer of the year twice. He is also at the top of the game with a rod in his hands and has represented England in World fly Fishing Championships.
Oliver has also been a contributor to many fly fishing and fly tying magazines, most notably Fly Fishing and Fly Tying (UK) and Fly Tyer (USA) and for many years he ran the UK Orvis fly fishing schools in Yorkshire with Peter Moore and in Hampshire with Robin Gow.
These videos give you access to the many years of Oliver’s angling experience, his skill and expertise.
The Back Story
Oliver Edwards started fly fishing as a teenager over 50 years ago. Learning his craft on the Wharfe and other Yorkshire Dales rivers here in the UK. He began by fishing traditional North Country Spider patterns (Soft Hackle flies USA). Flies made famous well over 100 years ago by those great anglers and fishing authors Pritt, Edmonds and Lee.
Oliver spotted something that many had overlooked, the fish he took home and cleaned to prepare for the table often had insects in their stomachs that looked nothing like those classic old style North Country wet flies he’d caught them with. Grubs or larvae, and an odd insect with broad shoulders and a flat body, and sturdy legs. He had not come across a pattern to accurately imitate it, puzzles to be solved!
Remember this was the 1960’s, the flies we have now did not exist – of course we all now know that odd insect to be a flat stone clinger (Heptagenid), common all over the world.
Without anglers like Oliver Edwards who had no formal training in entomology, just a keen interest and a talent at the tying vice, we would not have the wealth of information available today in books and on the internet.
In those early days of rapid fly development, these top fly tyers and anglers would meet and be demonstrating their techniques and use of materials at fly fairs. Each would have their own approach and be demonstrating their own tying techniques. To name a few, at one event you may have had Oliver along with Theo Bakelaar, Hans de Groot, Hans van Klinken, Roman Moser all from Europe and from the USA, Ed Jaworowski, Poul Jorgensen, Lefty Kreh, Darrel Martin and David Whitlock – These events were a breeding ground for ideas.
We owe these anglers a great deal for the years of work they put in to developing a much deeper understanding of entomology for fly fishing, new flies, new materials and tying techniques we now take for granted. Their work also spawned the huge range of flies commercially produced that we can buy today at our local fishing stores.
Over the years Oliver increased his knowledge of aquatic insects by kick sampling the rivers he fished. We demonstrate how to do this in the videos, so you can learn how to sample your own rivers.
Remember, it doesn’t matter how much you read, you must know the rivers you fish, and that means knowing something about the invertebrates that live in those rivers, and their life cycles. So, if you want to up your catch rate, you’re going to have to get your hands wet! The good news is, as you’ll see in the videos, once you know how, and what you’re looking for, it’s very easy.
Armed with his ever increasing knowledge of entomology, Oliver then turned to his tying vice and over many years of sampling and working through ideas at the vice, he developed his style of fly tying imitative flies, or what Oliver describes as super impressionistic fly patterns.
It’s not about making a perfect imitations, but having enough of the trigger points that trout and grayling key onto - size, shape, colour(s), proportions, and most importantly silhouette.
During the 1980’s he became a very influential fly tyer. In 1980 and 1981 winning Fly Tyer of the Year and in 1982 he was invited to join the judging panel.
Oliver is not just a fly tyer. He is at the top of the game with a rod in his hands on a river and has represented England in World fly Fishing Championships.
In 1996 the World Fly Fishing Championships were held in the Czech Republic; it was here that Oliver and the England team were given a thorough grounding in the art of Czech Nymphing by their guide and master of the technique Vit Misar.
In 1994 his ground-breaking book a Fly Tyer’s Masterclass was published to much acclaim. It has now been translated into several languages and is a fly-tying classic. It’s well worth purchasing, although we cover many of the patterns in these videos step by step, each fly is covered from 4 or 5 camera angles, including macro lens shots so you can see the fine detail. This makes them easy to follow, even for a relative new comer to fly tying.
Oliver has also been a contributor to many fly fishing and fly tying magazines, most notably, Fly Fishing and Fly Tying (UK) and Fly Tyer (USA).
A few years ago, Mark Gardner, a British TV producer and keen fly fisher met Oliver when fishing the river Test in Hampshire (UK). They got chatting, they are both left handed, only upstream presentation of the was fly allowed and as wading was not permitted; casting was tricky for lefties on their allotted single bank beat.
Casting over the wrong shoulder is a technique also covered in the videos, this helps you get around those trickly places to cast. The best solution however is to learn to cast with your left or right hand, confidently, accurately and safely. Being lefties living in a right-handed world, perhaps easier for us than someone who is very right-handed?
During that chat on the river bank, Mark saw that Oliver would be a natural in front of the camera and had so much to tell. Long story short, they hit it off and decided a series of films or videos would be an ideal way to communicate Oliver’s wealth of knowledge about entomology, fishing and fly tying to a wider audience. Originally released as a critically acclaimed DVD and TV series, the material is now available for the first time in a streamed video format.
The videos cover dry fly, wet fly and nymph fishing including Czech or Euro style nymphing.
The videos show you how to find and identify insects that live in the river, how to tie flies to imitate those insects, and if you don’t tie your own flies, you will learn what you should be looking for in a shop bought fly, then leader make up, how to read a river and the tactics to use.
Understand the principles shown in the videos, then learn about your own rivers and streams and you will improve your catch rate, no question at all.
A magnificent wild fish from the river Wharfe