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A. K. Best
Boulder, Colorado

 

 

A. K. Best is one of the most respected names in fly fishing and tying.  His many magazine articles over the years has provided helpful knowledge for both the beginner and accomplished tiers and anglers.  He's also known for his excellent fly fishing and tying books.  If you haven't read them you should.  Every one of them.  They are listed below (scroll down).

 

In the photograph at right, A. K. holds a beautiful 27" Brown trout he caught on a dry fly, with a bamboo rod, in an Alberta beaver pond.  I don't recall him ever using anything but bamboo.  

 

A. K. told me of his recent (2004) tropical diving (snorkeling) trip and how much fun it was.  He is one of those die hard anglers with a passion to enjoy himself.

 

When I asked what the initials "A. K." stands for he replied that in his school teaching days he would tell his students it stood for "Always Kool."  He still lives up to that name.  I have since discovered his real name but I wouldn't reveal it to anyone, on purpose.  Sometimes I get carried away though.

 

A. K. has a superior tying talent that verifies him as a master-class tier.  His unique flies stand out among the rest and I can honestly say I've never seen better quality or style.  It was a pleasure photographing them.  Ed.

 

 

Select one of A.K.'s flies below:

 

Biot Colorado Green Drake Dun

Biot Hendrickson

Olive Quill Dun

Olive Quill Parachute

Pale Green Quill Spinner

 

 

A. K. Best - His Books

Available at a discount from our on-line store or by special request.

 

 

"Advanced Fly Tying" - Proven Methods & Techniques of a Master Professional Fly Tyer - A.K. Best.

Introduction by John Gierach.

 

A "must" for every serious fly tyer.

 
This book has become a classic and will become

a collector's item some day.  It is filled with hundreds of tying tips and tricks by a master fly tier with years of

tying and fishing under his belt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Dyeing and Bleaching Natural Fly-Tying Materials" (1993) 

 

 

 

A K Best provides tiers with the first comprehensive study of color control in natural fly tying materials from dying and bleaching to melding fur dubbing. It is the definitive reference on producing custom color materials for your bench. It includes topics on material selection and preparation, dye types and applications as well as techniques to bring out colors unavailable in commercially produced materials. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Production Fly Tying: A Collection of Ideas, Notions, Hints, and Variations on the Techniques of Fly Tying" (1990) (2003)

 

 

This book reveals concise and comprehensive instructions.

It's popularity demanded a new edition in 2003).

 

 

This is a must have addition to any fly tiers library.

 

 

 

 

 

 

"A. K.'s Fly Box" with introduction by John Gierach.

 

Archie, ooops...  I meant to say A. K. is by far one of my favorite tiers and writers.  He has photographs of the natural insects next to his fly creations.  This is a favorite of many fly tiers and one you will be glad you bought.

 

Clear instructions and great photos make this a must have book for those wanting to tie the quill bodied flies he is famous for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Fly Fishing With A. K." Stackpole Books (2005) 

Available in our On Line Store

 

Excerpted from a chapter in this book: There is a cast I learned from my old friend Koke Winter, the master of weird casts. It comes in handy when you're fishing large, fast rivers where the fish are also large and fast. I'm thinking of places like the Madison and Yellowstone rivers outside of Yellowstone National Park. On these rivers you must often cast across stream forty to sixty feet or more and land the fly on the far side of a series of variable speed currents. Immediately after the fly lands on the water, quickly strip (or have ready) five or six feet of line from the reel, lift the rod tip slightly to one side, and instantly throw a tight roll cast directly toward the fly. It's rather a savage action. You will usually throw a small loop of line near the fly, and that is often just enough line to increase a drag-free drift by as much as three or four feet.

It's also possible to throw this smaller loop nearly anyplace between you and the fly to increase the length of a drag-free drift. Just make sure the loop falls to the upstream side of your fly line.

This one really feels good when it works, especially when a big fish takes the fly just before it begins to drag across current. (The described action is much like throwing a loop against the far bank or behind your fly to dislodge it from an exposed tree root or rock. Briskly raise your rod the moment the loop lands behind the fly. The sudden tug in the opposite direction will often free your fly.) Be ready to set the hook when you try this one, because the action of the tight roll cast will often cause the fly to twitch as much as six or eight inches and can trigger a strike when you least expect it.

 

  "A. K. Best's Fly Box - How to Tie the Master Fly-Tyer's Patterns"  

Forward by John Gierach.  

This is a book review from Robert D. Wilardson. that says it all:

"It's rare to have the privilege and opportunity to learn from one of the all-time grand masters of an art form and sport. A. K. Best is the Hemmingway, Van Gogh, and Michael Jordan of the art of fly tying and sport of fly fishing. In A. K. Best's Fly Box, I have been blessed with a detailed and well-written view and description from inside the specialist's fly box. Not only have I learned which flies are used by one of the true icons of the sport, but also how an expert has perfected the art form. I am tying better flies, and catching more fish as a result. I have greatly enjoyed and learned from this classic, and will continue referring to and re-reading it for years to come."

 

Although A. K. only wrote the introduction in the below book, his recommendation was enough for me to buy and read it.  It is an excellent book for anyone thinking of fishing Colorado.

"FLYFISHER'S GUIDE TO COLORADO"  by Marty Bartholomew, Barry Reynolds, A. K. Best (Introduction).  (New Edition 2002)

"This book ranks, quite simply, as the most important manuscript ever compiled on Colorado fishing. Never before has so much useful lore been presented under a single title. If Bartholomew tried to pack in another single morsel, it might pop through the book." — Denver Post

"Veteran Colorado flyfishers and newcomers alike will be delighted with a new 512 page book that explores the state's rich angling opportunities more comprehensively than any reference before it." — Rocky Mountain News

Breaking the state into six sections, Marty Bartholomew, fly-fishing guide and Colorado native, blends his personal knowledge with the experience of state biologists and regional shop owners to offer the most complete fly-fishing guide ever offered on Colorado. An invaluable all-around resource designed to help anglers fish and find their way around the state; Bartholomew attacks every aspect of fly fishing Colorado’s pristine waters in this 608 page book. Also includes a warm-water fishing section, 107 detailed maps, 68 seasonal hatch charts and information on fly shops, lodging as well as other important travel information.

 

 

 

Select one of A. K.'s flies below:

 

Biot Colorado Green Drake Dun

Biot Hendrickson

Olive Quill Dun

Olive Quill Parachute

Pale Green Quill Spinner

 

   

Be sure to visit our on-line store at

 http://www.flytyingworld.com/angling/index.html
for your tying needs.

 

 

Biot Colorado Green Drake Dun

Tier: A.K. Best

 

Hook:  Mustad 94831, size 12.

Thread:  Green Monocord.

Tail:  Elk back.

Body:  Wild turkey biot dyed Kelly green.

Wings:  Pair of medium dun hen neck tips.

Hackle:  Green grizzly and medium dun mixed.

 

 

Select another Fly.

 

Biot Colorado Green Drake Dun

Biot Hendrickson

Olive Quill Dun

Olive Quill Parachute

Pale Green Quill Spinner

 

Return to A. K. Introduction.

 

 

 

Biot Hendrickson

Tier:  A.K. Best

 

Hook:  Mustad 94840 size 12 to 16.
Thread:  Light tan 6/0.

Tail:  Coq de Leon, dyed light dun.

Body:  Wild turkey biot, dyed grayish green.

Wings:  Medium dun hen hackle tips.

Hackle:  Medium dun.

 

Select another Fly.

 

Biot Colorado Green Drake Dun

Biot Hendrickson

Olive Quill Dun

Olive Quill Parachute

Pale Green Quill Spinner

 

Return to A. K. Introduction.

 

 

 

Olive Quill Dun

Tier:  A.K. Best

 

Hook:  Mustad 94842, size 26 to 16.

Thread:  Light green 6/0.

Tail:  Coq de Leon, dyed light dun.

Body:  Stripped and dyed light green rooster neck hackle quill.

Wings:  Medium dun hen hackle tips.

Hackle:  Medium dun.

 

Select another Fly.

 

Biot Colorado Green Drake Dun

Biot Hendrickson

Olive Quill Dun

Olive Quill Parachute

Pale Green Quill Spinner

 

Return to A. K. Introduction.

 

 

 

Olive Quill Parachute

Tier:  A.K. Best

 

Hook:  Mustad 94840, size 26 to 16.

Thread:  Light green 6/0.

Tail:  Medium dun spade hackle or dyed Coq de Leon.

Wing Post:  White turkey T-Base segment.

Body:  Stripped and dyed light green Rooster Neck hackle quill.

Hackle:  Medium dun.

 

Select another Fly.

 

Biot Colorado Green Drake Dun

Biot Hendrickson

Olive Quill Dun

Olive Quill Parachute

Pale Green Quill Spinner

 

Return to A. K. Introduction.

 

 

 

Pale Green Quill Spinner

Tier:  A.K. Best

 

Hook:  Mustad 94840, size 26 to 16.

Thread:  Pale green 6/0.

Tail:  Smoky dun spade hackle fibers.

Body:  Pale green rooster neck hackle quill.

Wings:  White hen hackle tips.

Thorax:  Fine dry dubbing, slightly darker than quill.

 

Select another Fly.

 

Biot Colorado Green Drake Dun

Biot Hendrickson

Olive Quill Dun

Olive Quill Parachute

Pale Green Quill Spinner

 

Return to A. K. Introduction.

 

 

Be sure to visit our on-line store at

 http://www.flytyingworld.com/angling/index.html
for your tying needs.

 

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