App Review: Fishing Flies Encyclopedia

One of the many benefits of being a hot shot fly fishing blog keeper is the number of requests to review gear. Unfortunately I’ve never been approached with such numbers of requests, although I do occasionally get an email from someone asking me to review smaller ticket items, such as say, sunscreen. Well, I think I’m making progress in that regard because I recently had an opportunity to review an iPhone app: Fishing Flies Encyclopedia.

The good news is that 6 months ago I crawled out from under my rock, ditched my 6 year old flip phone and got all fancy, which is to say that I do in fact own an iPhone 4 (3G service). However, I am not a power user–I actually put my phone down several times a day and even forget where it is from time to time. Therefore I am not a big app guy (I have a few, but none that I’ve paid for). At $6.99, Fishing Flies Encyclopedia probably isn’t something I’d have gone out on my own and paid for, but I was given a free copy to try out with the understanding that I would post a review.  So here goes.

First off, a description of the app says, “Collins Fishing Flies enables the fly-fisher and fly-tyer to select new flies for their local waters, or to select flies when heading off, to far-off rivers, lakes and seas.” I’m not likely to consult this app as a guide for selecting flies I want to use on a specific river, but it is a source of interesting information. Other users may find different ways to benefit from this app.

The first thing I did once I installed the app was jump right to the listing for Woolly Bugger.  I’m a stickler for the proper spelling, which includes two “l”s (woolly). If it’s spelled any other way, I tend to lose interest immediately. Fortunately, my interest continued (although I was a bit surprised not to see olive featured as a main color variety).

The title of the app suggests that it is exactly what it is: an encyclopedia of fishing flies. It’s just like what one would expect to find in a set of Encyclopedia Brittanica, if you remember what those were.  However, this encyclopedia takes up considerably less room than a full volume of books, and is actually richer in content.  According to the description on the website, “there are over 1300 photographed flies, together with tying and fishing notes and an extensive bibliography of fishing flies.” The  main menu for the app consists of: Fly Gallery; Fly Encyclopedia; Quiz; The Art of Fly Dressing; Index.

The Fly Gallery contains a list of 41 categories covering every grouping of flies I could imagine (actually more than I could imagine).

The Fly Encyclopedia contains an Introduction to fishing flies, Fly Tying Materials, Parts of a Fly, The Earliest Flies, and 33 categories of flies,

The Quiz is just that. I failed, miserably.

The Art of Fly Dressing is a section that talks about those who tie, why they tie and what they tie.

The Index is a comprehensive, alphabetical listing of of all content, with the ability to search by All, Author, Books, Family and Fly.

The amount of content is impressive. The design and navigation is pleasing and sensible. The work that went into creating this app makes it easy to understand why it’s not free, or 99 cents. I’m not sure if at $6.99 they’ll sell as many copies as they could. It might be better to drop the price and go for volume sales. But for the fly fishing junky who has everything, $6.99 isn’t much to spend on something that you may not need but should probably have just to round out your obsession. After all, nothing about fly fishing is rational. Based on how poorly I did on the Quiz, I should probably spend some time with this app. 2 out of 10 correct–quite an unaccomplishment I’d say.

As for performance of the app, I had no problems. Seems stable. One thing I would like to see added to the app would be the inclusion of the Olive the Woolly Bugger series of books in the Books section of the Index. The Olive books may not be specific to fly tying, but they certainly are a first introduction to fly fishing, and they do contain photographs of actual flies. Maybe the developer will issue a kid version of the app in the future.

Fishing Flies Encyclopedia is available for purchase on iTunes.



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