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About Patterns

by John Betts

Patterns is John's magnum opus and was written and refined over three decades. The book is hand-written in John's beautiful and inimitable calligraphy and filled with hundreds of watercolors and illustrations. Below are a few sample pages including the table of contents.


212 pages • softcover • calligraphy, watercolor and ink • 10" x 7.7" • printed in the USA • limited run of 200 books


Patterns is an amazing book capturing the essential patterns of John's fly-fishing life. Patterns not only refers to the flies themselves but woven in are patterns of insect and fish behavior, stream dynamics and even patterns on how John approaches life and fly-fishing. Patterns pays homage to Muriel Foster's fishing journal and diary - a work that greatly influenced John.

From John's dedication to Muriel Foster:

The title, Patterns, refers to several things. Some are obvious like the fly patterns, but others may not be as easy to see. For example there is the lettering, composition of the pages, style of the images, and that of the insects on or in the water.

I've tried to catch all of the mistakes and did not succeed. Some of the corrections are easy to see, all were done by cut-and-paste. I had three problems when I restarted the manuscript. First, the paper it was originally done on was no longer made; second, I'd worn out the pen - also no longer made, and last my hands didn't work as they used to. It was hard to get the patches to match up with what they were patched into.

Some people thought the final size was too small. It was enlarged a bit to its present form.

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Product Reviews

  1. A Book of Hidden Surprises! John Betts Patterns Book 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 3rd Jul 2020

    John Betts was one of the early leaders in the application of synthetic materials to creating flies. John's book shows how John's imagination came to solutions in applying the materials. Amongst the many ideals John incorporated synthetic materials into his fly fishing and tying, was his famous ZWing material Wings and Zelon. He incorporated Clear ZWing Wings combined with clear zelon dubbed Body he create an universal fly, which he successfully use in his fly fishing situations. He would create flies and meet the hatch by coloring them with the appropriate color magic markers that he carried.
    This is just one of the many surprises to be found. This just a beautifully published book. Besides compiling John's thoughts about fly tying, it packed with art that clarifies fishing tips. For anybody who is serious about fly fishing this is an essential book! For old times who read John's articles in various fly fishing and tying magazines, it will provide a great summary of those articles.

  2. A unique angling treasure 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 14th May 2018

    I'm so pleased l ordered this book.
    John has really influenced my fly tying and trouting over the years.
    Very artistic

  3. Awesome book 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 6th May 2018

    Great book with details and artwork of flies

  4. A wonderful stunner 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 6th May 2018

    A refreshing delight.


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