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The Oldest Known Book on Fly Fishing is Coming to New York

Maggs Bros. Ltd.

Fly fishing has been recorded in history since the first or second century.

But writing about fly fishing didn’t happen until much later.

The oldest known collection of fly-tying patterns will be put on display by the American Museum of Fly Fishing April 5 at the Anglers’ Club of New York. The Haslinger Breviary has been dated to around 1452. The Breviary was owned by Leonard Haslinger, who was a priest in Austria.

A Breviary contains all of the liturgical texts needed for the church. Haslinger used the final four pages of his Breviary to record “recipes for catching fish such as trout, grayling and chub, in the summer months with artificial ties, baits and pots.”

Maggs Bros. Ltd.
Maggs Bros. Ltd.

The section written by Haslinger begins with detailed descriptions of feathers and silks to be used to make fly-tying hooks. The text includes descriptions of baits and attractants to catch fish with nets and traps.

The previous manuscript of earliest-known fly-tying patterns was the Tegernsee manuscript, which dates around 1500.

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The Oldest Known Book on Fly Fishing is Coming to New York