Book Review: Fly Fishing – Places to catch trout in Australia and New Zealand

In circles well beyond the small enclave of flyfishing, David Anderson is known as a seriously talented photographer. Fortunately for us, he also happens to be besotted with trout on fly, so he’s spent many years gathering some of the loveliest flyfishing pictures you’re ever likely to see. In many ways, this book is the result of the meeting of talent and that passion – a real feast of trout fishing images from countless trips to Australian streams and even some in New Zealand.


And speaking of streams, although the breadth of the book’s title suggests any Antipodean trout waters might be on the table, it soon becomes apparent that David’s first love is streams, and in particular, smaller streams. (Although the definition of ‘smaller’ is sufficiently rubbery to allow in some more moderate-sized waters like the Thredbo, North Esk and Turon rivers.) There’s an impressive spread of well-known and not so well-known streams and districts. Widely-familiar areas like the Snowy Mountains and north-east Victoria get a decent go, yet so do obscure but intriguing places like the Barrington Tops in northern New South Wales, or the Catlins region of New Zealand’s far south.

Among these destinations, is plenty of discussion about the gear to use when you get there. David reveals a distinct tackle-rat streak as he lovingly appraises a wealth of light-weight rods, reels, lines and tippets. There are also thoughts about flies and, sprinkled throughout the book, some decent advice about how to actually employ all this stuff to catch trout.

While it's the pictures that first catch your eye, this book is also a great read.

While it’s the pictures that first catch your eye, this book is also a great read.

You could be forgiven for thinking that a noted photographer’s book would be mainly a picture book padded with a bit of text, but in fact David’s writing more than stands up and the overall package would be much less without it. The descriptions are a delight and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny. After missing numerous takes on ‘Shitfight Creek’, our frustrated scribe wonders if, “…the rod’s too short, the day too long and it’s time to try the afternoon hatch at the Brumbys bar.” Or, on stumbling upon a massive hatch on an otherwise tough New Zealand day: “Well, you’ve never have seen two creaky, reeky, on the cusp baby boomers pull on waders and string up rods so fast in your life.”

Overall this is a generous book, beautifully (and fittingly) presented in a 25 x 21cm full colour format that does the pictures justice. However, time your dips into it carefully, or you might find yourself forsaking daily responsibilities, reaching for the car keys, and heading off for a bit of small stream hooky!
Published by New Holland, RRP $35.

Available at The Flyfisher. BUY NOW