BOOK REVIEW: “THE TROUT DIARIES”

by Jon Novoselac

Image of “The Trout Diaries” cover

Before a fishing trip, I like to read a little and conduct some research about my destination – what type of fish I can expect to encounter, where others suggest to fish, tips about flies, etc.

So prior to the last trip Amanda and I had, I planned to read “Destination Trout”. I found a few online descriptions that promised lots of juicy tidbits of information, not only about the North Island but the South as well. Perfect for researching Taupo I thought, and handy for planning a trip further south.

I tried to order it through a couple of online retailers, only to find it unavailable. So I bought Derek Grzelewski’s “The Trout Diaries” instead. Stroke of genius on the part of Derek… and me.

Derek, for such a sterling piece of writing.

Me, for, well, making such a good second choice.

I’m not the only one who recommends this book. Rob Sloan, editor of FlyLife magazine, says “I can’t remember reading a better fishing book. Couldn’t put it down. (It) will surely become a classic. Can’t recommend this book highly enough.”

Arranged in chapters that highlight the author’s year-long fishing journey through New Zealand, the book isn’t purely a technical guide, nor is it solely a genteel reflection of fly fishing. It’s both.

As mentioned, the book goes into detail about the South Island as well as the North. There is, for example, a great introductory map of Moeraki Lake and River, and some prose that corresponds with it.

“At times, while spotting fish and being unsure if your quarry is a trout or a trout-shaped stone, stick or weed, you look into and through the water so intently that when you close your eyes the scene does not change. Against the shut eyelids, you still see the moving water and the tantalising shape ghosting beneath its surface. Finally, convinced it is not a fish, you reel in and walk up close to it, and, sure enough, it is a piece of weed with no plausible fins and tail, though sometimes, just often enough to sow more doubts for the future, the weed darts off into the deep. This is exactly what happened with my first fish on the Moeraki.”

Just enough to whet the appetite of an armchair fisherman like me.

In addition to some superb writing, the book also features several dozen nicely composed photos taken by Grzelewski and more than a few lovely illustrations of flies, by Johnny Groome

Derek is now writing “The Trout Bohemia”, which will be released in August. You’ll find me first in line when it hits the shelves.

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