Individual taste in books varies as much as the favorite rod or fly. With that in mind, we hope to review books and videos from the ever-growing fly fishing world, and share them with you. Books will be the best of all worlds, new and old. Many of the old books are now available in reprint, and the wisdom contained is timely today. Others can be found in second-hand book stores, or by mail order dealers. As we find videos we feel are outstanding they will be included. Be assured, reviews are based on what we have actually read or viewed, and due to that fact, may not appear weekly.


Reviewed By Neil M. Travis - June 2, 2012

Book review - Trout Diaries

When I received this book I glanced at the title and quickly dismissed it as something that I would find nothing more than a boring recitation of someone's fishing trips. However, after I started reading it I could not put it down. The author, a self-described author and adventurer, escaped from his native Poland in 1986 by climbing over the mountains into Slovakia, and ultimately making his way to New Zealand. He is an accomplished writer, photographer, and fly fisher. He is a former professional fly fishing guide and founded a fly fishing academy in New Zealand.

In this book the author sets forth an account of a year dedicated to fly fishing in New Zealand. In the course of the book the author talks about the dissolution of his marriage, meeting a friend with terminal cancer, the death of his dog, and all the other highs and lows in his personal life. In the midst of these events he rolls out a series of fascinating and humorous anecdotes surrounding the year that he spent pursuing trout in New Zealand. He writes about rivers whose names I can't pronounce, describes places that I will not likely ever get to visit, and catches and loses fish that are measured in pounds not in inches. Through it all he is painfully honest, a characteristic that I find very compelling.

In his description of his final season as a fly fishing guide he wrote the following:

"To a riverside aesthete like me the world of pounds and inches multiplied by the number of fish caught was foreign. I had made a bad career choice, like a vegetarian trying to be a butcher."

His further description of many of the anglers that he attempted to guide speaks volumes, but you will have to purchase the book and read it for yourself.

The Trout Diaries is a great read. It is well written and well-illustrated with fly sketches by Johnny Groome. Buy it, read it, and then read it again.

The Trout Diaries
Author: Derek Grzelewski
196 pages, paperback edition, 2011
Illustrated with b/w illustrations, 34 color photos
Stackpole Books, $21.95 [Originally published by Bateman Publishing, NZ]
ISBN: 978-1-86953-724-1

Editor's Note: You can read the first chapter in Derek's book at his website  In the future, look for articles on fly fishing in New Zealand from Derek on FAOL.


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