IN SEASON TASMANIA
Rob Sloane enjoys a season on Tasmanian lakes and streams.
Nothing to do with animal husbandry; this is a book about fly fishing for trout—specifically in Tasmania. Why In Season? Basically the book is a snapshot of a single Tasmanian fishing season, with words by Daniel Hackett and photographs by Brad Harris. The pair got together last season (2006/07) and, like any other fishing mates, grabbed every opportunity they could to wet a line. What sets these two apart, however, is that Brad is a professional photographer and Daniel is a professional guide, and they decided to record and self-publish their exploits in book form, come rain, hail or shine.

tailFor Brad, recently relocated to Hobart, it was an introduction to Tasmanian flyfishing which he tackled with the enthusiasm of any fishing-starved mainlander. For Daniel it was a chance to promote the here and now; not the fishing of old but the fishing that clients, or anyone else for that matter, can expect at the present time, depending on the season and conditions on the day.

So what you see is what you get: an honest and pictorially vivid portrayal of fly fishing in Tasmania as the season unfolds, covering a broad range of environments from meadow streams to wild headwater creeks and from popular lakes to wilderness tarns.

stream

A highlight for me is the emphasis on stream fishing, particularly mayfly, ant and grasshopper days spent in the northern midlands and the northeast. This has been a neglected aspect of the Tasmanian fishery and its associated literature for several decades now, and hopefully this book will help to reinvigorate the call to fish and protect the rivers. This emphasis is not surprising when considering Daniel’s river-related contributions to FlyLife in recent times and his reputation as a river guide. His text is lively, readable and contemporary.

However, In Season will inevitably be regarded as a fly-fishing picture book, and this is where it really shines. Brad Harris’s photographs are exceptionally rich and diverse, capturing the moment, the mood and the scene. There are hundreds of images from full page spreads to montages that fill all the gaps in between. From towering columns of ants on the wing to flaming campfires and gathering storm clouds, they speak volumes about fly fishing in Tasmania.

In scope the book is obviously limited to what could be achieved within a year, given the constraints of real jobs and relationships (at least I hope they still have relationships), and what was firing in terms of the fishing available at the time. Even so, I think you will be surprised by the results and the stories that unfold. The book culminates in a chapter portraying an end-of-season visit to Lake Meston led by the irrepressible Greg French. My favourite chapter, it’s a good yarn accompanied by evocative images of blokes and huts, wilderness lakes and autumn colours. Greg’s foreword is a real gem too.

brownFull points as well for producing the book in Tasmania and resisting the temptation to print off-shore. The quality reflects care and attention to detail that is rarely evident these days.

This 120 page large landscape format book is available in harcover with dust jacket for $79.95 (15/4/08 - now sold out), or softcover for $59.95. Copies are available direct from FlyLife (www.flylife.com.au or 0400 600 266).

Visit Brad Harris' website www.bhphoto.com.au

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