This anthology is a collection of 12 essays eloquently written by members of the Salisbury and District Angling Club.
A tremendous amount of knowledge and experience is to be found in these pages, the subjects covered ranging from ecology, river management, through to fishing tactics and fly choice. Each writer displays great affection and respect for the chalk streams they fish, writing about them with authority and enthusiasm.
The chapters tell of the history that runs through the veins of these waters but are not hidebound by the traditions that still haunt fly fishing today. They include expeditions for Grayling and forays into the world of fly fishing for coarse fish.
While this is clearly a book worthy of any trout fisherman’s library and will be of great interest to anyone who fishes clear water rivers and streams worldwide. It’s a great shame that the love and care put into the text hasn’t carried over into the rather dull and uninspiring photographs.
I am a little puzzled as to why anyone targeting coarse fish on a chalkstream needs to have fish identification plates to sort the Trout from the Dace. Surely anyone into such specialised fishing methods already knows what their target fish looks like? These plates are small on the page and the picture of a Dace ‘Leuciscus Leuciscu-British rod caught record: 1lb 5oz’ appears to be on a river board measuring device. I was taken in by the caption which implied that this was actually the record fish! The rather ‘distant’ photo of a possibly double figure Pike – Esox lucius (British rod caught record 46lb 13oz.) did give the game away!
I mention this not to suggest a deliberate deception on anyone’s part, more that these photos and their captions are misleading and more thought could have been given to their choice and appearance.
Chalk streams can be beautiful, tranquil places and not to have at least one good photograph of a typical watercourse in fine fettle, detracts badly from this otherwise fine book.
A great shame really as good quality photographs can help bring the text to life in the eyes of the reader and I think this was an opportunity missed. A good book which could have been a great book, but with a listed price of nearly 30 quid I expected better.