Fly Fishing Book Review – Fly Fishing Austin & Central Texas
Perhaps I have been stating the obvious over the past decade when I said, “Austin is the epicenter for fly fishing in Texas,” but the new book Fly Fishing Austin & Central Texas by Aaron Reed, slams the door shut on that claim.
Many times, when one of those book packages arrive, it’s like Forest Gump’s box of chocolates, I never know what I am going to get. Books on fly fishing for bonefish, sailfish, Atlantic striper … so many books I love to have, dream of needing and probably, maybe, never will.
When I pealed the box open and found Reed’s book, I was unprepared for the title, the thick cover and 370 plus pages of thin, high quality paper sandwiched in between. Cosmetically, the book is extremely rich in photography, creatively designed and organized, and keyed nicely with design elements (icons) to call attention to details about waters, and just as important – your musical soundtrack to round out the experiences — critical stuff! Massive. Digging deeper inside? It gets even better.
This is actually a massive undertaking Reed shoulders in this brand new book, which is at once a snapshot in time and biblical in detail and depth respectively. I had to know how long it Aaron took to write his new book, and was surprised to hear he’d been working on since only 2017. That’s what I call quick in the book writing world!
Aaron Reed makes it plain in his introduction that water runs through his veins, from fly fishing the Central Texas Hill Country, to his day job driving a tugboat on the Texas Gulf Coast. Whatever you do, do not skip over the introduction!
TIMELY & BIBLICAL
When I say, “biblical,” all you have to do is look at the thorough, thoughtful and methodical way this book is assembled. If you want the insider, hot-spot-like information on places you have wanted to fly fish? This book is the “tell-all” you have been waiting for, since the Kevin Hutchison update to the book, “Fly Fishing the Guadalupe,” came out way back in 2013. Fly patterns? Yup. And at my age and stage in life, you can bet I will tie a complete box of these flies and put them in their own box, with a “Central Texas” label smacked on the lid. If Aaron is keeping any secrets, they must be classified as TOP SECRET, because there’s enough detail here to make some of the old dogs cringe.
When I say, “snapshot in time,” I am referring to names of; people, businesses and companies that are living within the dreams we outside the Central Texas fly fishing Mecca have come to know in the last decade and up to early 2020. Shouts out to YETI, Howler, Diablo … individuals, like Chris Johnson, Alvin & Lenée Dedeaux and more – will now find their names indelible, in print forever. And if my age and history has taught me anything, it’s that some references will remain, and some will dissolve. Even a rock is melted by time and water. And now, with the scourge of virus, even more names, business names – taken for granted – will almost certainly be relegated to the historical file forever.
What Hutchison’s update delivered in fine detail, is brought to you here again in sharp, but wide angle, focus across the Central Texas Region. What I am trying to tell you is; this book will change your plans for 2020 and beyond. It will change my plans as well.
Strategically (I think) near the center of his book, Aaron also includes what I consider the most important element we adults often leave out – youth. It’s easy for many of us older fly fishers to forget, either because we may have never had kids, or our kids are grown and gone; we need to bring along youth for this great adventure! It’s a little hard for Aaron to forget about youth as he has three young boys in tow, and they are getting a good dose of Dad’s outdoor passion. “Ankle-Biters & Other Wildlife,” is a chapter that is informative for those of us who may be so focused on fish that we forget the natural science lessons that are all around us every time we walk our narrow trails to water.
As avowed salty dog, from the salt and with explicit instructions to return me to the salt when I am all done; this book has reopened my mind to all the nuance and adventure that this book pours forth, like fresh, drinkable aquifer water from the rivers it defines. It’s not really that I “want” to sample these maps, and information for my own bent rod … it’s that I “have” to do it, and DO IT SOON.