Book reviews

Book Review

Beneath the Black Water by Jon Berry

ISBN 978 0 7524 5837 3

For those of us who love fishing the Scottish Highland Lochs - trampling across the wild unforgiving moors with only a compass to guide us, looking for that hidden Loch, maybe never been fished before and just waiting for us - this is a great story, so not to spoil it I will read you the introduction only.

“When I was very young and on holiday in Scotland, my cousin told me about giant trout that lived in small numbers at the bottom of the deepest lochs.

They were called Salmo Ferox, and they were rumoured to be uncatchable.

In his twenties, wholly by accidentally, Jon Berry caught one. This led to an obsession that would cost him every pound he had to his name, a few thousand he did not have and his home.

It would take him to Scotland, Cumbria the wildest parts of Ireland in the company of a disparate band of fanatics - alcoholics, mountain men, scientists, tree-planting eco-warriors and one genuine soothsayer. Not all of them survived”.

This is not just a story of a fish, albeit a cannibalistic giant trout of the glacial lochs, it is a tale of compulsion and escape, and the author’s rediscovery of a landscape and a clan, and willing descent into madness.

It’s a wonderful read.

Andrew Ayres

CFD, WFD and Grayling Society member.

Book Review


The Guild is to run flytying courses starting in January 2021/22 (see the Programme page on this website).   If you are a beginner or need to brush up your techniques, there are lots of books out there which will help, but do have a look at this one (available from Gloucester Library if you can’t find it elsewhere):


Fly Tying for Beginners by Peter Gathercole

ISBN 1-84513-118-5 published 2005 by Aurum Press Ltd


It comes in a small spring-bound book approx. 6” x 8” and has sections on tools & materials and a large section on Core Techniques such as spinning deer hair, dubbing, parachute hackles, etc, then clear descriptions of how to tie 50 top flies including nymphs, wet and dry flies, streamers and hairwings, clearly illustrated with excellent photographs.   There is also a Fly Directory showing all the 50 flies so you can spot which one you’d like to tie at a glance.


Have a go!


Book Review
The Brook compiled by Roger Smith
ISBN 9781904784906, available from Coch-y-Bonddu Books
This book is a series of fishing essays by Dan Asterley (1911-1994) compiled by Roger Smith.
16 years ago I became a member of the Leigh & Cradley Brook fishing syndicate with 28 other members.  At an AGM on a cold November evening, we sorted out the coming season bank clearing rota and membership fee, which was set at £25.00, and is still the same today, as all we must give the seven land owners is a bottle at Christmas and a small donation to a charity.
So, when I was asked if I wanted to read this book, which is all about Dan’s fishing stories on the same Leigh Brook - a long time before I ever fished it - I jumped at the chance.
This book is about one mans’ love of this water, his whole life fishing it, the ups and downs told in a way you won’t see written in fishing books today.
These short essays were found in Dan’s belongings a while after he passed away, and in a chance meeting with a relative, Roger Smith was asked if he would like to read them and see if he could compile a book on them, and this is the result.
It’s a wonderful book told in a very down to earth way. You won’t be able to put it down once you start. It is compiled by Roger and photos by Roy McAdam, who are both syndicate members.
Andrew Ayres
CFD,WFD, Grayling Society member.


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