Fly Fishing Austin & Central Texas
By: Aaron Reed
Reviewed by: Chris O’Byrne
Part of an angler’s metamorphosis from hobbyist to addict is a tendency to look over the horizon, dream about far away fish, then travel to catch them. To make these trips successful, contemplative fly fishers study and collect where-to-fish books. Aaron Reed’s Fly Fishing Austin & Central Texas joins this collection and sets a standard for this genre of hope.
In the set up to this attractive book, Reed says, “The point of this book is to provide a shortcut through (the effort of learning the area.)” He does so with a high-quality product complete with full color photos, informative captions, and a tangible spirit of community service.
Fly Fishing Austin provides information about the Texas Hill Country, including the geographic and cultural differences within the region. It describes the fly fishing community in and around Austin, and coaches readers on fishing with kids. In 13 informative pages, it explains the various bass species of the area. Then it provides in-depth explanations of other fish species in 24 more pages. It also includes a colorful listing of other animals that might have you carrying your copy to the water like a field guide, and a listing of the fly shops, fly fishing clubs, historic points, breweries, and restaurants of Austin’s off-water culture that might have you carrying it downtown like a Fodors. All of this is organized neatly based on geographic directions.
Reed’s good work has been recognized with Fly Fisher International’s 2020 Roderick Haig-Brown award and a 2020 National Outdoor Book Award. When I congratulated this Army veteran he only said, “I’m humbled to be mentioned along with the authors on those lists.”
The wide scope of information that Reed tackled with this book makes it interesting to several audiences. Surely if you are contemplating a trip, this book is for you. But I’ll bet a box of Llanolopes that Hill Country locals can also learn from it. Even if you aren’t planning a trip, check it out; Anglers who enjoy learning about the world of fly fishing (maybe those who own a collection of gazetteers) will read this book cover to cover. And any nature buff will make a joyful deep dive into the information on the flora and fauna around Austin. Even non-angling travelers will enjoy the off-water information.
Aaron Reed is an interesting person with a wide background. His current job as a tugboat mariner leaves him “retired a week at a time” so he can explore the fisheries and hotspots of the area. While he is a long-time author, this is his first book. Check out his biography at bluecollarflyfishing.com/about.
Fly Fishing Austin a creel full of good information. It will help you dream, plan, and enjoy trips to this area.