Published Sep 30. 2016 - 7 years ago
Updated or edited Aug 13. 2018

Book review: GT

A Flyfisher's Guide to Giant Trevally

Wow! I just have to say wow! GT's are just... wow... and this book is like… wow!

Peter McLeod
Merlin Unwin Books
Publishing year: 
Reviewed by: 

Giant trevallys are all the rage. GT's are what a lot of people want to catch right now. I've seen enough photos and videos of GT's to know that they are the new black in fly fishing for good and for bad. The fastest, meanest, biggest, strongest, most massive fish you can chase on a tropical reef. Most of what I've seen is just… wow!
The fish seem almost too brutal to catch on a fly rod. In the book there's a table showing length to weight ratios for GT's, and it's saying that it starts with 60 centimeters (24”) and ends at 150 centimeters (60') and a whopping 150 lbs. Combining these sizes with the speed and brutal strength of the fish and the fantastic places that they live, makes them an obvious quarry for those who want some extreme fly fishing action.

So a book about GT's was bound to come, and this is definitely it. Written by Peter McLeod, the McLoed part of Aardvark McLeod, a name probably recognized by many, being one of the top fishing trip agencies in the world.
Now, GT fishing isn't the most approachable fishing for the average Joe. You might think that going out for bonefish and tarpon in the Caribbean or chasing dorado in South America is is exotic, but GT's have a tendency to prefer rough and exposed reefs on distant atolls and require long, expensive travels to faraway places to reach. It's mostly both difficult and expensive to get to cast a fly to a GT.
This, unsurprisingly, hasn't kept McLeod from taking part in some pretty awesome GT fishing. He has experience with this fishing to an extent, which only few people have. And it has quite unquestionably given him very good knowledge about the places you should go to fish for them. He knows the fishing, the places and the people to talk to.
So armed with experience and knowledge, McLeod wrote a book. And he did that very well. So well actually, that it earned one of the rare Ultra Global Class ratings here.

a book about GT's was bound to come

Let me tell you why.
First of all it's a monograph on GT's. A defining work, covering for the first time the subject in depth and detail, and covering basically every aspect of GT fly fishing.
Secondly it's done right in essentially all ways: structure, writing, photography, layout.
It covers natural history, the history of the fishing, how to tackle up and what flies to use, how to find and pursue the fish as well as how to handle them and the environment they live in. And it covers in detail 16 of the best GT locations on the planet, each location described by an angler with a very detailed knowledge about the place.

The book has a suitable blend of anecdotes and facts, making it both entertaining and educating to read. It's very useful for those actually venturing out to chase the fish, but also worth reading for those of us who will probably never get the chance to cast a fly to a giant trevally. It's written with great enthusiasm, and very clearly conveys the joy the author finds in this kind of fishing.
The photos are nothing less than stunning. Sure, it's a grateful subject to shoot: huge fish caught by broadly smiling people in colorful clothes standing in clear water under bluer than blue skies – with a few palms and a little white coral sand thrown into the mix. A dream subject for a photographer, but still very well orchestrated and selected by the author. OK, some images have been tuned almost beyond good taste with extreme saturation and color and adjusted to almost look like paintings. But they do the job very well, and there's an almost overwhelming number with 230 photos distributed on 224 pages, meaning no page spread without at least one photo.

People in colorful clothes holding up big fish
Peter McLeod

And speaking of spreads, the book has been laid out perfectly with both consistency and variation. It has a great basic grid and text layout combined with some nice touches like images fading out into a solid color under the text, other places acting as vignettes and other places again creating beautiful visual islands in the text, perfectly illustrating each point or just depicting the specific people talked about or the specific situation described.
The first book that came to mind as I started reading this one was Randall Kaufmann's iconic Bonefishing!, which had the exact same effect on me. This book isn't quite as intimidating with its smaller format and fewer pages, but that does on the other hand also lead to the much more manageable price 30 UK£ or about 40 US$. Not a cheap book, but still half the price of Kaufmann's.

For people wanting to chase GT's it's a must. For people wanting a look into some exiting saltwater fishing, it's an obvious title to put on the list of books to buy. For the rest of us, it's a book worth reading for the entertainment and wow-factor alone.


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