Fishing Photography

Eel or Trout?

First the good news, the 14th Issue of This is Fly on-line fly fishing magazine for the trendy, gung-ho fly fisher is out.

Not so good news from the magazine:

I have a real thing about some ‘poses’ taken when photographing fish. In this issue of This is Fly are two photographs that exemplify the “I will do anything to make this ugly fish look longer” attitude.

It it is based on the seemingly fashionable trick of the happy angler holding the head of the fish as close to the camera as possible and the  tail close to his body. The technique can work if the fish is in good condition, fit and fat. But if the fish is skinny and out of condition, oh dear, how sad.

So have a look at the photo of the trout, and I use the word ‘trout’ loosely, on page 51, is it a trout or an eel? No amount of camera tricks can disguise the fact that is a truly undernourished fish. Yes, I know it fits with the US obsession with measuring the length of the fish to the exclusion of all other factors that go to make up whether a trout is a good all round fish. Just make the fish look long in the photo. But the fish in this picture was so out of condition and hungry it would have chewed on a brick if you threw it in the water, and probably fought like a wet sock.

The felony is compounded on pages 43 and 107. Two more fugly fish, which no amount of camera chicanery using the ‘pose’ could make look good.

So guys, if the fish is shaped like an eel, under nourished and slab sided, do the decent thing; quietly un-hook it in the water and let it swim away to do some much needed feeding.  We promise not to watch.

Posted by Tony Bishop in fishing media, Fishing Photography, fly fishing

‘The Last Best Place’ – a celebration of fly-fishing in New Zealand.


In a word, ‘stunning’, is the best way to describe this new book of photographs on fly-fishing in New Zealand.

In his introduction, Bob South, award-winning editor of Fish & Game New Zealand magazine, makes a case that Zane Mirfin’s superb photography confirms that New Zealand, head-and-shoulders above anywhere else, warrants the tag The Last Best Place for fly-fishing. South maintains that Mirfin’s uncanny camerawork allows us all, even the most cynical, to know that, in terms of fly-fishing, we’ve certainly come nowhere near the stage where all is lost here, either in the pollution-susceptible lowland systems, in didymo-invaded mountain streams, or deep in the fragile backcountry. In fact, quite the opposite is true.
Zane Mirfin – fishing guide, author, and award-winning photographer, has captured the essence of what makes fly-fishing in New Zealand unique and special. Over 100 remarkable images reveal the drama, splendour, and excitement that is fly-fishing in New Zealand. The images stand alone as a feast for the eye of any angler – each worth more than a thousand words. Each telling its own story.

In place of the usual narrative, editor Bob South has selected quotations from angling icons, writers, and celebrities to complement each of these stunning photos of The Last Best Place.



Posted by Tony Bishop in Fishing Photography, New Zealand Fishing

More Cheats and Fishing

A little while ago I did an article on Cheats and Fishing, which outlined the lengths some fishermen will go, to get themselves in the record books, or a trophy for the wall.

There is another form of cheating, lets call it photo-cheating. We all know about holding a fish away from the body, and closer to the camera so the fish looks bigger. But a quick glance at the size of the hands holding the fish, versus the size of the head controlling the arms and hands manipulating the fish, expose this harmless enough nonsense.

Well I thought I had heard just about all the tricks known to man to fool a camera, and the people viewing the photo. Of course I had not. I was talking to a guide from Taupo the other night and he came up with a photo-cheat that is as remarkable in the simplicity of it’s execution, as it is in it’s complexity of planning.

My guide friend put the client on a nice fish, he caught it, beached it in the shallow water, and then took off his pack and pulled out a tiny rod butt section complete with small reel, laid it down beside the fish, and took the photo.

The guide was gob-smacked, “where did you get that rod butt?”
“Had it made “, said the client with no hint of embarrassment.

So this is where the maths comes in. A rough guide to the length of a hand-grip from base of the rod to the top of the hand-grip is around 25cm (10″) on 5 and 6 weight rods. The clients rod hand-grip was only around 15cm (6″) long, or 60% of the length of a normal rod.

So when the client laid his rod down beside it the fish looked 40% bigger than it would compared to a normal rod. A 45cm (18″) fish suddenly looks like 63cm (25″).

As those of you who have a smattering of maths, despite educators unwillingness to teach it, will realise this bit of photo-foolery will only work on small fish. A fish over 22″ would become 31” – even our cheating friend might blanch at that – but maybe not.

Posted by Tony Bishop in Articles and stories on fishing in general, Fishing Photography