Shadows on the Stream Bed

A celebration of fly fishing by South Africa's most celebrated flyfisherman. Yet you don't have to be a flyfisher to enjoy the people and places he describes so lovingly. Tom's writing is sometimes deep, sometimes hurries along, is often lyrical and beautiful, always sparkling - a lot like the crystal streams of the high mountains of South Africa where the brown and rainbow trout thrive.

He has more than anyone in the history of South African flyfishing walked and waded every metre of these streams, kilometre after kilometre. Fishing each pool, run and riffle on those both well-known and unnamed - from the finest blue ribbons to those that have hardly the width or length of a piece of packing string. This book continues his journey.

Tom Sutcliffe has written five previous books on fly fishing and fly tying including the best selling Hunting Trout and The Elements of Fly Tying. He has fly fished in every corner of South Africa and many places around the world.

  • Books I have written

    I have written six books on fly fishing and carry stock of three of them, The Elements of Fly Tying, Shadows on the Stream Bed and Hunting Trout (second edition). The first three books are out of print.

    The Elements of Fly Tying, Shadows on the Stream Bed and Hunting Trout can be purchased directly from me and at your request I will personalise your copy and add a small pen and ink sketch at no additional price. Many of the fly shops also stock copies.

    I post each book in a purpose made cardboard container for safe passage and will refund you or replace a book if it is in any way damaged in transit.

    How to get your copy and the cost of the books


    Each of my books sell for R205. That used to include packaging and postage within South Africa, but since the price went through the roof it no longer does. Please add R45 to each order. This will cover any parcel of up to three books.

    I get many orders from overseas buyers and provide an accurate estimate of postal costs in the relevant currency involved.

    Obtaining a book

    Simply email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your request and any instructions regarding personalisation. I will post the book to you along with the tracking number and the link for you to follow the book’s progress through the post office on line. Payment can be made up front, preferably by internet transfer, or on receipt of the book. My banking details are

    Freestone Press
    Standard Bank
    Code: 025009
    Account No: 071 483 861

    I get many orders from overseas buyers and always provide them with an exact quote on the postage costs to foreign countries.

    About my books

    The Elements of Fly Tying - 206 pages with every fly tying step illustrated with line drawings

    With the writing of The Elements of Fly Tying I had only two things in mind - to take a complete novice and teach him or her all the key basic fly tying principles, step by step, in easily understandable stages. The intention is that after you have read this book you will be able to tie any fly you want and will have a command of all the basic principles of fly tying. My second intention was to cover the most popular flies used in South Africa today and to possibly teach the 'old hands' a few neat tricks!

    Hunting Trout – 447 pages with copious pen and ink sketches

    Now in its second edition and sporting a new cover, Hunting Trout has become a best seller in fly fishing circles in South Africa and abroad. My intention with the book was to distil what I have learned in a life spent fly fishing, but at the same time, make the book readable and good fun. It seems from the reports and steady sales ever since that I achieved my first objective. I also wanted the book to introduce anglers to the vast landscapes and superb fly fishing in the Eastern Cape Highlands of South Africa, around towns like Barkly East and Rhodes and over across the mountain, around Maclear and Ugie. As it turned out that objective was also achieved. I have had countless emails from anglers, most of whom I don’t know, thanking me for the book and telling me what a great discovery it helped them make!

    Shadows on the Stream Bed – 383 pages with many pen and ink sketches

    This is my latest book and it takes up where Hunting Trout left off. After writing Hunting Trout and seeing it published, a whole heap of omissions came to mind – like fly fishing photography for example – plus I discovered there was a lot more I wanted to say about fly tying and fishing techniques than I had said in the 400 plus pages of Hunting Trout!