Gary Joll is justifiably regarded as an iconic figure in New Zealand hunting circles. Perhaps best known for his landmark publication Big Game Hunting in New Zealand, which had a major influence in putting this country on the destination list of many of the world’s most prestigious big-game hunters, Gary has a number of other notable publications to his name as well.
The story of how he and Ron Spanton, with their respective wives Sue and Alison, battled against the odds to establish Lilybank Lodge, a premier safari hunting operation, is described brilliantly in Bulls, Bucks and Bureaucrats.
More recently, Gary has produced Fifty Years of Trophy Hunting and has even dived into the world of fiction with Return to Lucifer Creek.
Tales with Tails is something of a departure from the norm for this author as it includes quite a number of stories about Gary’s other passion – fishing. This book is a delightful collection of essays which only hint at the amazing life he has lived, all written in a pithy, witty and hugely entertaining style. Not one to mince words, Gary takes the odd swipe at some of the inept, pompous, chauvinistic or outright dangerous people he’s encountered over the years. Most stories have a significant message or unusual twist, which keeps the reader turning the pages.
Gary has been fishing all his life, but these days, his passion is chasing monster trout and the odd salmon in the Mackenzie Country canals. An inveterate trophy hunter, I don’t think he’ll be satisfied until the 40lb barrier has been broken – and then, of course, he’ll be striving to push the envelope even further. His trophy fishing journey is recounted in the book.
If there’s one thing about Gary, it’s his ability to relate to people young and old and to gently impart words of wisdom. Many a canal novice has benefitted from Gary’s sage advice, and it’s clear that this is how his guiding operation became so successful. This is a highly recommended book by a master storyteller.
By Gary Joll
Publisher The Copy Press; 185 pages