Book Reviews
Book Review: Fly Fishing the Stock Market

A glossy book tries to draw a parallel between angling and trading

What do trading and fly fishing have in common? Both require passion, patience and persistence; at least according to fisherman-turned-trader Stephen Morris who has penned Fly Fishing the Stock Market (Wiley; $75; 280 pages). He calls these traits the three Ps. However, there’s an important point to note: this book is purely about technical analysis and not about ‘bait fishing’ (i.e., long-term investing; fishermen who just cast their fishing net and simply wait). It is purely for short-term traders or ‘fly fishers’. Drawing upon his experiences as a fisherman, Morris explains how to approach trading the way he approaches fly-fishing. He explains that, in order to catch a good fish (or a good trade) one needs to know his ecosystem (or markets) and be extremely observant, even for tiny signals in the lake, so to speak.

The chapters are very interestingly titled, with fishing terminology, and sequenced in linear fashion, right from the assembling of the ‘fishing toolbox’ (i.e., tools that the trader should possess) to the final catch (close a trade). The book has several analogies with fishing that are cited to illustrate a point. For instance, in one chapter titled “Fishing Seasons/Market Seasons”, he talks about how fishing strategy varies in different times of the year and the same applies to stock markets as well. He also talks about the importance of keeping a trading journal, just as a fisherman keeps a fishing journal. This helps traders improvise upon successes and mistakes alike.

Printed on art paper, in colour and full of illustrations (both of which explain the book’s high sticker price and weight), it is definitely not for beginners. Once you open it, you will be blown away by the fancily illustrated charts that could scare off even the most seasoned trader. Even though the publisher claims the book to be ‘accessible’, it isn’t. I feel it is more targeted at traders who’ve had a fair amount of knowledge of the markets and who seek more insights into the trading process, based mainly on technical analysis.

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