David Scholes was born in Melbourne in January 1923. His earliest fishing experiences were at Launching Place on the Yarra, first for blackfish, then in 1933 after watching some visitors practise the art, he attempted fly fishing for trout with a borrowed fly rod. It proved to be a pivotal moment. Without a mentor he taught himself casting and about stream craft. In his teenage years he increasingly sought opportunities to fish the waters around Melbourne, including the Goulburn River, Eildon Weir and the Upper Yarra at McVeighs.
Scholes enlisted in the air force in March 1942 and went on to be selected for pilot training. He writes in depth about his war experiences in his fine book, Air War Diary (1997).
Scholes returned to Australia after the war and married Patricia Nelson in 1946. Initially uncertain about a career, he trained in commercial art and from 1948 worked as a freelance artist. He took up fishing again at about the same time and often fished with Fred Stewart who was to become a lifelong friend.
In 1950 the Scholes family moved to Tasmania. Over time Scholes met anglers such as R.H. (Dick) Wigram, Reg Clayton, Max Christensen and Noel Jetson. It was a time when he learned much, particularly in the early years, and he scrupulously recorded his experiences in his famous diaries.
David Scholes produced his first book in 1961. Fly Fisher in Tasmania is now regarded as a classic. It was a remarkable accomplishment for a man still in his thirties. The Way of an Angler came out in 1962 followed by Trout Quest in 1969. By 2003 Scholes had completed some fourteen books.
His well-regarded Trutta the Trout was published in hardcover and soft cover but people often forget it was also published as a serial in The Australian Angler’s Fishing World, from March to August 1977.
David Scholes concluded the preface of his 1993 book, Trout and Trouting with these words: “Come, then, let us fish together.” These themes of encouragement, companionship and sharing permeate David Scholes’ writing. We accompany him to the water, we spend some time fishing, and from time to time we learn something new. Of the thousands who have had angling works published in Australia it is hard to think of one more loved and respected than David Scholes.