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Congratulations Winners of FlyLife Topshot Photo Competition 2018


Congratulations to all the finalists and entrants in the FlyLife Topshot Photo Competition 2018.  The standard and number of entries were extremely high and the judges found it challenging to select six finalists.

Thank you to everyone who voted during the competition, it's been a fantastic event and we will be back next summer.

Voting was opened to the public to have your say in the winners of this year's FlyLife Topshot Photo Competition. Due to invalid activity on some public votes received, FlyLife has carefully selected winners taking into account the judges selections and public voting.


Keep your eye out for the upcoming photo feature in FlyLife Magazine winter edition to see some of these amazing entries in full print!

A huge thank you to our judges - David Anderson, Bill Bachman, Brad Harris, Josh Hutchins, Jess McGlothlin, and Peter Morse

Also thank you to our sponsors for their prizes - Mayfly TackleOrvisScientific AnglersFly Odyssey Australia  and Tonic Polarised Eyewear


And the winners are...


1st Prize:  Robert Dotson - "Heaven & Earth"
RobertDotson RangiAoHeavenAndEarth 20180216 000723 RDotson FlyLife 02700 1920
Robert Dotson, Utah, USA

"Heaven & Earth"
 One of the luckiest days of my life on the south island. This double-digit brown sipped the dry literally as we heard the throbbing heli blades rounded the corner for our pick-up. Fate or dumb luck? Yummy either way. The pilot waited a few minutes while I shot some quick shots and then anxiously took off as winds were kicking up in the gorge.

2nd Prize:  Bryon Chamberlin - "Rage"
BryonChamberlin Rage 20180218 225401 Rage 1920
Bryon Chamberlin, Florida, USA

A tarpon's last attempt at throwing the fly before being landed. I was fortunate to capture this image while doing double duty as photographer and skiff driver. I saw that the tarpon was about to do one last jump, I took my hands off the wheel and throttle, grabbed the camera, a split second to acquire the subject, focus and release the shutter. Then after landing the tarpon for my friend and drying off. I grabbed the camera to review my shots. I got my "Yes!!" moment after zooming in on the image and seeing that I got tarpon in frame and sharp. Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good...

3rd Prize:  Mark Kelly - "Prospecting"
MarkKelly Prospecting 20180124 052431 MP Snowies Apr17 0159 30cm 1920
Mark Kelly, Mittagong, Australia

This stretch of the creek looked way too good not to have a flick into. In any case it does not matter what the fishing is like, it is enjoyable spending time with mates.

Runners Up Finalists
ArekKubale BurnNoBridges 20180225 115919 001 1920
Arek Kubale, Gdansk, Poland "Burn No Bridges"
SimeonPatience friendswhoCzechtogetherstaytogether 20180215 073512 Simeon Patience 1920
Simeon Patience, Auckland, NZ "Friends who Czech together, stay …stay together"
FrederikLorentzen SpringCreekwonders 20180221 205837 4E3064C6 0FD6 4E08 B189 1D669E5D9015 1920
Frederik Lorentzen, Sakskøbing, Denmark "Spring Creek wonders"


FlyLife Topshot Photo Competition 2018

The Competition

The FlyLife Topshot Photo Competition celebrates fly fishing photography in all its glorious forms. Landscapes, trophy shots, macro images, still life and portraits all have powerful roles in telling great FlyLife stories throughout the years.

Now it's your turn to get your camera out in the field and find that special composition in a fly fishing setting. With an esteemed panel of judges to select the top shots, this is your opportunity to have your photo run in FlyLife, one of the most respected fly fishing magazines in the world for its quality of writing and imagery for over 20 years.

So what are you waiting for, start shooting today and get your entries in!

Complete an Entry Form. All entries must be received by the

Entries Deadline Sunday 25th February 2018.


Our sponsors Mayfly TackleFly Odyssey Australia  and Tonic Polarised Eyewear are putting up some fantastic prizes.

1st Prize

Orvis Helios 3

Accurate from ANYWH3RE The Helios 3 has silenced all the variables

Choose from 5 or 8 weight in Finesse or Distance

Scientific Anglers Amplitude with AST Plus

Featuring the revolutionary AST Plus slickness additive for superior shooting ability and increased durability.

Choose from 5/8wt- MPX, Trout, Anadro, Grand Slam & Bonefish

Fly Odyssey Australia

Fly Odyssey Australia – is providing an exciting fly fishing travel adventure.

Fish the expansive flats of Gladstone, Queensland chasing Permit, Golden and Giant Trevally, Longtail Tuna, Queenfish and Tuskies to name a few. With little pressure, and clear water it offers great sight fishing opportunities throughout the year.

Includes return domestic flights from Brisbane to Gladstone Queensland with Qantas Airways,  3 night’s accommodation at Tannum Sands holiday park,  and two days fully guided fly fishing charter with Gladstone Fly and Sportfishing, for one angler. Also included is a Fly Odyssey flats cap and pre-trip guide (subject to availability, offer expires 30th April, 2019)

Tonic Polarised Eyewear 

Polarised sunglasses that cut glare without losing clarity - one pair

3 years subscription to FlyLife Magazine, plus a FlyLife 'One Life' tee and cap

2nd Prize

Orvis Ultralight Waders

Orvis Ultralight Waders Remarkably lightweight, no compromise in durability.

Tonic Polarised Eyewear 

Polarised sunglasses that cut glare without losing clarity - one pair

2 years subscription to FlyLife Magazine, plus a FlyLife 'One Life' tee and cap

3rd Prize

Scientific Anglers Amplitude with AST Plus

Featuring the revolutionary AST Plus slickness additive for superior shooting ability and increased durability.

Choose from - MPX, Trout, Anadro, Grand Slam, Bonefish, Tarpon & Big Water

1 year subscription to FlyLife Magazine, plus a FlyLife 'One Life' tee and cap



Amateur and professional photographers can enter. You may enter as many times as you like, however, only one of your shots can be selected as a finalist so select your entries with care. This is a competition of skill, not chance, so entering many times does not increase your chance of winning, it's all about selecting your absolute best.

All you need to do is fill out an Entry Form for each entry, attach your photo and accompanying details, and agree to the Rules and Conditions of the competition. It's that easy.

All entries must be received by the Entry Deadline 11:59pm AEST on Sunday 25th February 2018.


Our expert judging panel will select six finalists, from all entries received.

The criteria are subjective and will include:

  • composition
  • lighting
  • technical skill
  • uniqueness of the overall photograph
  • relevance to fly fishing in Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific and surrounds

The six finalists will then be posted on Facebook and Instagram where the public will vote on the winners via the most likes (or reactions) for each individual photo.

Public Voting - Winners

Voting will be open to the public on Saturday the 3rd March 2018 AEST and close at 6pm AEST on Friday the 9th March 2018. So be sure to have your friends, family and followers vote for you during the voting period if you make the list of finalists.

Finalists and winners will be notified directly. Winners will be announced via social media and presented as a special FlyLife Photo Feature.


Digital images should: 

  • Have a longest dimension of at least 3,000 pixels and be saved at 300 dpi (Around 10" or larger)

  • Adobe RGB colour space

  • Image files should be jpeg format – medium compression,

  • No larger than around 6 megabytes to ensure a fast upload experience (max 12MB)

  • RAW images will not be accepted

Photography Tips

If you are looking for some tips on how to shoot great fly fishing photos, be sure to check out Brad Harris' Better Fishing Photography article.

Judging Panel

Our experienced judging panel are experienced photographers and fly fishers in their own right and are regular contributors to Flylife.

Click on the judges' names below to view their profiles and top photography tips.

 David Anderson

Photo: David Anderson

David Anderson’s music photography career has spanned nearly thirty years; from local pub bands to touring with the Rolling Stones and has shot dozens of record covers and tour posters. He’s worked for most mainstream Australian magazines and newspapers and many more from around the world. In portrait photography he’s posed up a huge collection of film stars, rock stars, pop princesses, divas, boy bands, super-models, not-so-super models, legends, wannabes and even the Queen. In fly fishing photography he has been a regular Flylife contributor since near the magazines start with numerous feature articles and six front covers.

More on David Anderson...

David's Top Tip

"Fly fishing photography is always as much about the landscape as the fish and I think it’s very important to properly show off the surrounds when shooting." 

 Bill Bachman

Photo: Bill Bachman

My mother and dad taught me to cast a fly when I was a boy and I grew up fishing the mountain streams of northern Pennsylvania. Both were very good fly fishers, my mother usually being the one who caught the most or the biggest. She can still cast a fly at the age of 90, and the last thing my dad did before he died at 88 was to go on his annual fishing trip in the Yellowstone region of Montana.

You would think with a pedigree like that I would be an expert, but I have always approached fishing the same way that I have photography – unscientifically, enthusiastically and for the most part intuitively. Despite almost 60 years of tramping up streams I still don’t know much about the habits of trout or the life cycles of insects, I don’t tie my own flies, I only know about three knots, and I have used the same 7’9” 5-weight Orvis rod since sometime in the 1980s. But as in photography, it’s all about reading the scene in front of you. It doesn’t much matter what camera you use, and anyway it’s not the camera that takes the picture.

Professionally I have been a freelance writer/photographer for 40 years. I’ve produced several books of my own, contributed to dozens of others and worked for a variety of magazines around the world, including Australian Geographic and FlyLife, to name a couple favorites. Between 2010 and 2016 I taught photography at Melbourne’s Photography Studies College, including four years in charge of the Advanced Diploma major in photojournalism. Currently I am developing a national training program for judges at the Australian Institute of Professional Photography’s annual Professional Photographer of the Year competition.

One thing I have learned in a lifetime spent in pursuit of the perfect picture (whether as craftsman or critic) is that trophy photographs are no less elusive than trophy trout.

Excellence is rare and the quest never ends.

More on Bill Bachman...

Bill's Top Tip

"According to one estimate, a total of 1.2 trillion photographs were taken in 2017, or roughly 160 snaps per person on the planet. Most were selfies, of course (probably up there too are photographs of fish looking bigger than they really were). The vast majority – about 85% - were taken with a smartphone. Another five per cent were taken on tablets. That means only ten percent were taken with that old-fashioned device, a camera. If you happen to be among the elite who still own one of those, make an effort. Smartphone photography is fine if all you ever want to do is view the photos on the phone or post them on social media. For pretty much every other purpose, the convenience and connectibility of a smartphone is still outweighed by the superior capabilities of a good camera/lens combination."

"Carry that camera as often as you can. Moments, like fish, are fleeting. You usually get only one chance to catch them. Keep your camera accessible and pre-set it for the conditions of the day so you can use it quickly if an opportunity arises."

"Content. Composition. Lighting. That’s really all you have to keep in mind, but you need all three in some measure to make a good photograph."

 Brad Harris

IMG 3729BHarris 970
Photo: Brad Harris

Brad Harris grew up in Cooma, NSW and learned to fly fish on the Snowy Mountain lakes and the blue-ribbon streams of the Monaro. This technical fishing background gave him a big head start when he moved to Tasmania 12 years ago.

Brad has worked as a pro photographer since leaving high school and submitted his first article to FlyLife in Issue 17 (1999). He began part-time as the magazine's staff-photographer for issue 42 (2005) and now works full-time for the magazine, taking care of pre-press duties, some graphic design and website content. He is relishing the chance to branch out into video work for the magazine and in his own sideline commercial photography business, BH Photo.

More on Brad Harris...

Brad's Top Tip

"Have your gear ready - sort out your exposure and settings before the action starts; the last thing you want is to be fiddling with technical rubbish while you’re trying to make a connection with the subject or catch the moment."

"Shoot P mode if you’re new to photography so that you can concentrate on what makes a great image, not a great exposure."

"Make sure your camera is always close at hand and available in an instant."

"And if you really want to hone your photography, don’t even take your rod."

 Josh Hutchins

IMG 2148Backcountry JH cmp 970
Photo: Josh Hutchins

Since catching his first trout on fly at the age of 13, Josh has spent years travelling the globe in search of the best, and often most exotic, fly-fishing experiences.

Josh has fished in Argentina, Thailand, Exmouth, Slovenia, Spain, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Tasmania & Mongolia – with many more trips planned.

Closer to home, Josh is well-known for his knowledge of the Blue Mountains and Central West of NSW. Growing up in these areas, Josh has spent 20 years exploring the local streams and discovering its best kept secrets. Through his guiding service, Josh is passionate about seeing groups and individuals develop their skills in fly-fishing, and grow a love for the sport.

As a writer and photographer, he is a regular contributor to FlyLife Magazine as well as various other online editorials. Thousands have signed up for his daily updates through his social media presence, Aussie Fly Fisher, and journey with him in his travel and fly-fishing adventures.

More on Josh Hutchins...

 Jess McGlothlin

Photo: Jess McGlothlin

Jess McGlothlin is happiest on the road in the gritty, far-off corners of the world. She sees her mission as a simple one: tell stories. Working as a freelance photographer and writer in the outdoor industry; while on assignment in the past years she’s learned how to throw spears at coconuts in French Polynesia, dodge saltwater crocodiles in Cuba, navigate uninvited sharks in Samoa, and document stand-up paddleboard first-descents on Peruvian Amazon tributaries. Based in southwestern Montana, she can usually be found trying to juggle a fly rod, a notebook, and a camera.

Lucky enough to start fly-fishing as soon as she could hold a rod, she spent an inordinate amount of time on the water as a toddler, a trend which has only continued as an adult. She’s worked in the fly-fishing industry around the United States and internationally, in capacities from lodge management to copywriter. As a freelance photographer, clients include Patagonia, Outside, Orvis, Costa Sunglasses, YETI, The New York Times,The Wall Street Journal and a host of other commercial and editorial enterprises.

Subject coverage ranges from Western rodeos to fly fishing far above the Arctic Circle in Russia. She has proven competence covering everything from international advertising campaigns to multi-day survival training sessions in remote, challenging environments to exploratory fishing trips. Her work has been featured in gallery shows in Russia, Germany, Israel and the States, and she has received international awards for both her writing and photography.

More on Jess McGlothlin...

Jess' Top Tip

Develop your own style. The end goal is for someone to be flipping through the latest fishing magazine, lay eyes on one of your images and immediately know who shot it. A distinct shooting style sets you apart from your peers — and it’s something editors and commercial clients will look for. I’ve gotten some jobs because of my style, and had clients turn me down for others for the same reason. Sometimes it’s a good fit, other times it’s not, and that’s okay. Your own style is a personal decision; don’t just copy how someone else shoots. Experiment, see what feels right, and make it your own.

Take notes. So, you want to be a photographer… forget all that writing stuff. Okay. You should still pack a notebook and pen (or a phone with note-taking capabilities). Take notes — names, places, distances, fish habitat, funny phrases, quotes. Good, complete captions are key — editors will appreciate if you have the correct information, and plenty of it. Even if you’re just sharing images on social media with your friends, knowing the story behind the photos makes for much more engaging content.

Just shoot. So, you’re not flying halfway around the world to cover an exotic fishery. Grab a friend and head to your neighborhood river. Play with light, play with fish, play with moving your feet and capturing different angles. Just play. Shoot subjects other than just fishing. You’ll be amazed at some of the images that you come away with. The image below was the result of just that — playing. While on assignment at Alaska’s Bristol Bay Lodge, I made friends with several of the guides, telling stories and sharing ideas for interesting photos over the week to come. I left to photograph out-camps for a few days and when I arrived back at the lodge, the guys had created this “guide’s desk” in one of the boats, completely outfitted with accessories and a vise. We waited until soft, almost midnight light came around, then got into the boats, out on the lake and just played with it. Don’t be afraid to have a little fun — it usually pays off in your images.

 Peter Morse

MorsieTipPic 970
Photo: Peter Morse

Peter has been writing on fly fishing since the mid-80’s. During the 90’s he had a very successful prime-time television series called Wildfish which ran for 26 episodes on a Tuesday evening at 8 pm.

Peter does a lot of writing and photography, travelling the country talking to clubs and conducting casting days and fishing seminars. In 2009 he achieved his Federation of Fly Fishers Master Instructor certification, something he’s very proud of because of the rigorous exam that requires a broad and deep knowledge of the sport. 

Peter has written several books including - “Saltwater Fly Fishing Fundamentals," "The Wildfish" a book about the TV series and “A Few Great Flies …. And how to fish them” his most recent book. Peter also has a DVD that is instructional and called “Arbor to Fly.” 

A regular contributor to FlyLife, Peter has written and photographed over 78 articles for the magazine and online and continues to educate fly fisherman on salt, estuary, fresh water fishing, casting and fly fishing technique. He is an international ambassador for Sage and RIO.

More on Peter Morse...

Morsie's Top Tip

"Go to bed with your camera and the instruction manual."

"Be daring, pixels are free."

"Put the rod down and pick the camera up if you want action shots."


Rules & Conditions


The “Organisers” of the FlyLife Topshot Photo Competition 2018 are FlyLife Magazine Pty Ltd.


The “Competition” is the FlyLife Topshot Photo Competition 2018 as defined in these Rules and Conditions.


The “Sponsors” of the Competition are Mayfly TackleFly Odyssey AustraliaTonic Polarised Eyewear and FlyLife Magazine Pty Ltd.


The Competition starts when publicly announced and ends 11:59pm AEST on Sunday 25th February 2018 (the Entry Deadline). 
FlyLife reserves the right to alter the Entry Deadline at its discretion during the competition.


Employees and contractors of FlyLife Magazine, Competition Judges and their immediate family members (spouse, parent, child, sibling and their respective spouses), are not eligible to enter or win a prize. 
Entrants must be at least 18 years of age as of the date of entry, or have their parent or guardian’s explicit consent.


All entrants must register online using the Entry Form at to register.
You may enter any number of entries but each entry must be submitted individually via the Entry Form.
Entries will not be accepted via any other submission form such as email, postal mail or in person. 
Each Entry must consist of an entry form and a single image. 
Each submitted photograph, in its entirety, must be a single work of original material taken by the Competition entrant. By entering the Contest, entrant represents, acknowledges and warrants that he or she has full power and authority to enter the photograph, and that the photograph does not infringe any copyright or violate any other intellectual property rights.
The entrant agrees to indemnify FlyLife Magazine Pty Ltd and its representatives, including judges, sponsors and affiliates, from any and all third party claims arising from the photograph entered. 
Photographs that include sculptures, statues, paintings, and other works of art will be accepted as long as they do not constitute copyright infringement or fraud. 
If the Photograph includes other people, you must obtain a signed, written Photographic Consent & Release Form from all persons who appear in the Photograph submitted, authorizing use of the Photograph as provided below in "Third Party Releases/Licenses." If you are unable to provide a release, in the form provided by FlyLife Magazine, then your entry may be disqualified. 
The entries will be judged in accordance with the Judging criteria, as defined below. The photograph must not, in the sole and unfettered discretion of the FlyLife Magazine, contain obscene, provocative, defamatory, sexually explicit, or otherwise objectionable or inappropriate content. Photographs deemed inappropriate will be disqualified. 
Online entries must be made by the authorized account holder of the e-mail address submitted at the time of entry. "Authorized account holder" is defined as the natural person who is assigned to an e-mail address by an Internet access provider, online service provider, internet domain owner, or other person or organization (e.g., business, educational institution, etc.) that is responsible for assigning e-mail addresses for the domain associated with the submitted e-mail address.


Prizes are specified on the competition page at
FlyLife reserves the right to substitute prizes other than those specified to the equivalent value at its discretion.


Our expert judging panel will select six Finalists (the “Finalist”), from all entries received. The criteria are subjective and will include composition, lighting, technical skill, along with the uniqueness of the overall photograph and relevance to fly fishing. 
The six Finalists will then be posted on Facebook and Instagram where the public will vote on the Winners via the most likes or reactions (“Votes”) for each individual photo. 
Sponsors reserve the right not to award all prizes in the event an insufficient number of eligible entries meet the minimum judging, as determined by FlyLife Magazine and Judges in their sole discretion. 
The decision of the Judges and public Votes are final and binding. 
Entrants are entitled to encourage their personal contacts to Vote for their entry as a Finalist, including family, friends and colleagues. 
Artificially or contrived Votes however, through methods such as paying for likes and reactions, including via 3rd parties, will void all entries for that entrant.


If a photograph entered contains any material or elements that are not owned by the entrant and/or which are subject to the rights of third parties, and/or if any persons appear in the photograph, the entrant is responsible for obtaining, prior to submission of the photograph, any and all releases and consents necessary to permit the exhibition and use of the photograph in the manner set forth in these Rules and Conditions without additional compensation. If any person appearing in any photograph is under the age of majority in their state/province/territory of residence the signature of a parent or legal guardian is required on each release. 
By participating, ALL ENTRANTS grant FlyLife Magazine Pty Ltd and their designees, licensees or affiliates (the "Authorized Parties") a non-exclusive, worldwide license, through 31st January 2019, to reproduce, distribute, display and post the entries online so that viewers may view all Finalists and competing entries. In addition, each Finalist and Winners grant to the Authorized Parties a license for use of his/her entries in connection with the Competition and promotion of the Competition, in any media now or hereafter known, including but not limited to, print or digital publication in FlyLife Magazine showcasing the Winners; and promotions related to the Competition. Authorized Parties will not be required to pay any additional consideration or seek any additional approval in connection with such use.


Winners and Finalists authorise FlyLife Magazine Pty Ltd to reproduce, distribute, display and create derivative works of the photograph entry in connection with the Competition, in any media now or hereafter known, including but not limited to: publication in FlyLife Magazine showcasing the Winners and Finalists; FlyLife website; the Competition website and promotional sites; and in exhibits and promotions related to the Contest. Winners and Finalists authorize FlyLife Magazine Pty Ltd to reproduce, distribute, display and create derivative works of the photograph entry in connection with the promotion of the Contest for up to two (2) years from the announcement of Competition Winners.


By participating, entrants agree to release, discharge and hold harmless FlyLife Magazine Pty Ltd, and each of their “Entities”, including but not limited to, respective sponsors, judges, partners, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising agencies, agents and their employees, officers, directors, and representatives from any claims, losses, and damages arising out of their participation in this Competition or any Competition related activities and promotion and the acceptance and use, misuse, or possession of any prize awarded hereunder. FlyLife Magazine Pty Ltd and associated Entities assume no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, or delay in operation or transmission; communications line failure; theft or destruction of or unauthorized access to Competition entries or entry forms; or alteration of entries or entry forms. FlyLife Magazine Pty Ltd and associated Entities are not responsible for any problems with or technical malfunction of any telephone network or lines, computer online systems, servers or providers, computer equipment, software, failure of any e-mail entry to be received on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any Web site, human errors of any kind, or any combination thereof, including any injury or damage to entrants or any other persons computers related to or resulting from participation, uploading or downloading of any materials related to this Competition.


This Competition is subject to Australian federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Certain restrictions may apply. Entries are void if the FlyLife Magazine Pty Ltd determines the entry to not be an original, or if the entries are illegible, incomplete, damaged, irregular, altered, counterfeit, produced in error or obtained through fraud or theft. Entrants agree (a) to be bound by these Rules and Conditions; (b) that the decisions of the Judges and public Votes are final on all matters relating to the Competition; and (c) if he/she wins that FlyLife Magazine Pty Ltd and associated Entities may use each winner's name, photograph, likeness, and/or voice in any publicity or advertising relating to the Competition or future promotions without compensation or approval. All federal, state and local taxes, fees and surcharges on prizes are the sole responsibility of the prize winners. In the event that the selected Winner(s) of any prize are/is ineligible or refuses the prize, the prize will be forfeited and FlyLife Magazine Pty Ltd, in their sole discretion, may choose whether to award the prize to another entrant.


If for any reason the Competition is not capable of running as planned, due to infection by computer virus, bugs, worms, trojan horses, denial of service attacks, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes beyond the control of organiser that corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of this Competition, FlyLife Magazine Pty Ltd reserve the right, at their sole discretion, to disqualify any individual(s) who tamper with the entry process, and/or to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the Competition. If FlyLife Magazine Pty Ltd elect to cancel or terminate the Competition, any rights in the submitted photographs will not be retained.