Monday, August 31, 2009
Did you ever get yourself into a situation or place and wonder how you could get out of it? A situation where you REALLY had to rely on some help...from somebody, somewhere?
There’s no message here (unless you want there to be)...I just thought the picture was hilarious.
Monday, August 24, 2009
I figured out weeks ago that if I was only going to post "finished" artwork here on the blog, that I would never manage to get 52 images posted during the year. So, from here on out I will be showing some of the behind the scenes work that goes into creating a fish illustration. It is very rare that I grab a piece of paper and start an image without doing a few sketches to get the feel of my subject matter...more often there are numerous pencil or pen sketches done before I begin what I hope to be - eventually - a finished product. Todays image is a good example. This was done today during my lunch break at the office. Will this quick little drawing ever become finished artwork? I have no idea, but it was fun to do...and with each pen stroke I really do seem to learn a thing or two.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
I started this one, intending it to be a companion piece to the Snake River Cutthroat and had planned to title it as "Madison River Rainbow" in the same calligraphy style as the Cutthroat.
But as sometimes happens I ended up going another direction with it. I decided to go ahead and color this one. I guess I could go back to the original plan. Oh well, as usual...it’ll have to set around in my studio for a while before I decide. Confused? Me too, but that’s my normal state of being.
Friday, August 7, 2009
ONCE IN A BLUE MOON. Many of you have heard about the movie...some might have even seen it by now. According to Mid Current Fly Fishing News, the movie “follows an attempt by some New Zealand fly fishers to track down what can loosely be called a ‘mouse hatch.’ The idea of hitting the timing just right – when an explosion in the rodent population puts the biggest trout on the feed – leads to landing some very nice fish on big mouse patterns in stunningly beautiful surroundings.”
Well, that brings to mind a story...a story that I’ll tell if you promise not to pass it on to PETA. Once upon a time in a prior life I worked in the egg business. A very large egg business. No, the eggs were normal sized, but they sold gazillions of them all over the good ol’ USA.
As we all know eggs come from chickens...girl chickens. For about a year, each of the girls pops out, on average, a little over one egg a day. After that their production goes down they aren’t good for anything other than Campbell’s Soup, so they’re replaced. Well, to satisfy the market demand for eggs and to replace the worn out layers that aren't hitting their quotas anymore, it takes a lot of girl chickens. This company had millions of them. And to get millions of girl chickens you have to go through a lot of eggs. That meant they had to have a hatchery. And since (thankfully) science hadn’t figured out a way to produce only girl chickens, the hatchery produced a lot of boy chickens too. Can you tell the difference in the boys and the girls at one day of age? Neither could I, but there was a family of Chinese folks that were very good at it.
On a regular schedule they would show up at the hatchery to “sex the chickens.” With trays and trays of day old chicks before them, they would grab one, turn it over to inspect the business end and pass judgment. The girls went into another tray and the boys went into 5 gallon plastic buckets. At the end of the day the hens were shuffled off to a rearing facility and the boys –the cockerels – were carted off to THE POND.
A stones throw from the hatchery was THE POND. A pond of about ten acres that was full of huge channel cats and bass. By now you’ve figured out how they got so big. For the sake of the faint hearted, I will avoid going into more details, but suffice it to say that “Pavlov’s Fish” knew when it was dinner time.
Imagine a John Boat. Imagine that John Boat filled with 5 gallon buckets of lively yellow feathered vittles, and imagine that boat making 5 or 6 trips across THE POND on feeding day. I know you’ve seen film of an ocean feeding frenzy...well, the only thing missing was the gulls. The “Chicken Hatch” was a sight to behold.
I never did try to tie up a replica "match the hatch" fly. Didn’t need to, as a yellow Jitterbug got the job done just fine.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
This is my most recent commission piece. Brian Shumaker of Susquehanna River Guides approached me at the VA Fly Fishing Festival with the idea of producing a replica piece for one of his favorite clients. He said the angler had caught a very nice smallmouth on a recent outing, and Brian wanted to surprise him with the artwork.
The reference photos were sent my way and I began the project. I finished it a couple of weeks ago but have not been able to post it because the angler has been out of town and hadn’t seen the art until yesterday.
Can you guess who the angler is? There are two very important clues in the piece.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Shirley and I traveled down to Georgia over the weekend for a multi-purpose trip. Son-in-law Chad was graduating with his Masters Degree from UGA on Saturday - which was supposedly the purpose of the trip - but it was also a chance to see the grandkids, and finally, and not without its own degree of importance, Chad and I planned to fish for “shoalies” on Flint River.
The graduation ceremony was nice on Saturday. We were certainly proud seeing Chad get his masters and it was also very interesting to see the UGA campus and its great facilities. As a lifelong Oklahoma Sooners fan, I have a running battle with Chad and the grandkids about the quality of the Dawgs football program. Those poor children have been so brainwashed, that I have thought many times about calling social services to file a child abuse report. It is so bad that they even think that slobbering overweight bulldog is cute! Anyway, as impressive as their facilities are, I was not swayed. Perhaps I’ll root for them...at least until they progress to the level of OU and become a threat.
Chad and I had been watching the radar all week and feared that the Flint would be blown-out so our backup plan was to fish the big lake at Callaway Gardens, but not until we made a visual inspection of the Flint. Sunday morning before dawn we headed for the river. I had discovered that my non-res GA license had expired so before leaving I quickly logged onto the state’s website to renew it. No such luck – the site was down. It was a short drive to the Flint and the odds of finding a place that was open and selling licenses on a Sunday morning at 6:30 were slim to none. “None” won out....so it was off to Callaway, where a license isn’t required.
And of course Callaway hadn’t opened yet. (They’re more into golf, bike riding and butterfly viewing than fishing, which is amazing, due to the quality of the fisheries on the property.) We went and grabbed a bite to eat and returned at 9 when the gate opened. In our rented john boat we motored across the lake to a likely looking bank. (The lower right water in the photo above) The weather was perfect...heavy overcast with a slight breeze out of the south. I decided to start with a Callaway standard – the Stealth Bomber in black. One of the guides said we’d better “go deep” if we expected to catch anything, but looking at the weather, I thought otherwise. On my third cast I hooked up with a decent largemouth...and just a few casts later the water erupted with a very decent one. A few moments later I reached for my new Lippa tool and pulled a largemouth of around three pounds into the boat. Of course neither of us had a camera, but trust me...it was a pretty fish indeed. The day was looking very promising.
I continued on with the Stealth Bomber to no avail...eventually switching to one of Walt Cary’s famous poppers to get in on the bluegill action along with Chad. We spent the next 4 hours landing bluegill after bluegill...but not one more bass! Still, it was great day...and a fantastic way to celebrate Chad’s educational accomplishment.
We fished all the likely looking water...deep banks and shallow coves...in the wind and not. As the day progressed and warmed we had good success going deeper with Rubber Legged Dragons and poor luck with the MinnKota. While I was doing the guiding I managed to get the prop completely encased in moss and when Chad’s turn came around he managed to get his fly line wrapped around it. But those are the things that fishing trips are made of. If we’re really honest, all of our so called “perfect days” had their share of calamities too.