Monday, April 27, 2009

I’ll be heading up to the pristine waters of Rose River Farm, on the eastern slope of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains this weekend for their third annual 2Fly Tournament for PROJECT HEALING WATERS. And no, I won’t be fishing, but I have been invited to display a number of my prints and sculptings... and I’ll be providing a limited edition print for the raffle as well. I’ll be displaying my wares and hopefully selling a few pieces to help this great organization with their fundraising efforts.

If you don’t know by now, PROJECT HEALING WATERS is dedicated to teaching fly fishing and fly tying to aid the physical and emotional rehabilitation of wounded and injured members of the Armed Forces returning from the present conflicts, as well as disabled veterans of past wars. Check them out at

Friday, April 24, 2009

Something a little different

Cutthroat Sculpting
For those of you that are new to my work, you may not know that my first foray into angling art was in the sculpting realm. For about two years I focused on doing traditional 1/2 body clay sculptings...and I also did a good number of vignette pieces like the Cutthroat shown above. I still do them, but not as often as before.
My website shows a few more styles and examples, if you are interested.

Crazy People in Rubber Pants
It began as a very unexpected invite. Unexpected, but greatly appreciated. I was to join a group of highly educated professionals on a famous Pennsylvania trout stream for two days of camaraderie, wine, beef tenderloin and hopefully a trout or two. For the most part, my soon to be friends were known to me only by their expensive professional pedigrees. Don’t get me wrong...I’m not against pedigrees. I had a Brittany once that had a good one. Fine dog, indeed. But back to my story.

Upon arrival at the famous but unnamed cabin, I climbed the steps to a front porch decked out like an Orvis shop. Many company stores would have been envious of the display. The latest hi-tech rods, vests, waders, boots, fly boxes, landing nets, fly assortments, leaders, tippets, name it, they had it, and the guys standing around admiring and comparing their well designed display and personal accoutrements were talking about bugs...I think.

I hadn’t heard Latin to that extent since I mistakenly entered the wrong, very wrong, classroom back in my high school days. I’m certain that they were talking about the bugs in the famous unnamed stream, because I’d occasionally hear the word “trout” or “fish” interspersed in their conversations. I should add that this famous unnamed stream was not an inexpensive place to go. It was private water of the highest quality, so I was certain that it must contain some very special bugs, and my comrades were obviously fascinated with them.

It started raining that afternoon. Rained all night...not hard really, but enough rain to give the stream some color. This didn’t go over well with my new pals, but it excited me. For you see, I have never been into matching the hatch. I’m into throwing big ugly things at big pretty things, and the water that was suddenly not gin clear, suited me to a T.

The next day, as they trudged along the stream lamenting the lack of bugs, I was in a literal hog heaven. It was a day that I’ll remember for a long, long time...but it was going to get better towards sundown.

Around 6PM the sun broke out just as I was fishing my way back to the cabin. I could see my forlorn friends standing on the porch, sipping their Chablis when what looked like a fog rose from the water. I heard the hollering and saw each of them frantically rummaging through their vests looking for what turned out to be....would you believe, butterfly nets!

What followed was a site to behold. Five grown men, decked out in their rubber pants (as my wife calls them) giggling and shouting like school-girls as they scampered across the yard to the stream swatting the air with delight as they captured, compared and commented on their marvelous bugs.

I must say that the mood of that bunch improved considerably, as they spent the remaining few hours of sunlight catching up to my total for the day. I was worn out by then anyway, allowing me to sit comfortably on a handy park bench and witness the spectacle. Crazy people in rubber pants. Yes we are.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


OK...We needed to see some color here, so here is my latest effort. These pages were getting a little too black and white. If not for my commitment to add a new image a week I might not have added this one. It is my first effort at doing a trout in its element...underwater. It was an interesting challenge and a concept that is gonna take a lot more work before I am satisfied. But hey, when I started I warned you - and myself - that there would be a lot of experimentation and that some of them might not be fully up to par. So here it is. I learned some good do's and don'ts and I know that my next effort at an underwater trout will be a lot better.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Do NOT eat these!

It has long been known that many humans think they can think like a fish. Every lure manufacturer knows this. Just like my wife is a sucker for any packaging that has an old Victorian look to it, we fisher-folk can be suckered just as easily. We see a lure...we think. “Wow! That thing is gonna catch some fish!” Take the famous Dardevle Spoon for instance. Has anyone ever seen a red and white minnow? I don’t think so, yet they’ve sold millions of them. We obviously like red and white stripes and the Eppinger Manufacturing Company figured that out years ago – in 1912 in fact.

But knowing that we like red and white spoons, do they really think that we’re going to find their product just as appetizing as the fish do? Check out the warning on the label.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


This little Brown was designed to be the companion piece to the Rainbow I completed and posted last week. I had two long and skinny frames that were just looking for the right trout.

Took my nine year old grand-daughter Gracie down to the pond on Sunday night. I had checked it out the evening before and saw that the bluegills and bass were along the shoreline in a definite pre-spawn mood. But alas, Gracie and I didnt see a fish. A front was moving in and it put them all back out in the deep. We got in some quality fly casting lessons, howerver. And speaking of that's below freezing and snowing hard as I write this. AIN'T SPRINGTIME IN THE SOUTH GREAT !!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Anti- RANT

Many of us will find time during the Easter weekend to spend a little time on our favorite trout stream, and as you do, try to focus on more than just catching fish. Take in the beauty around you. Appreciate it. Savor it. Really look at it. And most importantly, consider its Maker. Be grateful.

Every day that we spend on the water we are blessed. We are in the perfect place to consider the wonder of God’s creation. What on God’s earth is more beautiful than a crystal clear trout stream? And how could He have done better in creating the streams’ inhabitants?

He designed all of this and put it here for us. He could just as easily created nothing but piranhas and all of the water could be chocolate syrup. But of course He didn’t. That wasn’t the plan. Then again, if He hadn’t followed through with the rest of the plan...the plan of Salvation... it’s doubtful that any of us would be able to enjoy it. That plan came together about 2000 years ago this weekend. Think on that.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Well, this just figures!

I start a blog three weeks ago with dreams of glory and riches and today the Federal Trade Commission comes along and says that bloggers can be held liable for statements that they make about products.
"If a blogger received a free sample of skin lotion (make that "Helios" rod) and then incorrectly claimed that the product cured eczema (make that "landed a 15 pound Brown") the FTC could sue the blogger for making false representations."
There goes my product sampling plans! I guess ORVIS won't be calling. And what if the FTC pushed it further and stuck to the letter of the law and held that we would "be held liable for misleading claims" ??? All of them ???
That would shut down every trout blog in existence!

Last week in an earlier post I mentioned the Virginia Fly Fishing Festival. Well, for the third year in a row Shirley and I will be attending what must be the best organized, best run and most fun festival on the planet. Beau Beasley (fly fisherman, author, entrepreneur and firefighter)and his crew really know how to put together an event.

I have the honor this year of being their designated "Festival Artist" and while it is certainly an comes with a bit of pressure. The Festival Artist gets to provide the artwork they use in their promotions and advertising, but the original artwork is also auctioned to the highest bidder at their lavish VIP Dinner and Banquet. The monies received go towards funding their important conservation I had to do my best work!

The image you see above is what I came up with. Hope you like it. I tried a very "minimalist" approach to my subject, letting the imagination fill in some of the details. Titled, "Frenzy"...can't you just imagine the entomological smorgasbord these two healthy rainbows are feeding on?

"Frenzy" will be reproduced in a limited edition of 75 signed and numbered prints, many of which will be raffled at the Festival which will be held April 18th & 19th on the banks of South River in Waynesboro, Virginia.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


After being weaned on Bluegills and Smallmouths my Dad introduced my brothers and I to the Rainbow. Dad grew up in SW Missouri, just a few miles from Roaring River State Park and he spent his early years casting a fly to the ancestors of the trout that we were introduced to.
Many of my earliest and fondest memories are of watching Dad expertly lure these gorgeous creatures (with a casting stroke that would rival the best of the FFF Master Casting Instructors), and the year that I was turned loose on them is etched in my memory. I don't recall the exact year...I must have been 10 or 11, but I'll never forget that summer of learning. We must have spent at least eight weekends camping there and I know that I spent from dawn to dusk slingin' flies at those trout. I believe my first rod - the one that I was using - was a white fiberglass Shakespeare model with an "automatic" reel, and I recall that I caught a lot more trees than trout. In fact, it was the last weekend of the summer before I managed to hook and land one of them. I remember the pool - it was the one below the bridge right in front of the lodge - and the fly was a red and yellow Woolly Worm. (Back then, in the Ozarks, they were Woolly Worms - not Woolly Buggars!) I'll never forget the feeling I had...and even if he were still with us, I could never thank Dad enough for that introduction.