Thursday, August 26, 2010

Soft Hackle

According to the late legend and member of the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame, Jack Gartside, the soft hackle wet fly "is quite simply, beautiful. In its bareness, in the liveliness of its soft hackle fibers it suggests all that seems necessary to tempt fish. Because of its simplicity it's also one of the easiest flies to tie—and often one of the deadliest."

Monday, August 23, 2010

WHEW! Finally finished all 40 flies for the upcoming book, Fly Fishing the MidAtlantic. Beau Beasley, the author, seems to be pleased with my efforts and I know that I am. Prior to this project I had sketched out a few of my favorite flies, primarily for my own enjoyment, but this was different. I had to illustrate flies that I’ve never used and probably never will, and flies that were nothing like the classics that I grew up fishing and admiring.

I had my favorites and my not so favorites, but topping the list of favorites were the two flies designed by my buddy Kevin Howell, of Davidson River Outfitters. Perhaps it’s the friendship that swayed me. Of perhaps it’s because his shop is just about 15 minutes from my front door. Then again, maybe it’s because these two flies catch fish! All of the above, for sure.
The one on the left is "Kevin's Stone" and that ugly thing below it is "Howell's Big Nasty."

Hope you like them!
(Prints ARE available...)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Cooler than the other side of the pillow

Heading up the mountain from Lenoir we watched the temperature drop at least one degree per mile, till it registered in the mid 70’s when we rolled into Blowing Rock.  Ahh...the mountains!  It was great to be back.

Shirley and I took the weekend off and headed for the High Country of North Carolina over the weekend.  Well actually, we were working...sort of.  Scott and Dottie Farfone, the owners of Foscoe Fishing Company, were hosting a special fly fishing event on Saturday at their beautiful log cabin shop in the Foscoe area, and they were kind enough to allow us to set up our display on their front porch.
Tim Cummings (see below), our fellow Project Healing Waters volunteer, heard we were coming their way and offered to share the house he and his wife Melinda were occupying just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, so with the promise of their hospitality, some cooler weather and the chance to meet some new trout art aficionados...we jumped on it. 

Scott and Dottie put on a great event and we had a great time meeting some of the local, and some of the not so local, folks.  (Seems we weren’t alone in our efforts to escape the heat.)  It threatened rain through most of the day but it held off till later that night.  Going to sleep to the sound of a billion little forest critters, then awakening to the sound of rain pounding on the window panes sure was more restful than the constant hum of our air-conditioning at home.

We made some sales; we ate some great meals and managed to spend some time strolling the streets of Blowing Rock, revisiting many of the shops that we knew from years ago.  The Cummings’ hospitality was more than we deserved and the ride home on Sunday was without incident.  Except for one little thing.  One little helmeted and goggled thing that passed us on the highway.

There on the back of a fully decked out Harley sat the coolest dog you’ll ever see.  With his master in the front and his American flags fluttering behind him, this guy was the epitome of cool.  As he passed us he glanced our way with a “Don’t you wish you were me!” look, and sped off to parts unknown.
We were still laughing as he pulled in front of us, turned around, and graced us with one more “Ain’t I cool” look. 

Friday, August 13, 2010


Another fly for the book, Fly Fishing the Mid Atlantic, the Letort Hopper originated in Pennsylvania where it was designed by flyfishing legend Ed Shenk in the late 50's.  As realistic as the new foam body hoppers look, they loose their effectiveness when underwater.  Not so with this bug, which can be fished with three different techniques on each cast.  Starting off with a dead drift on top, you might give it a twitch or two.  Then allow it to sink on the swing to represent a drowned hopper, and finally strip it back for the next cast.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

At last...

Finally finished up the C&R Brown for Chris.  What a fun project.  22 inches is a good sized trout and if you don’t think so, just try drawing one at actual size!  A gazillion dots of stippling and a dozen layers of color later, here it is.

Laying here before me on paper, it looks huge...maybe even larger than it seemed to Chris the day he pulled it from the Missouri River.  Gosh, I wish I could have been there to see it.  As Chris gets this framed and hung on his office wall, I hope that every time he sees it he travels back to that day.