Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Sawyer Killer Bug

The Sawyer Killer Bug was suggested by Chris over at  This fly was created by Frank Sawyer many many years ago and from what I have been reading about this bug, everyone who fishes by it swears by it.  Frank is better known for his pheasant tail nymph and his book on these flies is a classic but its this fly that gets me the most excited.  I cant wait to fish this little guy.  It will be the first fly on my line.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

WoodBurning Fly

Here is a wood burning I did yesterday of a fly.  The fly is burned onto the end of a rod case I have working on for a friend and I think It added just the right touch to the end of a great looking case.  It is just about complete and I will be sharing it with you when it is ready, but for now, this is all you get.

I also just got my new business cards in the mail the other day.  I have been sending out so many paintings and prints lately that I thought it was about time to get some cards printed up.  I used my Iron Blue Wingless fly from earlier this year as the work of art and I think it really works. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Poor Sally

Via my request for flies to render as somewhat artful creations, I recieved this 'poor sally' from Alan over at   I decided not to attempt to duplicate his original because it is so well done. Instead I have done a 5x7 claybord etching of this classic and left out the color.  The end result is better looking than the pic shows.  I enjoined working on this piece so much I think I will have to do more of these type etchings.

I have received quite a response from my request with a lot of flies now in my in box so bare with me while I cycle through them.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Tenkara Midge and A Request

Fly number 270 for the year.  With less than 100 posts to go I am running out of juice looking for flies to paint so I am asking my blogging followers to send me pics of their favorite flies.  I need you to take a pic of you favorite fly in your vice, in the lip of a fish, or just the fly all alone and send them to me.  I will be looking for dries, wets, streamers, anything that catches fish.  Help me finish this year out.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dry Fly + Some

"There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm."  ~Patrick F. McManus, Never Sniff a Gift Fish, 1979

I thought of this quote the last time I went out fishing as I pulled in rainbows.  I had been out there about half an hour, fishing this honey hole for all its worth when another angler shows up with his worms and tries to fish next to me.  I eased over a bit and let him fish the same bend in the stream as me.  I was having a good day and there was a good number of fish for the both of us so why the heck not.  Well after about 30 more minutes and me out fishing him five to zip, he grumbled something about how the fish were to small anyway, packed up his worms and moved on leaving me once again all alone with the 'small' fish.  It was about this time I hooked into a 13incher and gave my brief worm angling friend a little grin as I pulled the fish in.

This has happened more times than I can remember on this stretch of river and it is actually more rare to have a corn chucker or worm angler out fish a fly here.   I suppose this might be the case because this area of water is heavily fished by locals and the fish have seen more of the corn worms and powerbait than natural flies.  Is there science to back this up this claim? I don't know.  All I know is that I always do well there and the only reason I don't fish there more often is because the pressure of local anglers also brings the pollution and crowds I try to avoid when I fish.  Unfortunately it has easy access and if I am pressed for time it is the first spot I think of.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Brookie Streamer

Here is a ink sketch of a brookie streamer.  Best used in those remote mountain plunging pools that often hide beautiful fish.  I particularly favor a yellow bucktail, black or red throat hackles and or tail, black body, and tinsel flash ribbing.  Whats your go to stream side - plunge pool streamer.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fishing The Tenkara Setup

Yesterday I took my new Tenkara setup for a test run and was immediately impressed with the way it performed.  On my third cast a nice 10 incher took the fly and the fun never stopped.  One after another, rainbow after rainbow and even a moderate sized brown attacked my presentation with amazing vigor.  It had to be the best two hours of fishing I have had in a long time.  They weren't the native brookies I had planned on testing the rod out on but with the time constraints I had to settle for a lower elevation stretch of river.  I was sure happy I settled.

I did have one big shoulder 13 inch Bow that tested my fly and my 7x but I managed to chase him down and pull him in.  I found that fighting these bigger fish on a setup like this, without a bit more line to peal off fighting the fish, it is more of a challenge.  I did a lot of moving up and down the bank trying to baby the line and hold the fish.  The reward was worth the effort. I also was a bit unsure what to do with my free hand now that I had no line to hold. I eventual got use too the feel and became comfortable with the cast and various ways to fish a tenkara fly.
I fished the normal dead drift, the cross current pull, the upstream pause and pull, the down stream pull and pause and found for these fish the dead drift worked the best and the up stream pull a distant second.

The little guys were fun and the day was a total win.  I am glad I made it out.  Now I have something more to dream about when I am back at work.  This trip is just what I needed to fill the old inspiration tank.
Id like to write a bit more but work is creeping up on me and as the saying goes, 'first things first.'  I will leave you with this.  If you havent tried Tenkara on a small stream, you are sure missing out.  I LOVE MY TENKARA!!!!"  Thanks again Daniel from Tenkara USA for this killer set-up.

(Keen observers might notice the poor fin condition on alot of these fish.  Not all the fish I caught were this beat up but even the rough looking ones were still fun to catch.  hopefully next time I will be able to hook into those native brookies after a bit of hiking and hunting blue lines.)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hooking Fish With Tenkara

Ok, so I got your attention and you are expecting some fish photos but you are going to be disappointed....for today.  No time to load them but check back tomorrow for some rainbows in hand and a full report.  Today its just a teaser.

I managed to ditch all the work I really should be doing this morning for a few hours to take my virgin Tenkara USA 12ft fly rod out for the first time.  WHAT A FREEKIN BLAST!!!  Third cast of the new rod and BAMM.  10inches of jumping bow.  then another and another.  I lost count after the first 30min.  Probably the most active 2 hrs of fishing I have had in a long time.  I LOVE MY TENKARA 12FT.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Fly & A New Look

Here is a quick fly and a few words.

Unfortunately the little trip I had planned with Jason from fell through due to other commitments with our day jobs but I am so pumped for a bit of trout fishing that I still plan on making a bit of a trip later this week. I plan on testing my new Tenkara set-up from TENKARA USA on some killer native rainbow and brookie streams in the upstate.

On another note.
You might have noticed the new look to the blog and header. I thought it was appropriate for the start fall. I have also added a BUY A PRINT button at the top of this page for purchasing both 8x10 and 5x7 trout prints and low prices. There is also a few other buttons including a PAINT YOUR FISH button and a BUY A FLY page. Please check them out and feel free to email any questions you might have.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hairwing Rubberlegs

Check back later today for a few new prints to be available. I am hopping to get enough free time today to work on the blogs look as well as add a few features to the site.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A No-name

Another Spash of paint that might be interpreted as a fly.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Wide Open Cutthroat

Here is the painting as promised from yesterday. I even remembered to do a progressive photo log of this painting as I did it. "Wide Open Cutthroat" is a 8x11 watercolor done on my new favorite type of paper. 100% cotton, 140lb, Aqvarelle Arches watercolor paper. I have been working with this type of paper now for a few months and love it. The colors and water flow nice and are much easier to work with.

This work is up for grabs for $90 plus s&h and both 5x7 and 8x10 prints will be available soon.

Unlike a lot of my previous trout, I went with a full body painting for this fish. I also added my favorite and most rewarding fly: The Elk Hair Caddis. If I have a go-to dry fly, this is it. It has always yielded me the best looking trout when ever it hooks up, it is easy to tie, comes in an array of variations, easy to float in rough water, and fairly simple to fish.
I remember fishing these big trout when I was a kid traveling through Yellowstone with my family. We were using spinners at the time and I remember hauling these bad boys in one after another. Memories sometimes are better than reality but as a boy of 12 or 13, these were the best looking and biggest trout I had ever seen. I hope someday to take my kids to that same spot and this time hook them on a fly and see if reality reflects my memories.
Of course I began this work like all my works, with a detailed drawing of the subject.

Then I mix the base colors, working fast with the colors to blend them just right before the paper dries.

Add in some details and work up the layers.

The signature blood red cut under the chin

And then Finish with the dark spots and a few outlines to make the light colors shine.
I also thought I'd add a few words about how to care for an original watercolor painting to give it as long a life as it deserves.
Light is one of the biggest enemies of watercolor pigments. Try and avoid hanging a watercolor where it will receive any direct sunlight. It is advisable to hang a watercolor in a room with diffused incandescent or halogen light. Fluorescent lighting is as damaging as sunlight, producing ultraviolet light in high concentrations. If lighting is applied directly to the painting, be sure the light fixture is at least 8 -10 feet away (a ceiling spotlight with a low emission is best). To further shield the watercolor from damaging light exposure, use protective glazing such as UV3-coated Plexiglas in the framing.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Not Fishable & a Teaser

Alright, this one I can say is more art than fly. Sorry for the rather hasty works lately but I will make up for it soon. I have got a bit of a trout trip planned for this coming week and might just be able to get some pics of a few nice trout using my new Tenkara set-up. I will be fishing with Jason from so one of us should be able to hook into one. If not then I will just have to settle for the bass pond.

I am also giving you a teaser of the work you will be seeing on tomorrows post. make sure to check back early for the new painting I will be posting.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Here is a Checkered Setwing dragonfly I did a few years ago. I was very pressed for time today and unable to even sketch out a new fly so had to revert to an older painting. It is however new to you and has only ever been seen by my family so there you go. It measures 2inx2in and of course is in watercolor.
And since we are posting older work I thought I'd share a few of my other works that where done in the past.
This one is of my daughter when she was barely 2 on a trip to the beach. 8x10 prints are available but as you can guess, the original is not for sale.
This one is of a trolley on the river front street in Savanna Georgia.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New Ink & Hanging In Portland

Here is another inked fly going along with the tee shirt idea. I did a wet fly last time so I figured why not a dry on this one. Besides, its something that fills in my daily fly post.

I had a little trip to Portland Maine the other day and was really looking forward to hitting the sites around town. I was especially excited to check out the Art Museum as they had two big influences for me in their collection. Winslow Homer and Andrew Wyeth. Unfortunately I came a week to late. I was hopping to see the watercolors these two artists are known for but the exhibit was taken down a week before.
I had to settle for a few of Homers oil painting (still a joy to see them in person) and Andrew W. fathers watercolors (N.C.Wyeth). If you read any Robert Louis Stevenson as a kid you probably have seen N.C. Wyeths work and just never known it. A the the end of the 1800 he did alot of work for a publisher and most of the paintings in adventure classics are done by NC Wyeth.

Well after the museum I wondered down to Old Port and cruised the streets looking for good eats. I got a bit of Lobster, saw the sites, and then caught the buss back to the hotel. I thought about bringing the fishing gear on this trip but with the time constraints and lack of transportation available I opted for a tour of the city instead. It was cheaper and was a good little getaway. I have been to Maine quite a few times - mostly Bangor - and really love the area.
The people are great, the sites are amazing, and during the summer, it is a real nice to stay. I have also been here in the winter.... I like the South in winter.
The final pic in this post is of Longfellow's home. As a guy that reads quite a bit and loves history, art, and all things nautical, Portland Maine is a great town to see. I look forward to coming back here when the weather is a bit warmer and I can spend a few days. Next time I am going to have to try and hit those Maine stripers in the bay or head in-land for native trout.

Monday, September 13, 2010

More Ink

I have been stuck on the ink drawing lately due to time constraints and because of the tee shirt ideas floating around in my head. Black inked prints are so much cheaper to have screen or digitally printed on shirts than full on color paintings. I have found a few good printers to do the work but am still shopping around. I also am spending the time perfecting the design. This is the latest rendering of the 'wet fly' tee image. I took a lot of the dark ink out and added more open space in order to give it a less fly in oil look. I think it works.
On the fishing front, not much to report. I do have a few getaways planned for the month but we will see how it all plays out. I might find an hour or so later this week to break away and hit a local bass pond I have been scouting. We will see how it turns out.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Inked and Tee

Here is another sketch as well as a few more thoughts on the Tee idea. Thanks for all the comments yesterday as well as the emails. I realized white was not an option for a tee shirt (you should never wear white while fishing trout, unless you enjoy the feeling of being skunked). The colors I am leaning toward now is a faded earthy green or dark tan. I mocked up another shirt but still not sure about the tag line. I liked the suggestions the other day and might have to hold a contest for the finished look and tag line. I also might have to alter the look of the art because with the thick black ink, it does truly look like the fly is swimming in oil. Maybe the slogan should be "The Only Good Oil Is Fish OIL". Here is another one I thought of just as I was walking into work this morning. "Imitation Is The Best Form Of Fishing" . I'm also thinking of placing tag on back instead of front. Any more thoughts?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

On The Fly

Here is a new idea I got the other day. What do you think of this inked work on a tee shirt? I don't have to many tee shirts with fly fishing as a theme and thought about coming up with one of my own design. Do you like this design? I will probably make one for myself regardless but is there any YearOnTheFly patrons out there that might want one for $25 or so. How about a tag line? "Wet A Fly" is fairly generic. Any good Ideas? Colors?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Rising Brown For Good Cause

I have promised that I would be doing another watercolor soon and here it is. This Rising Brown however is not for sale. It will be auctioned off at a Trout Unlimited event for the Triangle Fly Fishers TU chapter this coming October. I managed to take a well lit picture of the rising trout today and amended this post.

Unfortunately I was fairly intent on this painting and completely forgot to take pics of this painting as I did it. I was a bit inspired to paint this one after my recent trip to Traverse City Michigan, where only the browns rose to my fly. As you can see, the rough looking Elk Hair Caddis made it to the painting as well.
I'm not a member of this chapter but had the opportunity to contribute to this organisation and couldn't pass it up. I hope it brings in a good price for them and I know that they will do a lot of good with it.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Bead Body Bug

Here is a bead body streamer I've come up with that might be able to get down to those deep hole trout without the help of added weight. I would like to see some of those great fly tiers out there come up with a good color version of this fly.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Rainbow Rise Sketching

Almost forgot to post today. This happens to me every so often and I go into quick sketch mode. I plan on hopefully getting an original - well planed out watercolor for you soon. Till then, here is a rainbow rising.