Sunday, June 26, 2011

Perfect Day!! Fish On

What is your definition of a good day.  Mine is 75-80deg, slight breeze, calm waters, and FISH ON!  Yesterday I had the near perfect day.  I rolled into upper MI around noon, got a hold of a few buddies and we headed out to fish for lakers on a picture perfect day.  One after another we reeled them in and I enjoyed every minute of it!  Today I return back to working a tough schedule but I am left with a memory of upper MI that wont soon be forgotten.
Not all fishing is done with a fly and since it is fairly hard to hook lakers in 60 feet of water with a fly line, its time to break out the downrigers.  These lake trout had a beautiful leopard pattern of turquoise, blues and pink.  And when they wanted they put up a good fight coming up from down deep.
Every fish seemed to bigger than the last but the biggest fish of the day went to my buddy Brandon,  It might have gone to Aaron but he failed to get his monster to the boat.  From what we saw of his fish though, it was a lunker!
This slab had a big belly on him that I am sure tasted good fresh off the grill.  He put up a good fight once he saw the boat.

Aaron was really struggling with his beast but as he broke the surface and we got a glimpse of the big white belly, the monster rolled as if to wave a fin at us and say 'nice try guys'.  And as quickly as we say him, he was gone. 
As I said, this is not a day I will soon forget and I am exceedingly grateful to Aaron and Brandon for taking me out.  Next time I am up their way, we are definitely going again.  Next time it might be Salmon and Steelhead. 

And since this blog is an art/fishing blog, here is a painted and computer manipulated fly. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Tenkara Montage

I was messing around today with some Tenkara ideas and came up with this little montage of various Tenkara works.  All the artwork is original but the whole composition is a layering of different elements with a bit of computer manipulations.  The fish and bamboo are just simple watercolor sketches done in black and the flies are simple 3inx3in watercolors manipulated with all the overly bright colors washed out.  This piece is just a one-off piece and is not for sale.  I was just really experimenting with stuff and this came out so I thought I'd share it with you.  I am sure my Tenkara readers might enjoy it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Weekend Well Spent

One Great Weekend

Had a great weekend! The family and I packed up the camping equipment and
headed up into the cooler temps of the blue ridge mountains. Our spot was a
nice quiet one right on the lake and despite a Saturday spent mostly in the tent to avoid the thunder showers, as well as a lack of activity as far as
the fish go, we all enjoyed a great time.
By far camping with the family is one of those experience I treasure and I
know my children will as well. I'm sure they will remember many years later that lone fathers day weekend we sat huddled together on our sleeping bags taking turns telling not so scary stories we made up ourselves.
My favorite was my 5 year old daughters story of Thumpfoot - the forest giant that only came out during storms to raid campsites, steal campers smores and eat unaware campers in there tent........priceless!

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Hat Trick...(don't get to excited)

Finally got out the other day to the warm water pond and hooked up with a hat trick southern style.  Crappies, Bass, and Sunfish.  Don't get to excited to see pics of big fish, those were still ellusive.
I took a buddy of mine out fishing for the first time.  He had never had the importunity to fish with a spin rod much less fish with a fly rod so I happily introduced him to fishing the only way I know how; starting out with the fly rod.  I gave him my coveted 5w and a bit of instruction and let him have at it.  Fishing from the bank with a full set of high grass to our back we worked through a lot of hangups in the weeds but finally got that fly in the water, bang!! one very small sunfish.  It was his first fish and I think he might be a new devote to the angling life.   I patted him on the back and grabbed my other rod and moved over to work out his technique without my meddling.  I am not very good at instruction and since most of my schooling in fly fishing came practice and watching YouTube, I thought it best to give a few pointers and let him find his rhythm.  I was elated that he was able to hook up on the first successful cast.
Off to the side of the post we noticed the herring nest I'd been watching for a while had been filled with a few young birds that watched out fishing with interest.
The night previous I had been at work on the vice and tied up a bunch of these yellow and black buck-tails and added a silver body with a red wire rib and red thread head.  I had a number of crappie young bass eagerly take it off the surface along with a few sunfish.  So it is a hat trick even if it wasn't as grand a three species catch as one would hope for.  Just over two hours on the water and quite a few hookups - I still call that a great day but the highlight was putting a fly rod in a new anglers hands and watching him hook up with a fish.  I am sure we will be doing it again soon.
Also, after a long buildup and a whole lot of time put into its development, I am proud to announce the launch of a new player on the specialized fly fishing market. is now officially the place to get your heirloom quality fly rod cases.  Click on over and check out what we have got going on.

Along with high quality rod cases and original art, we also have original Hex Fishing teeshirts featuring my custom art.  Over the coming weeks this blog will be doing a series of blog posts to highlight the specific goods Hex Fishing has to offer.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Cleaning The Fish

'Cleaning The Fish'
Inspiration for this painting came from a favorite adventure magazine of mine.  This lone fisherman cleaning his catch in a tidal pool really spoke to me and I believed that it would make a good large painting.  It took me quite a while to finish this work but I am fairly pleased with the outcome.  It is considerably more loose a style of painting than I am use to but if I do not test new waters then I feel my art becomes stagnant and I quickly become disinterested in it.  When I complete a work like this I feel that I have not only expanded my knowledge but also my ability.  This work measures @ 19" x 22" and is available for purchase.  Email me for information.
Since I did take a few shots of the work in progress, I have included a progressive picture record of this work.  Firs,t as always, I do a detail sketch to get the proportion and overall look I want.
Next is a build up of paint and color around the main subject.  First laying down the light under color and progressively adding color into a deeper and darker hues.
I then began to focus on the native fisherman and his tropical clothes.  
I finally add the color of the deep flesh tones using a mix of burnt sienna, light oxidized red, and a light blue.  Moving the paint gently around to get the subtle skin tones and shadows on the skin.

You also might notice a fish on the back of my shirt.  For those of you that have been following my site for a while, you might just recognize this fish.  It is my Brown In Hand painting from last year.  The site on the bottom of the shirt is a company I am now involved with. I will be doing more detailed posts in the coming weeks about this new venture, but for now, enjoy this painting and visit if you get a chance. - Shirts like the one you see here are available for purchase.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

3 Flies & A Feather ... And A Poem?

Three Flies And A Feather - or to be more specific two soft hackles, an egg patterned fly and a molted feather.  This 8in x 8in watercolor was done just to pass the time and to keep me working on my skills as a painter.  Its the first feather I've done but I think it turned out ok.
Its too bad that the cell phone pic doesn't really do it justice but you get the idea.
 I also was doing a bit of reading the other day and came across a poem that some of you might like.  Now I know what some of you are thinking and rest assured that poetry is not a favorite of mine.  The closest I have ever come to poetry is and an occasional Walt Whitman verse which I struggle to get through or perhaps an alcohol inspired and slightly more risqué poem about the Lady from Nantucket, but this one struck a cord and I thought that it just might with you.
It comes from a 1889 Denver Colorado publication of Sport Afield - a magazine that has been providing quality outdoor sports writing for over one hundred years.  This one is titled:

The Whole Story     by Dan De Foe

The fluttering fly Is tossed on high,
And lightly on the pool descends.
In shade of ash, A flash, a splash
The reel responds, the bamboo bends.

With twitch and twirl, And swish and swirl,
The ripples wide and wider whirl -
Speeding, receding, The line scarcely heeding;
'Mid boulders and eddies, A frantic chase leading -
The prize contends, Retreats, defends -
Aha-he's done-he scarcely bends The yielding cane;
His struggles wane-
The net! and lo, the conflict ends.

Even an angler that has never read a line of poetry in his life can attest to the moving quality of that work.  Enjoy your remainder of the week.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Another Box and a Rocket Launch

Here is another wood burned box I have in the works that is again not yet finished.  I worked on these two boxes at about the same time and will probably finish them together.  This one has a poplar top that is carved and woodburned and birds eye maple sides.  I plan on also adding a boarder of inlay around the sides when time permits.
The kids and I also decided to launch a few rockets the other day.  I did this as a kid and loved it.  Come on, what kid doesn't like the thrill of lighting something on fire and watching it blast off into the air.  I thought I'd share this thrilling adventure I had as a kid with my own and as you can see, I took a few pics and videos to share with you as well.  If this is something you have never done then you are missing out.  
Our rocket was a simple mini Bertha with about a dozen Disney stickers the kids decided to decorate it with. They had about much fun chasing it across the field as they had launching it.  Even dad got a smile on his face when the mini projectile left the pad and shot toward the sky.
Not exactly a Cape Canaveral launch but you get the idea.  Absolutely Fun!
This one was a small engine launch, the next was a much larger engine and took the small rocket nearly three hundred feet before the parachute pop.  Notice my boy with his ears covered... I guess he has seen daddy launch to many fireworks over the years.
not a very fishy post but nearly as fun.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Wooden Fly Box - Carved and Wood Burning

Here is a recent box I was tooling around with the other day while I was in the garage.  It is not quite finished yet but you get the idea.  I first did a relieve wood carving of the body of the fly and then drilled a small hole for the extra large steal hook.  I then created the box around the lid.  The top is a birds eye maple and the sides are a red oak with a mahogany inlay.  You might just be able to see a bit of the real wood inlay around  the middle of the box.  After a good sanding and oil application this box should really look good.  I might be a bit to bulky for a fly box but it should look good as a storage box for paints or fly tying material in my office.
I am hoping that I will be able to finish this little box up soon.  Of course that would require a bit of time off of work and a stretch of free time that a busy guy like me just finds it hard to get.  If you asked my wife why I have no free time she will undoubtedly tell you that if I got rid of one of my 'hobbies' I would have more time to finish those countless projects I have waiting in the wings.  She might have something there but what fun would that be?  Once I get it completed I will post a few pictures for you to look at.

On the non fishy front, last weekend my wife and I took the kids on a bit of a balloon chase.  Freedom Weekend Aloft is our area's big ballooning festival and after we watch some fifty plus balloons take to the skies, we loaded up the car to chase them down through the country side.  It was a blast and the kids loved it.  Nothing like tearing through fields and back country roads watching the skies for falling balloons.  It is a memory I wont soon forget and I am hoping they won't either.  If you ever get a chance, take your kids, They will love it.