Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Greenback Cutthroat Trout

One of Americas true national treasures, the Greenback Cutthroat Trout was once thought to be extinct but after being rediscovered in some isolated streams around the 1950's, the Greenback is on its way to reclaiming much of its native habitat.
The Cutthroat is a beautiful trout and as any angle can attest, it is also a joy to hook into one.  The Greenback is just one segment of a variety of Cutthroat species that once dominated the American Rockies.
I love painting these beautiful fish and so it is not by chance that I chose this fish for my subject the other day.  Its bright colors and distinct red cheeks make it a fish just asking to have a portrait done.

Greenback Cut
Aprx size - 10x14in
Watercolor on paper
for sale

Check out new prints available at extremely affordable prices HERE on my Watercolor PRINTS PAGE.  The Cutthroat is not up yet but it will be soon.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

At the Desk Tying Trash Flies

  The other day I was looking over a few fly tying books at a book store and came across one called Fly Patterns by Fishing Guides.  With 200 flies used by guides all over the world I thought that this would be a great addition to my collection of interesting books on fly tying and promptly bought it.
   The first one that caught my attention was the Foam Emerger by Masamitsu Kasuya.  Just my speed - easy to tie and simple enough to work. Tied these up on a #16 scud hook.  Now I can't wait to try it out - I bet the Tenkara Sunfish will kill them!

From there I went into tying up a few flies I had to replenish my box.  The beetle has long been a favorite of mine so it is no wonder why I am always re-stocking them in my small fly box.  With the creeks and tiny mountain streams I go to searching out the brookies, the small terrestrials are always a viable option to tie.  A passing trout cant help to give these little guys a look.  The only problem I have had with them is when fishing them I find it hard to see them at distance.  They are usually tied in #14 or #16 sizes and with a black body, I usually just fish a rise in the area of where I think my fly is drifting.  To solve this problem I have began to add a little white nail polish to the back of these stellar bugs.
I first start off with a cut section closed cell foam wrapped to the back of the hook.  This builds a thick body for the fly and I find gives the beetle a realistic appearance. I also do not use black thread.  I tend to go to a deep purple 6/0 thread because if you look carefully at the underside of a small beetle you will notice that it is not a true black but a varying shades of deep colors that make it look to us as simply black.
I then tie in some ostrich hurls for the under body.  These are excellent to give the fly a little life as it sits on the water.  The fish sees them move and they cant help themselves.
And then finally I bring the foam forward and finish the fly off with a little of my wife's nail polish.  Its a great fly and one sure to get a few looks on a small stream or on the pond.  Not technically a Tenkara fly but it has the same result when fished as a top water Tenkara style.
Messing a bit more with the closed cell foam I whipped up a few quick wingless wasp patterns.  You can count numerous way this is not remotely like a wasp but will the fish be so discerning? I bet when they see this rushing past them on a drift they will rush it like a linebacker.  The four or five wasps I pulled from a trouts stomach last year tells me that they do dine on the stinging insects so I am betting that these will be a winner.  Thoughts?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Orange Tenkara Kebari - Painting and Fly

I missed the Tenkara conference out west a week or so ago and much to my dismay I will unfortunately miss the Appalachian Tenkara Jam next weekend in North Carolina.  Thanks to a brutal work schedule, my fall fishing has been curbed as well as any hunting activities I had planned.
I may be missing all these great activities but it doesn't mean my mind isn't actively thinking about them so the other day I took a little time to release some of that pent up energy to sketch and tie up a few Tenkara fly.  This little Kebari style fly - painted with a bead and tied with a dubbing sack - sports the orange and yellows that brookies love.  More than any other color, I have found that brook trout seek and aggressively hit on an orange colored fly.  Even in a stream system where blacks, olives, and muddy brown bugs are the only colors of native food, the orange is the color that always hits.
  Whether you tie it with a glass or tungsten bead or go with a dubbing clutch, this fly is sure to please in any brook trout stream you visit.
  For those of you interested in owning this original Yellow Kebari painting, shoot me a message.  It will be well within your price range and will look good over your desk.
  Also take the time to visit the Appalachian Tenkara Anglers for info on the Jam happening on the 11th &12th. and suit up with a shirt at my shop HERE.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Life Rolls and A Little Brook Trout Watercolor To Relax

Small Brook Tout On Blue

My life has been so busy lately that when my wife asked when was the last time I had done a blog post I actually couldn't remember.  Of course that doesn't mean that I have been idle in the fishing or painting department.  Not only have I been wetting flies in search of lazy black bass but I have been working on a variety of painting projects including a collection of salt water species for a fund raising tournament in Tampa Bay.
  But for today I found a small amount of time to finish up a colorful Brook Trout on Blue watercolor.  As many know, the eastern bred brookie is one of my favorite fresh water species not only for its unbelievable colors but also for their aggressive takes and the remote hill streams in which they thrive.  Painting them is a way for me to remember their beauty and relax after a tough few days on the road for work.
Painted area 11x9in. - watercolor on paper
  This particular brook trout is modeled off a secluded native species I caught in the northern boarders of Greenville county in South Carolina.  The stream in which they live takes an effort to reach and I would bet sees not more that a few dedicated fisherman each year.  Choked by brush and countless ways to loose your flies, its native waters is the perfect habitat for the large amount of brook trout that call it home.  The fly I used all day was a simple black caddis in size 16 and for the brookies it was irresistible.
  This particular painting is available for purchase to the first art collector that contacts me.
  As for the other paintings that I have been working on, I will be posting the availability of these prints in the coming months on my site.  The Spanish Mackerel, Permit, and Snook are staples of the saltwater fishing community and these prints represent three of the top prizes for the boat crews in the Annual Tampa Bay BCN Gators Inshore Tournament.  If you fish the salt, keep a weathered eye out in the future for these.
  For the top prize in the tournament I have created a one of kind piece.
  This large painting is only available to the one person who hauls in the biggest fish of the day.  No prints are available there is no other way to have this original watercolor on your walls than to enter the tournament on October 10th 2014.
  If you would like to enter then click over to the registration site HERE quickly and get in on the great day of fishing.  Besides the paintings, there will be a whole lot of other prizes and swag for the participants.  So far I am told over 40 boat crews have signed up and it is shaping up to be a memorable and worthy day on the water.

  Besides the vast amount of paintings I have been doing, I have also managed to squeeze in a bit of hunting between the work load of my day job.  So far the deer are all safe and I am sure they are all laughing at me from their beds.  With any luck I will yet gather a bit of meat for the winter the old fashion way but I am not holding my breath.
  Besides the hunting I have also been able to wet a few flies in search for the lazy bass that are around this time of year.  Luckily me skills as a fly fisherman are much better than my hunting skills so I have managed to land quite a few nice fish.  Maybe soon I will be able to make the journey back to my trout waters.
  And of course, before I even think about heading to satisfy me needs to get out in nature I spend as much time as I can with my family.  Sometimes they come with me to hunt fish and sometimes as the rain washes out gullies it is just best if we settle down with a bit of Robert Earl Keen on the speakers and a little game of chess to pass the time.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Tiger Trout T-Shirt Design

Grab the Tiger by the tail and hang on.  Very few people outside the trout fishing community even know about the Tiger Trout and even fewer have had the opportunity to fight one of these beauties.
  This design is a hexfishing original and is only available at my T-Shirt shop.
Click over and check this sweet shirt out and many more designs for the trout and bass fishermen in you.
Not available in any store or swanky Orvis boutique, this shirt is an original by yours truly and I bet you will be asked where you got it by any fisherman than sees you wearing it.
  Show your love of hunting rare and unique trout with this Tiger trout graphic.

Enough of the hard sell???  Buy it - don't buy it, I don't really care.  I just love designing creative fishing shirts mostly for me and honestly make little if any profit off the few that I do sell.  Just like my fishing my flies, I just love designing and wearing them.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pumpkin Seed Sunfish

  Not much to say other than I love these little sunfish.  Their colors always bring a smile even when
I'm frustrated that they took my fly before the monster bass.
  The river species of these beauties, even if rather small, are as brightly colored as any I have ever come across.

Pumpkinseed Sunfish
-  Pencil on Toned Paper
- 8in x 8in.
-Email of Facebook P.M. for purchasing cheap.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Sketching Birds

Blue Jay - 5x5in - ink, pencil, on toned paper.
    Sketching birds is not one of my usual pursuits but when one ties flies with their feathers it is hard not to occasionally pass the time finding beauty in their color.  Last week it looked like a few Blue Jays got into a fight in my front yard so being the fly tier I am, I took the tail feathers as future tools of the trade.  They also serve as a good inspiration for a sketch.

   I also enjoy watching the great Blue Heron troll the waters of my mountain streams.  They are ultimate masters in finding fish and a stocked stream I frequent is a perfect place for a few of these majestic birds to set up shop.  I will tell you that having one of these massive birds dive bomb you in the middle of a back cast is not an event you will appreciate.  In fact it scares the junk out of you if you are unlucky enough not to see it coming.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Finding Nature While Fishing In SC

Yesterday I took my Tenkara rod up to the foothills for a little trout chasing and found more than I was looking for.
  I enjoy all types of fishing as most of you know, whether it is fly fishing, spin fishing, and if the situation calls for it - even bait fishing, but as a rule I tend to enjoy casting a fly more than all the others.  Tenkara fishing is just another way for me to be connected to the fly in a more direct way and for fishing small streams it is, in my opinion, the best tool in the box to catch fish.  It allows ease of travel, with simplicity and a direct contact with the fly that a traditional fly rod and reel rarely can duplicate.
  So when I headed to the hills to search for trout, I was expecting to catch a number of browns - due to water temp - and maybe if I was lucky, a rainbow or two.  What I was not expecting was to get a hat trick of species completely disconnected from each other.
  Just after sunrise I hooked into a number of browns that eagerly took a Killer Bug made from my wife's knitting yarn but after the heat began to hit the water I hooked into a few sunfish and even an eager river bass that had some stunningly sharp coloring.
  The Sunfish however was the winner of the day for color.  As many of you can attest, a river/stream sunfish is one of the most brilliantly colored fish in fresh water.  They are by no means a big fish or one you want to brag about but they are magnificently colored.  Pictures rarely do them justice but if you appreciate beauty in nature than you must give the little guy his due.

   Another added bonus I discovered was the amount of wildlife that joined me on the river.  Below are just a few examples of the other colors in nature that astound me.
This Marbled Orb Weaver - that is its real name, I looked it up - almost became real close friends when I came inches away from planting my face in its web.  Only his bright coloring made me check my steps and for that I am thankful.
Countless butterflies refused to sit still for a photo but this guy - probably near the end of his life - cooperated.
By far one of the largest caterpillars I have ever seen.  I haven't looked it up yet but would love to hear your thoughts on what it would be.  I was thinking a Luna Moth but that is only because it is so big.  Any Ideas?
  Overall it was a good morning and as the heat took hold around noon, I packed up and headed home.  I love nature and all it has to offer.  Getting out to fish is only part of the experience and if you don't take advantage of all the beauty that surrounds your time in the woods than you are doing yourself a real disservice.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Spanish Mackerel Painting

  Its a random departure from my usual trout paintings but its not the first time I have ventured to the salt for inspiration. Besides, If it has fins it is fair game in my book.  I love painting fish no mater what their habitat. This Spanish Mackerel is part of a special collection I am working on for the annual Tampa Bay BCN Gators Fishing Tournament.
  Last year they raised a ton of money for charity and I am stoked that they chose me to once again contribute the top prize paintings for their competitors.
  This Mackerel will be a top prize for one of the winning boats but don't be dismayed.  After October you too can own a gallery quality print of this beautiful fish to hang at you coastal retreat.
  These cellphone photos hardly do this painting justice but once they are sent over to my guy who does my gallery quality giclee prints he will be able to make even the lightest colors and shades pop just like the original.
  Next up will be a staple of the Florida coastal fishing scene - The famed Florida Snook.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Chattooga River Brown

    A few days ago I finished up a commission for a Kyle as a present to his dad.  Last year his dad reeled in this beautiful brown trout on the Chattooga river in Northern GA/SC and wanted a memento to remember the day and the fish.  With a single cell phone pic hardly doing the trout justice, Kyle asked if I could paint him up a nice representation of the wonderful fish.
Kyle also reports that this fish is back swimming around the cool waters of that river and if anyone is interested it likes to chew on Tellico Nymphs.  I think I am going to have to go hunting for him next week.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

World Record Coho Salmon

    After having this on my project list for some time I finally got the finishing touches done on this world record Coho (silver inland) Salmon for angler Greg Raymond.  Caught in the chilly waters of Lake Michigan this fish is a certified beast weighing in at exactly 18lbs.
  Last October Greg hauled this monster in on standard rod and reel just off the coast of Wisconsin.  In doing so he sealed his place in the record books for the largest coho caught in Lake Michigan for its class.
  A little while ago Greg contacted me and asked if I would be interested in painting this fish for him.  As you can imagine I eagerly jumped on the opportunity to paint such an important catch.  Its not every day that a record holding fish comes across the table of my studio.
    Congratulations to Greg and his beautiful fish.
I can only hope that I have done your world record Coho Salmon justice.  May it hang on you wall for years to come and may you remember that day every time you look at it.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Quick Montana Fishing Trip

   I was lucky enough to have a few days off and so with the blessing from my wife I packed up my new 6w rod and set off for the mecca of fly fishing - Montana.  Connecting through Salt Lake at 10 am I boarded a plane that had no less than 30 other heavily armed fly fisherman in search for those fantastic summer waters of the Madison and Yellowstone.  With a destination such as that one cant help to smile as you circle the valley of Bozeman while the plane lines up for a landing.
  For me it was a two part trip.  Not only was it a chance for me to angle for wild Montana trout but it was also a chance to spend some quality time on the river with my father, who is just in the beginning stages of learning how to cast a fly.  He had always been a fisherman but since he has moved to a place with such legendary waters and devoted fly fishing community he has picked up a good fly rod outfit and began the frustrating and rewarding pursuit of fly fishing.  As he puts it 'The trout give him just enough to keep him coming back, but that's about it'.  Last winter in a frozen section of the Madison he hooked into a rainbow of a lifetime and I sure wish I could have been there to see him pull it in.
  My goal was to simply hook fish.  I didn't dare to dream of big fish or legendary battles.  All I wanted was a few days on the river with eager fish to battle.
  So when the plane landed at 1pm and I met my dad the first thing we did was to head over to the Fin & Feather fly shop at Four Corners right next to the Gallatin River for a few flies and a licence.  By 3 we were on the river which has to be one of the quickest airport to river times in history.  The following pics are just a taste of the great fish and scenes I had on the trip.

On my last day we took to the Upper Madison where we were told that the fishing was hot and heavy.  As it turns out we must have missed the big fishing because after six hours all we had show for our effort was a few very small cutthroat and a sunburn.  Of all the other fisherman on the river with us we only saw one other guy and his guide hook into a six inch trout so we moved to another local slightly down stream.

  It was there that I hooked into one of the better trout in my life.  The size is surely not the biggest and the picture does it mo justice but this guy fought me hard for the better part of fifteen minutes in a stretch of very fast and powerful water.  Of all the fish that I have hooked into in my career I have put not more than two trout on the reel and only one of those tested my drag.  This guy hit my rubber legged stone with a fierceness of any eastern trout three times his size.  Immediately after hooking him he ran and made my Abel reel buzz until I had to chase him down river.  With my backing threatening to show he held up in a little eddy where I was able to gain on him.  He made a total of four more runs just like the first and by the time I actually had a net on him he had dragged me down river more than 75 yards.  After letting him rest I gently released his tail and he swam away to do battle again.  It might not have been a record rainbow but it was surely a memorable fight with the prettiest and most powerful fish of the trip.

  For me it was my last fish of the trip and a good one to end on.  With a fierce hail storm and thunder echoing through the valley, we packed up and headed home tired but elated.
A day later I was back at work but the memory of those few days with my dad and Montana trout will last for a lifetime.  If you have never been lucky enough to see the beauty of the big skies of our country, then do yourself a favor and book your trip now.  It truly is one of Gods masterpieces...