Saturday, October 31, 2009

Good times

Ok, it's not exactly a trophy shot

On the fishing front ... well, it's a little slow and more than a little frustrating. Area lakes are full due to the recent (and frequent) rains and the tailraces are flowing fast and deep. The fall is normally my favorite time to be on the water, but 2009 isn't turning out to be what I had hoped for or expected.

I've tried to flee to other, more promising waters, but Mother Nature has nixed those plans as well. Two Gulf of Mexico tuna-fishing trips in the past two weeks have been canceled due to high winds and even higher waves. Later this week, a few buddies and I are supposed to head to Heber Springs, Ark., for a few days of fishing on the Little Red River. As luck would have it, the monsoon season in the Natural State has been worse than in Tennessee, and Heber received an additional eight inches of rain on Thursday and Friday, swelling the river to a chocolate mess and probably necessitating a full season of heavy generation from the Greers Ferry dam.

It's at times like these that I need to reflect back on better fishing times -- some of which occurred as recently as a couple of months ago. For your enjoyment (and for my sanity), here's a photo essay of some of my good days on the water in the past year.

Orvis-endorsed photo

Betsy caught this Little Red Bow after a perfect drift

My wife -- fly-fishing babe

Little Red River Bow

Caught ...

... and released

Home Water -- The Caney Fork River

Stones River longeared sunfish -- the prettiest fish in Tennessee

Largemouth caught on a beat-up popper

More fun with the Sea-Life camera

Betsy's big brown ... makin' me jealous

Ugly pose with an ugly fish

Tailwater striper

Monday, October 26, 2009

Big Trout - Big Painting

In late July, my good friend Anthony headed west to ply the legendary waters of western Montana. On July 31, he fished the Missouri River and caught his largest rainbow trout ever -- a very fat (and reportedly angry) 24-inch-plus fish. Anthony fooled the big fish on a small nymph and after landing it and taking several photos, he dutifully released the female 'bow.

Upon his return to working life and to fishing southeastern tailraces which are completely devoid of grizzly bears, Anthony contacted me about possibly commissioning me to paint a portrait of his trophy catch. After a few conversations about how he wanted it done, I gladly took on the project and produced the following painting:

I delivered the portrait to Anthony last week, and he's in the process of having the painting framed. Thankfully, he was thrilled with the work, and I can only presume that the portrait of his trophy rainbow will hang prominently somewhere in his home (if Anthony's smart, he'll first seek judgment and counsel from his wife as to finding that perfect spot on the wall) so that he can both frequently view it ... and use it as a conversation piece. We all love our fish stories, and what better way to start one than to point at the fish and say, "Hey, let me tell you about the time I caught that."

I really like painting these types of "catch and release" portraits. I consider it an honor to take them on and spend a great deal of time making sure I not only capture the character of the fish, but also position it in a way that pays tribute to both it and the angler.

If you're interested in a commissioned painting of your trophy catch, please give me a shout. I'd love to help you out.