Interview with Pierre Lainé of La Flyfab

Photo: Pierre Lainé
Photo: Pierre Lainé

I had the chance to send a couple of questions to French fly fishing guide and fly tier Pierre Lainé about his new fly website http://www.flyfab.fr.

I asked him about the material he likes to use to tie his flies and the fly fishing opportunity France has to offer!

ATAMH:I have noticed your flies are tied with very traditional materials like CDC, pheasant tail etc., but have a very modern touch to them. Could you tell us a little more about your flies?

Pierre: It is true that I use a lot of natural material. In fact I use very few materials to tie my flies in general – Hairs, Deer hair, CDC and Coq.
I find my inspiration by the river bank! I have gained quite a bit of experience on the subject over the years and my flies are mounted with the sole goal of pleasing the fish. To please the fish, the flies need to be as close as possible to the real bug in size and colour. What seems to be the most important and challenging task is to tie flies that move, are light and look alive. This becomes very important to make a fish want to make a move towards your fly (especially French fish, but I will be back to it in your last questions).

Photo: Pierre Lainé
Photo: Pierre Lainé

When you understand these characteristics, you realize that natural materials is what works best in making your flies look alive! Nonetheless, to make a fly look like the real insect, the profile and the proportions of it is very important! My flies use very little materials and I think it gives it an incredible lightness, this might be why you can see a modern touch to them.

ATAMH: Your dries seem to be tied with mostly CDC but you barely used any hackle, why is that?

Pierre: A good CDC feather has many advantages: it’s super light, it’s flexible, it floats extremely well and, after been dyed, has an endless colour panel! Again, I tried to make flies that look as real as possible and CDC is exactly made for that. When you get use to CDC, you can gauge the amount of feathers to use on the hook shank to tie flies with different flotations – high on the water, emergers and even flies that stay in the water film. CDC is super versatile and this is why I use it the most.

ATAMH: Finally, I would like you to tell us more about what kind of fly fishing experience people traveling to France can expect to have?

Pierre: France offers an incredible diversity of fly fishing opportunities! In only a couple of hours of driving you have the possibility to fish high mountain rivers and lakes in the Pyrenees Mountain and the Alps, Gin clear streams of the Franche-Compté and Cévennes to dark and earthy water of the Bretagnes and Auvergne. There’s also bigger river like the Dordogne and the Ain without forgetting the salt water opportunities for Tuna, Stripped Bass and Bonitos.

About the trout fly fishing in France, it can be quite difficult and challenging at times. Due to the high density of the angler population, the rivers are busier and the trout, who are caught many times are weary. Although, it is possible to have an amazing day of fishing and the possibility of catching very big trout is there!
It become very important to use a very long and fine leader, very fine. Back home in France, we get crazy when we watch fly fishing video coming from North America! It is a totally different fishing here. Here, you have to fish fly line no bigger then 5wt and the leaders are very long to be as stealthy as possible averaging 6 to 10 meters, from 5x to 8x!
But, with a little bit of casting practice and perseverance, the prize comes rapidly and France can offer incredible wild fisheries and even some record sizes!

Pierre Lainé
Pierre Lainé

I would like to thanks Pierre Lainé to take the time to answer my questions and to share is knowledge of fly fishing to all ATAMH readers.
Pierre as been a fly fishing guide for many years as well as a furious competitor. His adventures can be seen in many publications like This is Fly and he’s also part of the fly fishing video production 9p#5 Media

Visit his website at http://flyfab.fr/

This is the latest video of  9p#5 Media :

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What About That Tacky Fly Box?

Tacky Fly Box 01

Have you heard about the Tacky fly box yet? I discovered them for the first time on Instagram this winter. I then went surfing the net to learn more about them.

I contacted Tim Jenkins, cofounder of TFF, to ask him some questions about the fly box that might revolutionise the fly storage industry.

Here’s what he had to say.

What makes Tacky fly boxes so innovative?

We have set out to solve a few different problems with the most common fly boxes on the market today. The hallmark of the tacky fly box (and the reason for the name) is the use of silicone as opposed to foam. The slits in the silicone hold flies tighter than in foam, they last longer and the adhesive we use does not delaminate over time as is often seen in the majority of fly boxes. The silicone itself is an amazing product and we are sure people will love these when they get them in their hands. The box has a very clear lid to enable you to see all of your flies and can hold approximately the same number of flies as many 2-sided boxes. We have also offset the slits such that you can anchor a long fly and, because there is an offset, the row of slots in front of this fly is still available for use. In other boxes, if you anchored a long fly the next row is effectively blocked. Thus, we have made our box very efficient for its size (get more flies in less space). We also noticed that so many of the boxes on the market are just far thicker than they needed to be. Our box is thin, and will allow you to fit the most gear in your pack. With this in mind though, we also made sure the that box was just big enough to fit
virtually any parachute fly without smashing the post. We really think that all of our thought and effort has really paid off and we think you will also realize this the minute you get your first Tacky fly box in hand.

How long was the research and trial before coming out with the fly box?

When I started graduate school in 2009 I met Ki Aston who I worked directly with in our biomedical research. We always enjoyed taking a break from our science discussions to talk fly fishing and, particularly about the idea of making a new and improved fly box. Because of the pressures of research our first attempts did not come until a few years later. We recruited Ki’s brother Eric (an engineer) to help us develop our first box made of wood; an interesting wood and magnetic box. It was really cool looking but was far from practical. We then began to experiment with silicone as our anchoring mechanism and tried this in a CNC routed Aluminum box. The thing was beautiful and the silicone was awesome but it cost about $200 to make. Because of the cost and a few other issues we shifter our focus to ploy carbonate. It took a long time to figure out how to make the silicone feasible and, in particular how to adhere the silicone to the ploy carbonate box, but over about a year and a half we were able to figure out the process. In the later stages of development we have recruited a few others, Shaun Curtis and Spencer Higa to help in social media, designing future boxes and with the business side of things. It took a long time, particularly because our focus has, out of necessity, been on our “real jobs” and this has had to come together in the late hours of the night and on weekends, but after all of this effort and trial and error we are really proud of what we have come up with.

What are your future plans for Tacky Fly Fishing?

I’m glad you asked. Our goal is to make fly boxes for fly fishers, by fly fishers that will fit everyone’s needs, and this will require more then just one simple box. We will be at the IFTD show in July and we will have two additional products to display. We will have a streamer box and what we affectionately call the Tacky Patch, if you follow our Facebook page we will release more details about these in the coming months. These items should be available in stores by mid to late summer. We will also have other boxes to be released soon after these that will address many of the other issues that we commonly encounter with the boxes available today. Now that Tacky Fly Fishing has received so much attention and has begun to take off, we have been able to commit more of our time in research and development of future products and the ideas that are being put through R&D right now are going to change bug luggage in a big way! Our hope is that our products become popular enough that we can commit ourselves to this pursuit full time, which will enable us to continue to get these innovative products in the hands of fly fishers everywhere.

Huge thanks to Tim and the Tacky Fly Fishing team for its generosity!
Visit Tacky Fly Fishing at http://tackyflyfishing.com/ to see what it is all about!

tackyflyboz01

Interview With Fly Fishing Artist Zane Porter

Zane is a badass fly fishing artist from Greenville in South Carolina. His art is super rad and he accepted to talk about his own stuff and the fly fishing art movement that’s shaping fly fishing culture.

smallmouth

Fly Fishing Ruins Lives… tell us how you got to that name?

In the small town of South Carolina where I grew up, you either get found or hooked on drugs. I got hooked on fly fishing. I find it pretty easy to lose myself in the act of fishing.

I would love to ask you how and why you started doing fly fishing art?

I started fly fishing art almost right after I discovered the thing. My art has changed so much since.

It seems to me that there’s some sort of an art movement taking place in the fly fishing industry, could you tell us your thoughts about it and what your art stands for in this fly fishing culture?

I totally agree. It is a movement and the guys like Ryan Sharpe, Paul, Jake Keeler, people like them are expressing a lot. We all like money in our pocket, but our work shows how passionate we all are. I don’t think we really have a choice. It’s more of a lifestyle.

brown

Where do you find your ideas and inspirations?

Ralph Steadman has always been a huge influence. Usually if it’s a hard time for me to understand, it’s weird enough for me to like. Jake Keeler, Amber with The Bug Parade, that chick just kills it. Those Musky fiends, SCOF and the Pigfarm Ink guys. So much going on in the fly fishing world today.

What is your favourite fish on the fly and where is your favourite place to fish?

Appalachian Brookies. Going way up a new piss trickle to chase em. Something about them and the waters of NC will always be something eating away at my heart.

Do you have any future projects you would like to tell us about?

A few are up the air. We will have to just wait and watch it play out.

If you want to know and see more about Zane Porter and is art style, visit

http://flyfishingruinslives.wordpress.com/

or like is Facebook page at

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fly-Fishing-Ruins-Lives/234617686707783?fref=ts

brookie

 

MPLS FLY And The Smallmouth

Look at that pig!
Patt and a football like smallie

I have been following Patterson Leeth and MPLS FLY on Instagram for a while now. Pat has been tying a lot of big ass streamer patterns, trout flies and Poppers. Last week I contacted him to talk MPLS FLY and his thoughts on fly fishing bronze back.

How long have guys been in business?

I launched MPLS FLY in 2012 when I moved to Minneapolis and noticed a void. There were not a lot of voices sharing content relevant to our fisheries here in the upper Midwest, so I decided to start a Facebook page instead of bombarding my friends email boxes with links. That has changed a lot here in the last couple years thanks to some new shops (Bob Mitchell with a new owner and Mend Provisions) opening up in the area and more people locally engaging in the sport.

MPLS_FLY_popper

What kind of fly fishing experience do you want to share and promote with MPLS FLY?

Really it’s just a look inside my life, my flies, my fishing adventures, shitty trips and good trips. Promoting our fishery, it really is one of the best fisheries in the world, when it’s not covered in ice. The thing I love most about this sport are the experiences and the people. I enjoy following other people on their journeys. So I thought I would share mine.

I feel a sense of badassness in what you guys are doing, who are you trying to appeal to?

Thanks! I’m not really trying to “appeal” to anyone, just trying to produce and share content that other people are interested in, if you are interested great and I really appreciate it, if you don’t give a shit then you don’t have to pay attention!

I’m a smallmouth enthusiast as well, but I often get the “smallies are way too easy to fish for, it gets boring” by the fly fisher around me. What would you tell these kind of nonbelievers?

There are days when smallmouth fishing is unbelievable/easy, there are also days where you really have to work to get a fish to the boat. At the end of the day I spend my time off, vacation days and weeks away from family to catch fish. I really like smallmouth bass, great fight, super aggressive and a 19″ smallmouth on a popper is anything but boring. That being said, I think you can blind yourself to the true reason you fish if you only target one species. I grew up on a tiny little smallmouth stream in southern Missouri and they will always hold a special place in my heart, but I love Musky and Bonefish just as much, but for very different reasons.

Poppers or big streamers?

Poppers all day, nothing beats it, unless they aren’t hitting topwater, then streamers all day.

Thanks so much to Patt to answer my questions and contribute to A Trout Ate My Homework! If you give MPLS FLY a shout, visit http://mplsfly.com/

MPLS_FLY_streamer

How Does Genetic Hackle Work?

Clearwater Hackle Feathers

Dries, wet or streamer flies – ever wonder how they produce such amazing fly fishing hackle – colors, length, resistance, differences? It is the hard work of hackle companies, which dedicated themselves to provide the best quality hackle feather for fly fisher and fly tier. Lars Benson, owner of Clearwater Hackle, will answer some of my questions and share with us what it means to raise fly tying hackle birds. I hope this will help you understand a tiny bit more about the care and genetic effort behind it!

Why did you decide to take over Clearwater Hackle bird company?
It combines two loves: fishing and birds. My grandpa would take me fly fishing with him to some of the best trout streams in the world. I was too young to cast, but he would let me land the fish. It was a blast, and you could say I was “hooked” at an early age. I was fortunate to grow up so close to incredible fishing waters, and would go with my brothers or friends whenever we had the chance.

As for birds, it too started when I was a boy. We always had chickens and other birds on the family farm. When I was about 12 my parents gave me an incubator for Christmas. A family friend had a flock of nearly every breed of chicken known to man, and gave me four dozen eggs to hatch.

Of all that hatched, two roosters stood out. One was a huge cream rooster that was as tame as a dog, named Arney (Arnold Schwarzenegger was still an A-list actor at the time), and the other was a miniature black bantam I named King Kong. What King Kong lacked in size he made up in spirit and would often try fighting any other rooster in the coop, including Arney. The unconquerable hearts of those two birds was the start of my love for the animal.

Fast forward 25 years. We met and became friends with Denny Conrad, a master fly tier and owner of the rare genetic dry fly chicken, formally Conranch Hackle. He devoted his life to perfecting the breed from the standpoint of the fly tier, and made quite a name in the industry. Denny is not a “spring chick” anymore and while he loved the birds he knew it was time to let them go to new owners.

We just happened to be the new owners. (I attribute a lot of it to my little daughter who won over Denny’s heart.)

Grizzly Rooster(1)

What is the genetic work behind raising birds with such specialized feathers?

Lots! There have been millions of dollars spent developing the “genetic hackle” chicken. Many have tried. Most actually failed.

Tiers today are surprised to learn that you can tie a fly with just about any chicken feather. However, you need the genetic rooster to tie dry flies. What makes this bird special is a mutation, which unless introduced into a flock cannot be recreated in a barnyard bird. The mutation gives the feather buoyancy and a few other great traits, discussed below.

If you go back to the pioneers in genetic hackle, the Darbees and Hoffmans, you find that they really did not know how the mutation happened. Luck perhaps. Or, also their keen ability to spot something different that most other breeders would have missed.

As for our efforts at Clearwater Hackle, one of the most important aspects of proper genetic management is keeping accurate and detailed records. We maintain a database that tracks multiple data points. You may not guess how labor intensive it is to keep updated records, but it can take as much time (often more) than actually caring for the birds. And the more in-depth and accurate you can make your records the better your breeding program.

We also place emphasis on selective breeding so that we only use the ‘best of the best’ as breeders. An inferior or even mediocre bird, especially if it is a hen, can stunt your progress for years to come. We spend weeks picking the new breeders, carefully analyzing records and then spending a lot of time with the actual birds.

It requires a thorough understanding of genes…and even with that understanding you still get surprises and you quickly learn that one cannot perfectly control all outcomes. Lastly, our breeding program today is a deliberate strategy of what we want our birds to be in 5+ years from now.

What makes a bird more suited for a good fly tying hackle?

It all comes down to genetics, and being able to produce birds that grow the right type of feathers. There are many features you want to have in a quality feather. Flexible, strong stems is a must whether tying dry or wet flies. One of the “mutations” that makes our flock special is that the stems are an oval shape, which maximizes the number of wraps and better utilizes the feather, so that there aren’t any kinking or breaking of steams that can sometimes happen.

If tying dry flies, then stiff barbs and feathers that lack barbicles (the velcro-type hooks that keep feathers together). If wet flies, then soft hackle is important (such as is found in our JV Hen skins) because of how the undulation in water mimics the movement of insects.

There are other subtle but important qualities too, such as sheen, barb count, and large sweet spot (amount of usable area on a feather). A lot of tiers place too much emphasis on length. Unless you are a professional tier, length should not be as important because a good fly tier should be able to tie 3+ flies from each feather.

Young Barred Ginger Rooster Close up

Can you enlighten us about the major difference between cape and saddle hackle?

Great question, and one that even veteran fly tiers do not always know the answer to.

A genetic rooster grows hackle on just two places, his neck (cape) and back near the tail (saddle). All the rest of his feathers have barbicles, which absorb water and will make a fly sink. In other words, a genetic rooster grows both dry fly feathers and wet fly feathers, depending on where the feather is on the bird. We usually include trimmings on our capes and saddles, so our customers actually benefit from buying both wet and dry feathers in the same purchase.

There are two main differences between cape and saddle hackle. Capes have a wider range of feather sizes but shorter feathers. Saddles have longer feathers but typically in just 2-3 sizes.

The cape is more suited for those people who plan to tie a variety of flies, since there are a number of different feather sizes on a cape. For instance, our capes usually have a range from size 2 all the way to size 30. Most feathers on a cape should yield 3 flies per feather, provided the tier does not over-wrap. I typically recommend capes to new tiers and most hobby tiers.

Saddles are more suited for those tiers who want to tie many flies in a particular size and/or pattern. Our saddles have the old fashion sizes of 10-14, which is becoming more popular today as more tiers are going back to the traditional flies. Saddle hackle grows longer too. For instance, one of our breeders named Big Foot, grew saddle hackle 23 inches long in just 13 months! While that is unfortunately quite rare, a Grade 1 saddle hackle should yield about 8-10 flies per feather…again, provided the tier does not over-wrap. For this reason a lot of pro tiers prefer to buy our saddle over capes because they have specific numbers of certain flies to tie.

Young Barred Ginger Rooster

What does a day at Clearwater Hackle look like?
A lot of work, but we try to make it fun too. It’s a family affair. First thing in the morning we turn on the lights and check on the birds to ensure everything is fine. We take care of the birds in the afternoon, and I spend a few hours answering emails and sending out orders.

How many birds you guys are taking care of?
Currently we raise a couple thousand birds a year. Our goal is to raise 10,000 within the next 2-3 years.

Thank you so much to Lars Benson for is willingness! Have a good dry fly tying session!

For more information about Clearwater Hackle, visit http://www.clearwaterhackle.com/

interview with Eric L Knowlton of Reeltrout Studio

image001

Eric L Knowlton is an artist wood carver and an avid fly fisherman from Alaska and he specializes in carving trophy trout. He graciously accepted to answer some questions I had for him and I would like to thank him for his time! Enjoy everyone!

If you are interested in Eric’s work, you can visit the link here:

http://www.ReelTrout.com

Or drop him an email at:

sales@reeltrout.com

How and when did you start doing wood carving?

I got my interest in carving from my grandfathers and dad as a boy growing up in rural Oregon (we spent a lot of time in the woods hunting and fishing, and did selective horse logging on our own land). 

Wood working is a tradition on both sides of my family, my dad’s side being English-Canadian (Knowlton / Lac la Brome, Quebec) and my mom’s side (NW Coast native – you call them First Nations) – I am Coos indian of the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians of the Oregon coast (Federally recognized by the US govt.) Both sides had loggers and carpenters and everyone built their own houses, cabinets, etc.   You might recognize the name Umpqua from the fly fishing manufacture.  They are referring to the Umpqua river, and I spent most of my pre teen years at the head waters of this river and the Willamette river in Oregon.

My earliest carving was whittling small items with my grandfathers but I would draw all the time and my parents recognized that my twin and I had a natural talent. As a teen, my dad took me to a wood carving demonstration after we had moved Anchorage, Alaska.  As a young adult and avid fisherman, I saw a wood carved trout at a store in Anchorage and I was hooked!

Commercially, I have been carving since 2003 at the age of 33.  I learned from the late artist Ed Walicki of Michigan and from reading Bob Berry’s books and then exploring the craft on my own.  My reason for taking up fish carving is that I had always been fascinated with trout and with combining my drawing and painting talents with my woodworking skills.  The reason I decided to make it a commercial venture was after seeing a skin mount trout a friend had caught and I realized there had to be a better solution.  A web search turned up Ed Walciki (I had already read Bob Berry’s first book which dealt with carving mostly with knives and chisels – I have the scars to show why that is not a popular method!).  I bought Ed’s VHS tapes and would later spend a week with him at his cabin on the Au Sable river outside of Grayling, Michigan.  I learned more in that week than I had in my whole life.

How much is Alaska and your surroundings influencing your art?

Alaska is a beautiful country – it is literally awe inspiring!  In my early 20’s, I would often do watercolor paintings of salmon & trout and river scenes, inspired by the experiences I had walking the wild streams and rivers fishing for kings, sockeye and trout.  Some of my favorite scenes are of the hardy but small spruce trees along the rivers edges, the tall grasses that grow to heights of six feet under the midnight sun and the blooming fireweed – natures calendar.  We watch the fireweed as a gauge on the season – it blooms bottom to top – as it tops out, you know the saying… Winter is coming!
Growing up in coastal Oregon and the foothills of the Cascade range, Alaska meets my ‘living’ requirements: mountains, rivers, lakes, forests and of course, trout.

I love Oregon – but I stay in Alaska through the long winters because I cannot tear myself away from the incredible trout fisheries we have here.  Wild trout.  Abundant trout.  Grayling, salmon, dolly varden and arctic char – then there is the ocean.  My blood is tied both symbolically and literally to the sea.  Salmon were and are the lifeblood for many coastal tribes.  Our tribe still celebrates the chinook (king) and coho (silver) salmon runs in Oregon.

After high school, I commercially fished for halibut with my commercial art teacher.  If you’ve seen Deadliest Catch, it is a bit like that but minus the crab pots.  We used 1 mile long lines, every 20′ was a 6′ leader with a hook and herring.  Around March, still winter in Alaska!  I love being on the ocean and seeing the whales, the dolphins, the sea birds and just riding the waves.  There are so many things that make the artist’s mind juice when you are surrounded by wild nature and its rugged beauty.
The only thing I am not fond of in Alaska is the wind.  I loved the wind on the sand dunes in Oregon, but here it is too cold!

Your carving seem to represent the ultimate alternative vs harvesting fish, how important for you is
catch and release?

I am an advocate for catch and release because we could easily wipe out or destroy the stocks.
I am ALSO an advocate for those who chose to live a subsistence or partial subsistence lifestyle the right to responsibly harvest fish for food.  In my region, I find those fish to be sockeye salmon, halibut and cod.  I no longer target king salmon or coho salmon because their stocks have had trouble in recent years in my area.  The issue lies mainly at the feet of Fish and Game in Alaska and NOAA allowing commercial fleets (remember, I worked in the industry in my 20’s) to overharvest for commercial sales.  These stocks would be better managed by Alaska if they were used for sports and subsistence only – halt the commercial slaughter that is preventing our stocks from replenishing.

When I was young, you never considered releasing a catch unless it was under the legal size limit.  From the tribal heritage, it was literally like throwing away food.  And when you are an excited teen or young person who finally catches a prize sized trout, you think you have to keep it just to prove to everyone you’ve finally mastered your skills and you are proud, as you should be.  However, it’s a rushed thought and old thinking of ways that are not necessary both from the traditional standpoint or for the angler who first catches their first trophy sized trout.

I had already started making the move away from spinning gear to fly fishing in my mid 20’s as I was catching more trout than I could ever keep and I didn’t like the mortality that the spinners and hardware lures seemed to have – or bait.  Bait was messy (effective and deadly) but the fish took it too deep – you were keeping it no matter.

Nowaday, I do not killed trout or char anymore.  I have taken grayling for food, as needed twice on long trips in the bush.  I do still regularly subsist on salmon, cod and halibut that I personally catch each summer.  This is my traditional food.  But I only catch what I intend to keep in these cases.

Talk to us about you artistic process?

For those that want a physical reminder of the memory, my wood carvings serve as the ultimate option for the catch and release angler – I call it ‘Carve and Release’!   I offer a variety of options: my rustic carvings (no scales burned/carved in) are great for the lower budget.  My Fish Portraits (traditional ‘European’ style mount – half body profile on a wood panel) is the best way to preserve the exact size and detail of a released trophy, and offers the best value.

My ultimate pieces, though, and my favorite, are the full body pieces that I match the length and girth (approximate is fine – I often measure the fish in the photo based on the anglers known hand size or any other items such as net, rod, etc.).  I carve the details to match the anglers exact fish, something a taxidermist cannot do with a fish mold since you cannot get one from a live fish that was released, close – sometimes, but not exact.  All the scales are burned in one at a time.  On larger pieces, I will slice the head open and carve the interior mouth detail, then glue it back up so the seam is invisible.  My largest pieces (over 24″ to 60″) are hollowed out then glued back up as well, to reduce weight and to make the wood more stable.

I paint every scale one at a time – the overall fish has several applications of paint.  I spend a lot of time on the heads as this is the area most of us are drawn to.  I carve the fins as if they are moving in the water, not flat and stiff as a taxidermist poses them – my pet peeve is the adipose being posed in a weird lifted up position – ???

The display bases sometimes take as much work as the fish carving.  I try to replicate a part of the environment the fish was caught in.  Some clients want a space to put a brass placard with the information about the catch, so I will incorporate an area into the design of the base.
With the Fish Portraits, I match the wood panel to the clients decor.  For cabins, I use pine; elegant, I use dark or rich colored hardwoods; for rustic, I use a rough cedar panel painted then aged to look as if it’s been there for years.

Do you have any future projects you want to get done?

Future projects – yes!  My regret is that I will never have enough time to complete all the ideas in my head.  You’ve seen my ‘Out of the Myths’ series, a combination of my tribal heritage and my love of trout and salmon.  I plan to extend this series into other animals and fish of the NW Coast such as eagles, ravens, orcas, wolves and bears.

Birds are another area I want to work on – but not birds alone.  I have always been fascinated watching eagles and osprey as they fish near me.  I had an immature bald eagle SWIM up river after a fish while I was wading nearby.  The two pieces that I know I have to do soon are a lifesize bald eagle on a gravel bar, one foot on the gravel, one on the still live but barely thrashing king salmon, the eagle’s head is turned with a defiant glare daring any seagulls to risk their lives for a taste.

The other piece – well – this may be two – no there are three:

An osprey having just caught a trout in its talons, wings just taking off again

A bald eagle, same but coming in for the trout, just catching it, wings behind it and upstretched

Finally, a series of arctic terns (one of my favorite birds) – circling in a hover above the stream, with one just dipping down to touch the surface to catch an outbound salmon fry (this is how we find trout in the open season before spring – find the terns, you’ll find the trout!)
Below the surface, a trout rises in a semi curve to take the same fry – the piece is connected – river rocks on base, trout, water (black walnut sculpted), fry, tern with other terns connected by hidden brass rods through wings so they all appear floating overhead.

I almost forgot one more – my favorite bird, the belted kingfisher, wall scene:
Kingfisher on a branch overlooking a scene below:
spawning salmon (sockeye or chinook), being followed by a hungry trout
This is a scene I have witnessed on Alaska’s smaller streams often.  Once the salmon start making a redd (spawning bed), the trout rush up to grab stray eggs.

This only makes more ideas – like a bald eagle in the same scene.

I really want to carve a full size bald eagle just to see what sort of reaction my daughters cat has.

And of course, upland game – I grew up hunting grouse, pheasant and quail for food – they are some of the most beautiful birds.  My ultimate commission would be to carve every trout and salmon species, and all of North Americas upland game birds, waterfowl and shorebirds – then we could work on representing the abundant sea life of the Pacific ocean!

Here are some of Eric pieces:

alaskan rainbow trout wood fish carving euro mount wood panel 28 blkbrookout of the myths chinook rainbow trout 16 inch wood carving pedestal base(1)rainbow trout wood fish carving smoothy

Interview With David Bishop About Been A Fly Fishing Guide

Atlantic Salmon Guide David Bishop
 
How did you get into guiding on Atlantic salmon rivers?
 
“I was fortunate to have a father who loved fishing and even more fortunate that he married a Gaspesienne! My father was from CT and my Mom from the Gaspe Peninsual and after they met and got married in the US we started coming back to the Gaspe every single summer of my life. Dad introduced me to a fly rod when I was 5 and brought me salmon fishing for the first time when I was 10. I was hooked after the first take! I have always loved the outdoors and knew that I wanted to work in this industry. After finishing my BS in Biology from Plymouth State University in NH, I continued to stay in the outdoor field, guiding most of my summers. When I was 26 I decided that I had enough of New Hampshire and was planning on moving to Colorado. It was literally a last second decision not to go and to go north instead. That was in 1991 and I have been here ever since. I started with a guide company then moved onto owning my own lodge, then series of lodges. I sold them all 7-8 years ago and now continue to work in the Fly Fishing industry as a rep and owner of a fly distribution company called Gaspe Fly Co.”
David Bishop In Patagonia With Hooké
 
How did you learn to navigate the classic salmon river canoe?
 
“I was fortunate to have a few friends who were guides including; Marc Leblanc, Andre Lepage and Raymond Parent. They all had a little hand in helping get started but after that, it was a lot of trial and error. I have spent countless days on the river trying to perfect my skills. My success is usually based on how well made the canoe is but that is for another story.”
 
 
Can you tell me about how you got into guiding and how you got to where you are today?
 
“Like I said earlier. I really got into guiding as a result of my love to fish. Although I wanted to fish all of the time I could not always afford to do so. When I was 15 I had my first “guide contract” when Marc Leblanc had 2 extra guests. My first day of guiding was in the West branch of the Petite Cascapedia River for brook trout. I did a bit of “guiding” for friends until I was around 18 and had a car and then I really started to do it for a part time job. I would leave NH just for a weekend sometimes to guide for a couple of days. I had been working in a fly shop in CT for a while and through conversations and networking I started to build a small clientele. Once I decided to come to QC at 26 and make my life here, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I saw the need for a solid business based guide company. At the time most people just worked under the table when they had time off which made it difficult for many visiting anglers to get guides on a regular baisis. My idea was to get a few guys together and convince them that we should do this for a living. Easier said than done at the time as the CHOMAGE mentality was very tough to work against. Finally, after some convincing we embarked on a project and named our company C.A.S.T. Cascapedia Anglers Specialty Team. Although that worked out for a while, I quickly realized that I wanted to provide more services and that is when I decided to start a lodge. As luck would have it, I stepped into the perfect situation with a retired couple who were looking to sell their property in Cascaepdia. After operating that for a while I had the opportunity to buy The Salmon Lodge and lease out The Triple Crowm Lodge in Grande Riviere. For a while I was operating and guiding for 3 lodges which was to say the very least a big challenge! I ended up sticking with 2 lodges for a time and then downsized to one lodge (Salmon Lodge) before I ended up selling it a few years later. I do not regret a single thing! Even selling the lodges was great, as it allowed me to pursue other interests like guiding around the world and continuing to work as a rep and instructor in the industry. That is what I still do today and love my job and life!”
 
 I got here the old fashioned way. HARD WORK and PERSISTENCE! As you can imagine, it was not easy for an “American” as I was known as for quite a while to come here  and start something new. Although many could have done it before me, no one seemed to think it could work. I had my troubles from time to time but in the end through hard work, knowing my stuff, I gained the respect of many locals and things turned around for me very quickly. In the years since my first guide company there have been a few other guides, some who worked for me and others I encouraged to branch out on their own and today they are doing very well and making a nice living as guides. Like I said, I do not regret any of the moves I made, how good or bad they were in the past because today I feel as if I really accomplished something while doing what I loved to do. What else could a guy ask for in life?”
 
David Bishop On A Spey Rod
 
Huge thanks to David bishop for his generosity!
 
Visit his website at http://www.atlanticsalmonguides.com/id12.html for Atlantic salmon guiding or
 
The Hooké Tribe also generously shared photos of David Bishop to complete my interview, so thanks  guys, you’re awesome!
 
Their website countains some sweet swag and the best fly fishing video in my opinion!
Check them out at https://hooke.ca/en/

Interview with Jonathan Marquardt of BadAxe Design

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Janathan Marquardt is a fly fishing artist from Madison in Southern Wisconsin. He specializes in painting salt water and fresh water game fish and uses linocut block printing – a Japanese method mixed with intaglio.
 
TAMH: You seem to use the block printmaking technique in most of your work, what is block print making, and why did you gravitate towards this method?  
 
I have been drawing and painting as long as I can remember.  My linocut prints are produced from linoleum covered blocks.  I draw the design onto the block by hand and then carve it into the linoleum with blades called “gouges.”  Printmaking is an old art form and I love how it creates lines and extra features on the paper as the ink covered block is pressed by hand.  Reduction printmaking is how I make my multi-colored images.  This requires a lot more time.  You can see a short time lapse video of this on the process page of my website.  Each piece is hand carved and hand printed making them unique and original.
 
TAMH: How did you get into painting game fish? 
 
I have been fishing my whole life and have been a fly fisherman since I was 16 when my dad took me to Colorado.  Combining my two greatest passions, art and fishing, was my wife’s idea.  I was getting frustrated with my work a few years back and struggling to find a focus that I could stick with.  She suggested that I start an Etsy page dedicated to fly fishing art. 
 
TAMH: How did you come up with the name BadAxe Design?  
 
The Bad Axe River in western Wisconsin is a great fly fishing river and has a lot of history associated with it.  I have always been drawn to the name and wanted to incorporate fishing, Wisconsin and a bit of a play on words into the name of my design shop. 
 
TAMH: What was the thought process about choosing fish as your main subject of art?  
 
Focus mainly.  When you set out to begin a new body of work, you are looking to put it into a “focus.”  Speaking for myself, without a defined path, I start to get distracted and make different pieces of art and they don’t go together.  This was happening to me a few years ago and I was getting really frustrated with my work.  Fish have become an un-ending focus and given me hours of happiness on the water and in my studio.
 
 
TAMH: What is the most challenging in the world of game fish art work? 
 
Trying to set your work apart is perhaps the most challenging. I have had a great reception for my 50 state series that I am working on.  I am about 14 states in I think and have a long way to go.  I would also say that studying fish is not easy to do.  You have to draw from all your time on the water and remember to take good close up pictures for referencing later.
 
TAMH: What is your favourite –  “salt water” or “fresh water”? 
 
Hard to say.  I love our fishery in Wisconsin.  The land, the streams, the people, the supper clubs are hard to beat.  I did catch my second Tarpon on the fly this spring which was awesome.  We get down to fish in the Florida Keys once a year.  I have to say I love them both equally.
 
TAMH: Where is your favourite place to fly fish? 
 
My wife and I took a trip out to Bozeman where I lived for 5 years and went to college.  We both love it out there and I have so many great memories on those waters.  It’s definitely my favorite.
 
TAMH: What is you ultimate favourite fish to catch  and/or paint?  
 
Simple.  PERMIT.  I have painted and printed plenty, but yet to catch one.  My wife had the bow of the boat this year when a fat, happy and feeding Permit stopped right in front of our skiff.  She cast to him and I thought she had him.  But, as usual, we were refused.
 
TAMH: Could you give us a hint of what your next project is going to look like?  
 
I am starting to work more on limited single edition prints that are hand colored with oil pastels.  So far I have made both a Tarpon and a Permit piece.  Next up is a Redfish.  I will be collaborating with a couple other emerging artists this year as well as doing some shirt collaborations. 
 
You can visit his website at https://jonathan-marquardt.squarespace.com/
 
Or look at what Jonathan has for sale on his Etsy space at http://www.etsy.com/people/Madison4321?ref=ls_profile
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Interview With The Man Behind The Hooké Project: Fred Campbell

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This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Fred Campbell, the guy behind the Hooké project! They recently released a new video teaser for their video “Hooké in Patagonia”, which you can watch here. Big thanks to Fred for taking the time to answer my questions while he was busy working on the new video.

I discovered you guys a couple of weeks ago via Instagram, but how long have you been in action?

After a memorable weekend of fly fishing in the spring of 2012, a group of friends that shared a passion for fly fishing decided to publish the highlights of their adventure. From that, the Hooké Project was created to share that same passion for fly fishing and the vibes of it with awesome videos and good music.

We had to find a name that would be easy to understand by anglophones and francophones. So, I thought about Hooké, a french conjugation of the english word hooked.

Our goal is to make people interested in fly fishing and everything in our path: the spots, the fish and the people we met are a part of the success of our adventure.

A question that some people seem to want to know: Are you just a bunch of guys having fun or is it your official job?

Hooké is a project created by the company named Fokus Production to promote fly fishing and it’s good vibe.

I used to be a big fan of snowboarding videos and your work remind me of that. What inspired you to make fly fishing video the way you do it?

I was involved in extreme sports for quite a while. I produced snowboarding and skateboarding videos many years ago. I acquired a lot of filming experience from that and I also developed a passion for fly fishing. I believed there were not enough videos like this on the web and I wanted to share my vision of this sport, targeting a different audience with good music and good vibes.

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I saw, in some videos that you made, some filming in spots very close to where I grew up! Lac Sergeant, rivière Aux Pommes – where are you based?

Hooké is based in Québec city at the Fokus Productions office.

What are your future projects?

We have a tons of projects in mind, but our focus is to continue to share our adventures on the web and inspire more people to catch and release and to fly fish. Who knows, maybe Hooké will be on TV one day!

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Watch the Hooké Patagonia teaser and if you haven’t seen any of their work find a comfortable spot and watch all of them!Because their just awesome!

If you’re interested in Fokus Productions you can find more information here.