Gallery - DF&F52
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This is all Jason Borger's fault. I took Jason's advice to follow along with last year's challenge of drawing a different fish/fly combination each week. And now I have lots of pads of paper, and various sets of pencils, pastels and whatnot lying around the house. And I have multicoloured fingertips...
The more recent work is at the top of the page and the early stuff is at the bottom.
My mate and top caster/guide Lee Watts asked me to do a picture for him, and here it is. It's a biggun - 34" across!
Work, combining with snow and ice is keeping me away from the pike at the moment. Frustrating. So as a displacement activity I drew a pike I caught in February.
I've always loved grayling, ever since my dad showed us how to trot for them on the River Wharfe in Yorkshire. That would be some time in the late '70's. Since then I've caught them all over the place. I still like long-trotting with centrepin reels, but more often I go for them with nymphs, bugs, and the occasional dry fly.
The original of this drawing is now framed and hanging on dad's wall. A small thanks for showing me how to catch them.
I swapped this drawing for a bunch of brilliant fish-catching flies from Ronan.
Here's Ronan's story about the fish:
"At the time I had been fishing the Great Lake in Tassie most evenings into darkness with little success. There were flies on the water most nights with some fish up taking them but it was rarely hectic with slashing trout. They were difficult.
Many fish were moving just outside my casting range while others chose to move at my feet, always just after I made a long cast. Murphy's law!
On my last evening fishing the shore at night the planets aligned and I caught this beautifully marked brown on my version of a Ratface Mcdougle fresh off the vise. Ten minutes later everything went quiet and I went back to Don's place and had a few beers. A couple of days later I was back in NZ."
Can't wait to try the flies, maybe I should've asked Ronan to tie a Ratface McDougall!
DF&F_17 Northern Pike
OK, didn't have a lot of time this w/e, in fact I wasn't really going to do this week's DF&F. But I've never been able to resist a pike! So here's a quick doodle done in less than the 30mins. The top pike is just being returned and is one I caught last Monday. The bottom one is from a photo I found ages ago and which may yet get turned into a more worked up drawing.
You can never have too much bait.
Fun to use. Fun to draw!
Woodcock and Goose Biot
I just love using woodcock feathers for wet flies. You get lots of feathers of just the right size and you have the option of the well marked feathers on the outer wing, or the paler versions under the wing.
This one isn't my pattern. My friend Will Hardt has been tying lots of (and catching lots on) this goose biot-bodied version just lately. That's why you can see the mono is tied to the hook with a blood knot. My wet flies always get tied on with a uni knot!
A Hazy Flats Cast
Casting where the water meets the sky.
DF&F_12 Flashback Hare's Ear
Here you go. Just within the 30 minutes. How many colours are there in hare's fur? I'm not sure, more than I've got pastels for that's for sure.
I like hare's ear/mask fur for emergers, although I tend to prefer PT for nymphs. Not sure why. Also, of late I've developed a preference for fox squirrel fur for dubbing.
[Edit] Here's what happened to it inthe following ten minutes. I quite like it - it looks a bit like an ancient Roman fresco. Which do you prefer?
Off to the side
Still snowing outside. I used to be obsessed with catching carp. In those days it was all boilies and other bait.
I've never caught one on the fly though - and the likelihood of that happening in Scotland is lower than that of me catching a trevally in the Tweed. This is a Leather variety of the common carp (Cyprinus Carpio), about to ignore a nicely imagined damsel nymph.
Take it... go on take it!
I was meant to be out trout fishing today, but horizontal snow got in the way. My fishing partner couldn't even get up the hill to our place so I took the hint, lit the woodburner, and put the kettle on. Three mugs of tea and a couple of chocolate digestive biscuits later I had this. Quite chuffed.
The racoon zonker was copied from the real thing lying on my kitchen table. The pike has been in my head for years.
I think there's a nice idea in here somewhere trying to get out. I wanted to get the starburst effect from the indentations the fly makes in the water surface.
I very rarely use traditional style dries nowadays, preferring emergers, Klinkhammer-style, and parachute formats. So this is a parachute Adams. I think I'm right in thinking that the Adams was originally designed as a caddis imitation, which is odd as it's almost always used as a general up-wing imitation nowadays.
Missed a couple of weeks I'm afraid - so here's a two-for-one.
I've only ever caught small Oxeye Tarpon in Australia. These look just like a baby tarpon and leap just like their bigger cousins. In my mind's eye this image is what my first proper tarpon will do, hooked on the flats in Florida, Mexico, or maybe Cuba...
I like the idea of the fish as a shining comma on the horizon. Seemingly miles away but still connected. The above picture was done in 30 mins. The one below is a 30 second redux. I like it!
DF&F52_07 Lake Trout
Sad to say, I have never clapped eyes on a lake trout in my life. They do look mean (in a good way). I think it'd be cool to try and get one, but I worry I'd be distracted by pike which seem to regularly live in the same places.
I'm chuffed with the coloured paper by the way. Interesting to see the texture you get from the rougher paper. Alas I got too absorbed in the fish drawing to make any time for the bunny leech. Think I'll have to go more sketchy to get both in within the 30 mins. [late edit - should've said even more sketchy!]
After the trauma of the deceiver (below) I decided (a) to get some coloured paper and (b) start simple with a Clouser Minnow. I really like the fish's eye view - might do some more like this.
I dunno. I thought I'd have a go at the deceiver I missed out from the striped bass drawing. Really hard. I quite like bits of the feathers that I've done, but mostly it looks over-worked and too static. I think choosing white feathers on a white background may have been asking too much as well. Also I totally misdrew the bottom tail feather and it looks like it's dropped off the fly. I'm off to practise some more.
DF&F52_06 Striped Bass
I love stripers. I spent a week on Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard for several years in succession in the late '90s. Stripers are fantastic fly rod fish. You can catch them in so many different ways. I must find a way of getting back there again.
No way was I going to have enough time for the deceiver this week (ran out of time for the nostrils again!).
DF&F52_05 Crazy Charlie and Bonefish
Flippin' heck Jason and Jeff, this was a hard one. I spent the last two days practising bonefish noses! It's so hard learning to see colours properly. I'm OK at seeing shapes, but colours are hard, especially when the subjects are highly reflective like this week's subject.
As you can see I didn't have time to do any eyes (or nostrils!) on the fish, and I quite like the result as it makes you focus onthe fly and the lips.
I've drawn what I believe is the original Crazy Charlie which has hackle feathers for a wing. Like Clousers, Deceivers, and Woolly Buggers, there are endless variations.
Not part of the DF&F52 thing, but I had fun doing this. I was interested in trying to get that strange monotone you get when looking at fish through the water. I think I should have had the confidence to put a ripple right across its back.
I love that feeling of indifferent aggression you get from watching even a small pike lurking in a quiet corner.
DF&F52_04 Brook Trout and X Caddis
As you can see I'm struggling a wee bit with my technique but I learn something every time I pick up the pastels, which is a great result for me. Maybe not for you though eh?
It must have been written before, but when you start looking at the patterns and colours of a brook trout it really does feel like you're looking into a weird night sky, just after sunset.
DF&F52_03 Cutthroat Trout
Blimey. Jeff and Jason picked a tough one for me. Couldn't really do a cutthroat without colour, so I had to be brave and dig out the never-used box of pastels.
I fished in Montana years ago and managed to catch some small cutts in small streams, mostly on stimulators. I've never seen so many grasshoppers in my life. I remember walking through the field and down to the stream with a bow-wave of 'hoppers leading the way, probably helping to chum up a few cutts at the same time.
My 30 mins were up before I could get to the Chernobyl Ant which was a shame, and the drawing isn't spectacular. But I did enjoy using the pastels, so maybe I'll use more colour in the future.
Late edit: I went back and tried for one with a chernobyl in there as well. I also tried a more interesting angle. This one took me an hour to get this far (although you wouldn't know it) so it doesn't really count. Sorry about the dirty paper!
DF&F52_02 Black Stonefly Nymph and Brown Trout.
I went for a good old Montana Nymph. This was a massively popular UK stillwater nymph in the '80s but you don't see it so much nowadays. I used to tie it with cock hackle fibre tails as illustrated. Nowadays marabou seems popular.
The scan isn't brilliant I'm afraid; looks a bit blurred to me...