This past April I had a chance to book one day for a flats trip while in Florida. Usually every spring we visit family in the Orlando area and enjoy the warm air. Well, after doing some research and talking to Captain Willy Le, owner/operator at Native Fly Charters I booked a trip. Just so happens to be, that my friend Brandon was headed to Miami and we met up for the day. Unfortunately for us, the one day we were able to coordinate schedules, it was windy. Like, a constant 25mph wind!
So with super low expectations we met up for our day of fishing. We hopped in Willy's super clean Maverick and off we went. After getting a bit wet breaking thru some big chop we made it to a somewhat protected area from the wind. It was along this area that we were able to site fish all day to Reds, Sea Trout, Jack, Bonnethead Sharks, a few Snook, and the difficult to eat sheepshead! It really turned out to be an awesome day. Which all can be accounted to great guiding!
Brandon managed a very nice Jack, which was a straight up bruiser to get in on a fly rod! I took to sight fishing for Reds. I had fished on foot in the area in past years and had missed opportunities and lost Reds in the past but had yet to land one. I was put on more Reds than I can count and I screwed up most of my opportunities, but I did have some success. I will blame it on all my bling striper fishing I do at night! Having the ability to watch the fish take interest in your fly I thought would make things easy! Wow was I wrong, my excitement got the better of me and Willy did a great job of calming down my retrieve so I could better feed the fish
All in all, it was a great trip and if you want to Flats fish the east coast of Florida check out Willy at www.nativeflycharters.com Stay tuned I will be painting some Florida salt species in the future!
I thought it may be fun to show a little of my personal process in relation to painting. I work sometimes hours away from home. For some reason when driving to work I seem to come up with ideas. Some of my inspiratiions are random and don't really work out or translate to canvas well. However, I always sketch them out just to see if they are doable. I try to abandon the fear of creating a bad painting or having to throw a messed up canvas away. I do not want to be inhibited by fear. A great quote that I love is, Dont think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if its good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art. Andy Warhol
So this is where I began with my most recent painting "Bright Brown". I envisioned a layout of cubes. I wanted to create a picture that when looked at in its entirity was a "whole" picture of sorts, but when looked at closely had pieces missing. Something to really challenge the eyes and cross both the lines of reality and obscurity. My first step was to just clamp all of the canvases in a random shape that I felt I could sketch in the general shape and layout of the brown trout.
Once I got the layout the way I saw fit, I had to then drill and bolt all the canvases together. After all that, I could actually start to paint. I have a tendency to always start with my backgrounds first. I feel with my style, the background really sets the mood of my paintings. I wanted this background to be dark with a sense of warm light kissing the edge of the fish. For the body I started with a yellow ochre base, giving a bright color to build all those wonderful brown trout tones off from.
Here is my little early morning painting buddy Gracie, complete with crazy hair! This shot shows the beginnings of the head.
I have always loved fish eyes. However, until I started painting them did I truly realize how important they are to the soul of a fish. You can really see in this picture how the eye really makes the fish, well, a fish.
What I had envisioned was to create a luminescent look, centering around the middle spotted section of the brown. You know that magical spot where the colors range from blues, teals, silvers, and purples on brown trout.
After working in some reflections, and glazing, finally done! "Bright Brown"
This has been a very busy summer for me. Trying to juggle work, painting, shows, family, and fishing has been difficult. In the past, I have been the only one in my family that fishes, aside from taking my kids here and there. Well as some of you know, my wife expressed a little interest earlier this summer. As long as it was NO PRESSURE! So, that is exactly what it has been. We have stolen an hour to fish a few times this summer near our home, and had a blast. Well, finally I was able to clear out my schedule for an entire day and spend it with just Gretchen.
Here she is getting geared up complete with her mandatory "Girlie Waders". Which on a side note, I think it is great the industry is paying notice to women's gear.
We spent time laughing and going over cast timing, wrist positioning, how to recognize rod loading, etc. All in a relaxed fashion though! We were able to talk over water. How to read its currents, seams, eddies, etc. We talked about fish behavior and food sources. We witnessed bug life and discussed different bug species and their very unique life cycles.
To see her smile and take in a trouts beauty was awesome! The surprise of seeing her enjoy something I love so much was indescribable. The joy of sharing fly fishing is unlike any other hobby i have had before. I think it is why I enjoy painting fish as well. To have people, who don't even fish, stop and look at the beauty of a fish i have painted, is just great. We need more non fisherman learning to properly love our natural resources. Anyways, I am getting off on a tangent. So, we really just soaked up the day, fished the cool morning hours, relaxed and napped when it was hot on a piece of nearby property we own, ate great food, then fished some of the late evening hours. All together a great surprise, and a spectacular day!!!!!
I have to admit I have been feeling a little bad for myself this spring. I haven't been able to fish as much as past years, and it has been bothering me. When I have gotten out I have been feeling the pressure of needing to make the outing count, and do well, or land a big one. I know wah, wah, wah, right! Well with a mild day Saturday and the flows being down I decided to gear up the raft and take the family out for our first voyage this year. Wow, was it exactly what I needed. It reminded me of why I enjoy fishing so much. We had the greatest day!
Gotta love seeing the kids first fly rods, in neon, strapped to the truck!
Gracie at the front swinging a bugger while I clean up behind her.
Abner trying things out in the front!
Not a bad view making coffee, and getting things warmed up for kielbasa and onions.
The girls staying warm and cheering on the boys
Did a little catching, and working on fish handling skills. I love this little guy, his excitement is infectious!
It was amazing how the kids stayed clean all day.......until we got to the takeout. I remember how much fun mud looked like when I was young to. Abner had a different take on the whole mud thing. Somehow Gracie did not look quite so excited.
I find it hard in today's world to maintain a healthy balance in life, and I have been feeling this big time. However, this past Saturday was exactly what I needed to unwind, destress, and remember what is important. Ahhhh, just what the doctor order!
Wow, I hope everyone has been able to get out fishing. I know I have felt like I am working to much and not fishing enough. But this is probably every fly fisherman's feeling this time of year. I have been getting my raft ready for the flows to drop a little and the water to warm. I can't wait to take the kiddos out. I of course have also been painting. I will be displaying a majority of my work at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife from June 1st through the month of September. Here is a sampling of what I have been working on as of late.
Hi, my first name is Alex. I am 33 years old and live in western Maine. Fly fishing is a passion, or rather, more of an addiction of mine. It has lead me in many different directions and I am the better for it! In fact, I love every aspect of the sport and have come to know some great people because of it. I can remember, being young and having this picture in my head of a old man, standing in the water, casting and casting and casting. Not really fishing or catching anything, just flogging the water, doing things the hard way. The hard way, so that he could look down on everyone else for taking the easy way out. The image I had was of a stuck up, pretentious fisherman. Wow, was I ever wrong. I have more fond memories of sharing tales, stories, flies, lunch, etc. in Maines backwoods with people I had just randomly met out there, then I can remember. I believe fishermen have a different soul than the average man. Maybe I'm wrong, but that is a talk for another time. Anyway, I will be sharing my art and fishing adventures here, so please check in, and if you are ever in my area I love to fish with new people so send me a message.