Arts and Literature Forum


I've suggested an Arts and Literature Forum. The idea is well received but we need a thread with art and literature to seed the new forum. I you'd like to contribute posts of art, poems, sculptures and fiction stories, please do so here. I'll spread the word with the outdoor artists I know.

If the Forum is created, I will start posting a monthly cartoon (reruns).

Gene Trump


And a humor story (hopefully), just so you can see what I'm talking about. I'm sure there are a lot of outdoor artists and writers out there and it would be great to see their creations.

Gene Trump
Imagine a pleasant summer evening drive along a serpentine country road through freshly-plowed farmlands. The waning light punctuates the deep serried furrows in the rich, dark soil. The tractor and plow cool down and rest at the edge of the days work. Then, a distraction; something is out of place, something just doesn't fit the photo-worthy scene. There's three very obvious fellows in one of the fields and each seems to be laboring to carry some manner of odd-looking inner tube. It also appears they are wearing swim fins! This has to be a joke, or at least the result of a college fraternity initiation or prank.

With each step of the swim fins, little poofs of dust blow up from the plowed field: flap, poof, flap, poof ...
Imagine experiencing hysterical laughter as you try to maintain reasonable control of your vehicle. Imagine the best laugh you've had in years as you drive past the silly trio as they flap-poof their way across the farmer's field -- all struggling to not only carry a dripping float tube, but also a fly rod and reel, chest waders and the last remnants of their dignity.
I should know.

How we came to be in that freshly-plowed field -- a direct result of the use of poor judgement in deciding to take the overland shortcut across the field instead of finning the long way back up the slough to the truck -- is not nearly as important as the fact that we managed to keep our esteem and never once let on that we felt as stupid as we most assuredly looked.
Therein lies an important key to flyfishing: No matter how silly or desperate the situation, the successful fly fisher never lets his/her cool get away. It is paramount to the good of the sport to always maintain an air of complete control.

How many times have you found yourself snarled in a grabby- tree that is determined beyond all bounds to devour your fly, tippet, leader and a goodly portion of the line itself? You've given it a wide berth but for some woody-reason it feels compelled to reach out and snare every third back cast you make. Do you shout obscenities at the top of your voice? Do you stomp back to your rig and return with a chainsaw? Of course not. That would not be the fly-angler way. Instead you very calmly start the tedious job of un-snagging your line from the snickering tree while giving the impression that you actually planned the event. I'm still in awe of the masters of this process that can retrieve their line from twenty feet up a pine tree and make it look like it was just a result of a perfectly executed back-cast. Never have I seen an experienced fly fisher break down and violently snap-off a snagged leader. Not recently, anyway.

I have, however, noticed that close-cropped stumps now stand where the most notorious of the back-cast-snaggers once stood.

Perhaps it's the very garb we fly fishers wear that helps us maintain the dignity of the sport. Afterall, most of the attire is pretty foolish to behold. We walk around wearing rubber overalls and logger boots as if we just came from a cocktail party at the Whitehouse. We wear thousand-pocket vests that look so impregnated they may give birth at any second to a multitude of reels, leader spools and fly boxes at the slightest provocation from a weak zipper. We also wear the most unattractive hats we can find. The best fishing hats have a used-look. Actually they look like something that was retrieved from a land-fill but that's okay. Little else would go with the rubber-suit-logger-boot-pregnant-vest ensemble. To give distinction to such a strange attire is a feat of cool-control in itself. Maybe by wearing such a costume puts us in the frame of mind to keep apparent control in any happenstance.

Like falling in the river.

I've fallen in many different rivers at many different times and at first, I became very flustered and floundered around in a tremulous attempt to survive and swim back to shore. But I came to realize that a panic-stricken reaction to such a natural angling situation does not suit a true fly fisher. I have since corrected my errant ways. Now, when the gravel washes out from under my logger boots, I relax and very deliberately float down the river until I find a suitable landing; make my way to the spot, wade out of the water and begin casting immediately -- all as if I floated downstream to gain access to a new riffle or run. Sometimes I even make a few false casts as I float downstream -- just for the complete control effect. Fellow fly fishers that witness the act also react as if nothing out of the ordinary is taking place; thereby also maintaining the dignity of the sport.

Once a young fellow -- obviously new to fly fishing -- tried to save me as I floated by and caused quite a fuss in fly angling protocol. I had to whack him with my rod to prevent the impending rescue. Nothing can destroy the air of control worse than someone trying to help you out of the situation. That is why it is imperative to never ask for assistance or help.

"Excuse me sir, but you seem to be pinned under that fallen tree. Do you require assistance?"

"What? Pinned? I should say not. I'm just maintaining a low profile. These brown trout are particularly spooky today. You'd do better to keep low to the ground yourself. Good luck to you sir and mind your back cast."

Probably the most challenging of situations in which to show complete control is that of an unintentional hooking. If your fly, by some nasty fluke of fate finds itself imbedded in the earlobe of your fishing partner, an overly concerned reaction can make it difficult for you to rise above the tricky situation. But assuming your partner is not screaming in an annoying manner or making vulgar inferences to your existence, you should be able to confidently remove the mis-cast fly while making it very clear that the error was not yours. Herein lies the art:

"For crying out loud, Harry! I've warned you many times about keeping your ear too close to my fly. I'd greatly appreciate it if you'd be more careful in the future!"

However, if you managed to hook the fly in your own earlobe you could potentially be in big trouble. I feel your best bet is to clip off the fly, leave it imbedded in your ear and tie on a new pattern and continue casting as if you normally use an ear for a drying patch.

There is no doubt that you have achieved the status of aficionado of fly fishing dignity if you can turn a dismal day of fly angling into a fantastic adventure that has no comparison. If you manage to catch only one fish, it has to be due to the most difficult cast you've ever made in your life. And if, by some misfortune, you catch no fish, it still may have been the best damned outing you've ever had:

"Did I catch any fish, you ask? Surely, sir, you must jest. This was not a day to actually catch fish. This was a day to enjoy this wondrous planet. This was a day to gaze upon the chromatic wild flowers. This was a day to inhale the fragrance of the aged pine and reflect on the many, many other days that fish were caught on every cast. No indeed, I did not catch a fish today, nor did I plan to."

There is no better air than the air of dignity.

If you're an experienced fly angler you're already aware of these unflappable teachings for the illusion of austerity. Many say that fly fishing is an elitist sport that is difficult in technique to master. But we fly fishers know the mechanics of the sport comes with time, patience and practice. The difficult task is making it all look elite.


I've always like that one, Skip. Hardly ever do you see a bluegill in an angling painting. But they are pretty fish and have a hell of an attitude.

Skip Enge

Active Member
Yeah they have an attitude...imagine a bluegill of 5 lbs! Sheesh! i usually dig out the 3 wt when the weather warms...Wish I had a 1 wt for them...But I do have a flylite reel...milled locally...or used to be...holds half a 3 wt DT fly line...



Skip to show the artwork in a larger format, right click on the photo and open properties. Highlight and copy the address (URL) where the photo is posted on the Internet. Move back to here. Click on the little tree icon on the tool bar above. It opens a window for pasting the address of the photo. When you click insert, it resizes the image to fit here.