Colour pencil portrait of a Jack Brown Trout

Fly Fishing Meets Art

One of my main motivations for developing the Wilderness Trout website is to share my ‘trout inspired’ artwork – bringing together my passion for both fly fishing and art.

I’ve been fortunate to have had a career that includes design, brand development, education and communications management. All of which has allowed me to develop a creative outlook and an eye for detail… a brief bio can be found here>

When my children were younger my focus was on ‘family time’ and of course work. I would grab opportunities to chase trout whenever I could but this left only limited time for painting and drawing. Now my children are more independent, it’s time to develop my art further. I plan to focus on capturing those amazing moments when the angler and trout’s worlds collide.

It is often said that the ‘take’ is the most exciting part of fly fishing. While that may be true, there is a whole lot more to the sport than that. Fly fishing can be an adventure that takes the fly fisherman to wonderful places, following rivers and streams through a patchwork of incredible country, forever curious to find what’s around the next bend… just one more pool!

The art of combining hook, fur, feather and synthetic materials to create the trout fly is another huge element to fly fishing, that for many becomes just as important as the fishing itself. Some subscribe to the idea that the trout fly simply needs to suggest something edible, while others will take a far more detailed approach exploring the world of entomology in an effort to create artificial’s that closely resemble aquatic and terrestrial insects.

Fly fishing requires a specific set of tools. The rod, the reel and the fly-line are like nothing found in any other form of fishing. For most serious fly fishermen these beautifully balanced pieces of equipment are chosen with the greatest of care. From hand-crafted to high-tech, the choices can be very personal. In addition different set ups are required for different situations… so begins the collection!

These varied aspects of fly fishing all provide inspiration for me to put pen to paper, or indeed brush to canvas. However there is an even more compelling motivation.

Once the trout has been landed, I find particular satisfaction from taking a moment to admire the raw beauty of the fish – incredible survival machines that battle the harsh elements. When you pause to take a closer look you will see they exhibit an extraordinary range colours – from an athletic bar of gleaming silver and purple, through to a dark gold and yellow muscular bruiser. All amazing fish and a worthy challenge to capture both on fly and on canvas.

James Barnett

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