Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Art of Steelheading Part 1... chrome on the fly

"It’s not so much that the river beats you; it’s more that the river doesn’t even know you’re there." –John Gierach

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fishing Log Entry 104: Florida Peacocks

Location: Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Days: 10/20-10/22
Conditions: Clear skies & windy. Small-passing low pressure system first day of the trip. Tropical storm over Jamaica.

Conditions for the week were tough. Heavy winds from an approaching hurricane Sandy made beach fishing out of the question. A week before flying down, I caught an episode of Joe Cermele's HookShots ( If you're not familiar with his webisodes, check them out. Joe and his buddies fish various waters across the nation with and slam fish using various techniques. His most recent is a colorful look at Miami's peacock bass fishery.

Taking this as inspiration, I decided to target peacocks on the fly. I've wanted to hunt them since I was a kid. First thing I had to do was stop into Orvis in Manhattan to see Rob Ceccarini and work out a fly selection. He knows his stuff, and his selections seem to always out-fish most other things in my box.

It didn't take much time to get rolling once on the water. I spent my time hunting the residential canals and everglade swamps for peacocks and largemouth, while showing a good friend and fishing newbie Erik the ropes.We caught plenty of fish, but the quality picked-up after we dialed-in a pattern of fishing the canal outflows.

Overall it was a mission-success. Erik, who never even picked up a rod before the trip, had numerous bass and peacocks under his belt by the end of the week on both bait and plugs. He was hooked. I knocked another fish off the species list and learned a lot of new water.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Tail-Slap

Drinking & Drawing, Liars Saloon Montauk, N.Y.
The striped bass tail-slap theory has always been an interesting debate. The scenario: You're casting a pencil popper into a school of nervous bunker. The water suddenly explodes, and you get a glimpse of a huge tail smashing your popper upwards of 5' to 6' through the air. It lands a few yards away, and moments later, is sucked under by a 50 lb striped bass (we all hope so anyway). Now, did that bass purposely tail-slap the lure to stun, then eat it? Or, was it just a result of her missing her target?

I'm not a scientist or a marine biologist, and I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn last night. But I do draw 'em like I see 'em. On a recent visit to Bass Pro Shops I noticed a very interesting clue into this discussion when I saw a live-fish feeding in their huge 35,000 gallon aquarium. The tank had every fresh water game fish imaginable, included a few Cape Cod Canal-transported striped bass.

Feeding at Bass Pro Shops

The crowd got an up close and personal look at these fish massacring dozens of large shiners. Immediately drawn to the stripers, I noticed that after a shiner was taken on the surface, the force and momentum of the fish turning after the strike ended each time with some variation of an accidental tail slap.

I sketched it in my fishing log while drinking a few cold ones at Liars Saloon, between the good tides over the weekend:

1. The striper hones in on a fish, turning upward aiming at the head of the target.

2. Turning body vertical, the fish strikes from below

3. Right after the strike, striper carries momentum through turing 180 degrees, and powers with a few powerful sweeps from the tail back down below.

When the bass made that last move (3), each went below with a tail-slap on the surface, which makes me think if a striper hits your plug and misses, the follow-through may send your lure flying, or result in a tail-hooked fish. The fish knows it didn't eat, so it makes another pass right after, or possibly a competing fish takes the plug instead.

I'm not sure what side of the debate I stand, although this proves to me the slap is unintentional at least some of the time. It would be interesting to hear from a biologist that is in the know. Maybe that's the next illustrated project added to the to-do list.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Surf & Turf

Field & Stream
Catch a trout – the type of rise will tell you exactly what fly to use:

The Wall Street Journal
Eat a steak. A few new cuts coming to a restaurant and grocery store near you:

Sunday, April 22, 2012

New Work

The Wall Street Journal
Iran's arsenal of 'asymmetric' weapons
(graphite & watercolor)

Dark Pool Trading:
Shady traders doing shady things
(Adobe Illustrator)

Outdoor Life
History of the tree stand
(ink & watercolor)

Field & Stream
One of three illos on Spring bass tactics
(Adobe Illustrator)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New Work

Kicking off 2012 with some new work below, each in a different style/technique. I've never been a big follower of illustrators having just one style, and have been lucky enough to experiment new techniques often.  Enjoy.

The Wall Street Journal:
New military technology for fighting a new kind of war
(ink, watercolor, & Adobe Illustrator)

The science of holiday shopping lines
(Adobe Illustrator)

Scientific American Magazine (Feb Issue):
Anatomy of Bed Bugs
(graphite and watercolor)

Field & Stream (Feb Issue):
Hunting turkey from an elevated platform 
(Adobe Illustrator)