Art in the World of New Age Fly Fishing


Yep.  I doodle.  Always have.  I’ve combined my passion for fishing and an interest in traditional tattoo art to come up with a set of prismacolor and ink drawings which I’m giving a peek of (final set will be four and include a brookie and cutty).  Before you assume I’m a hipster for jumping on the Sailor Jerry Band Ship, let me elaborate on a few things about me and my inspiration for these.

My grandfather (Pepé) was a WWII Navy man, and just one hell of a great man all around.  He was an artist who tinkered, painted, and built creations from wood.  He also had some cool old Navy ink which I had always admired.  He always encouraged my imagination, creativity and taught me patience through his own.

I value the criticism as well.  It helped me identify my own art.  Art classes left one lesson imprinted on my mind:  “When you see things in the world, do they have a black outline around them?” – Mr. Burns c.1995.  I’m still outlining inblack. Because that’s just what I like to do, and it’s hard to imagine any great old school Hannah Barbara cartoon (Johnny Quest, Space Ghost, Herculoids, etc.) without a black outline. Maybe one day I’ll have a job illustrating coloring books for kids.  Big, black, thick outlines.

Besides old tattoos and cartoons, of course, I think fishing is pretty cool.  But it hasn’t always been.  Seems like there is a much younger, cooler crowd (punks says the man with the pipe and Filson vest) involved in the sport.  What once was a stuffy sport for old men has now spread to crowds of guys and gals of all ages and backgrounds.  I think my art may be appreciated more now amongst those who love to fish than it would be say 10 or 15 years ago by the codgers at the Elks Lodge fly tying convention.

The Art of Gene Duckworth


I’ve been waiting to write this post since first starting work on this site roughly 3 months ago.

I’ve known Gene Duckworth for almost 5 years exactly to the date of this post.  He’s enlightened me in those years with his various random outdoor facts and tales, unusual hobbies, and humor which some may say is grotesque.  Those qualities alone make him an excellent friend and fishing pal.  But his most impressive talent is rarely revealed.  Gene has to be one of the most talented, and quasi-undiscovered outdoor artists I know.  I say quasi-undiscovered because Gene has made a name for himself in the past.  Gene was an award winning taxidermist based out of his home state of Pennsylvania. In unforeseen events, Gene was forced to give up his business and left his home state to relocate to Georgia for a new beginning.

After his move, Gene found himself sitting in my office for an interview, applying for a position at the engineering firm where we now work together.  I can’t recall the details of the interview, but by the end we found common ground in discussing fishing and our time spent growing up in the northeast.  Gene had later shared with me some photos of his taxidermy work as well as some pieces he had in his personal collection.  I was blown away by the detail in his taxidermy.

Besides his taxidermy, Gene is an incredible artist in many mediums.  This wasn’t revealed until I saw an ink sketch he had done over the course of a day on a piece of plywood in the back of his work truck.  I had asked him to give me that piece of plywood, and his reaction was; “why, that’s just a junk sketch”.  Even to this day, the pieces he calls “nothing” makes me ill.  I’ve got a few artistic bones in my body, but this guy oozes art.

Gene was a major contributor and motivator to start this site.  He is a former graphic artist by trade and transformed my concept for the Winged Reel logo into line art.  He has most recently been working on a large piece of fine art, which after some teasers I’m excited to see and share the finished product.  In the meantime I asked Gene to throw together some quick pieces for me to display.  Of course, Gene is a perfectionist who refuses to do something half-ass.  Against his will, he delivered me a piece he completed in a weekend.  A seven by three and a half inch prismacolor and water color Brook Trout that he humbly passed off as just a quick sketch.  There are big things to come from Gene and I’m looking forward to his contributions to the site as well as spending some time fishing and sharing bad jokes.