Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Lure Of The Float

Well this collaboration with Andrew Field “master float maker” has been ongoing for the past few seasons. There are many reasons why it's been postponed, all on my behalf of course, but sometimes you cannot rush a good thing! For this project I set myself a total target of 8 pieces, with 6 completed and ready for sale, the final two will follow very shortly. Each piece is a totally unique design and covers 8 different UK coarse fish. The aim was to capture all the finer characteristics of each particular species and express a clear angling theme that runs through each piece. The framing has been important too; I wanted to display each piece to its full potential and appeal to avid collectors seeking a bespoke piece of artwork. The floats are all Andrews stunning work, hand crafted with his signature detail and finished to perfection. Some of the floats are inlaid with bird feathers and luxurious threads, each signed by the man himself!

My passion for all the fish that swim UK waters stems from childhood, and for each species I can only heap praise, not just in their obvious beauty, but also by knowing the characteristics of each fish that are only learnt through experience. Getting to know their inherent behaviour, which includes habitat preferences, can only make you a more accomplished angler. Spending a lifetime by the waters edge, I have managed to tuck a few tricks up my sleeve to help dodge a blankety blank cheque-book and pen!

My art has fuelled my passion for angling even further, and has provided me with an additional excuse to talk fish on a cold winters day, when gracing the bank is not possible. So if you don't find me on the riverbank, you'll find me in my study where I am surrounded by all manner of objects from the natural world. In fact, these days is has become more like a small natural history museum.

One of the joys of my artwork is taking a pencil and breathing life into a blank piece of paper. It fascinates me that you can bring life to a pencil line through close observation of the fine details of scale patterns, fin shape and anatomy; even the iris shape of individual species exhibits distinct differences. Learning to observe these subtle nuances gives me more of an insight into the aquatic world, and helps me appreciate the inherent beauty, colours and shapes. Knowing your subject from touch and experience is the key, and this knowledge cannot be replicated from only reading books - you have to feel that passion to portray it through your work, and hopefully this is what I have achieved with each piece here.

If I had to choose a favourite fish with only one last cast at my disposal, I could not, I genuinely love each of them for many reasons and they are all intertwined within dreams and memories, past and present, which in my opinion no other sport can replicate. The mighty perch features in two of the works and this is a perfect opportunity to mention a fishing trip early in the year with Sam Edmonds and father Gary (who I called Paul all day until corrected, whilst we sat removing wellies at the car boot at the end of a great days fishing, what a prat I felt!). Pardon the pun, but this is not a cheap plug, on the contrary, it is more out of admiration for two of the most genuine people I have met for a long time, and damn fine anglers to boot. This deadly duo have caught more big Perch than any other I know, showing incredible skill season after season, which is why they are part of the national predator fishing team.

It was a mild damp February morning when I met up at a secret fishing location and was greeted by the Edmonds team. The weather had not been ideal, with plenty of floodwater gushing through the river, which was always going to make lure fishing for perch less than perfect. Fortunately, these guys had plenty of experience at hand and we set off armed with all manner of lures and jigs to hopefully entice a take. We covered huge areas of the river, spots the guys know well and hold fish over the 4lb mark, but takes were hard to come by. Each of us used slightly different tactics and even with the chaps putting me in proven areas, we could not tempt a pluck on the line. After lunch, we moved location to where two rivers merged and coincided with a line of moored boats, which down-stream created slack water that would hopefully hold fish. Sam was the first to strike with a fish hitting his rubber jig no less than 4 yards from his feet on the retrieve, but with a cursed word and the line falling slack, the hook had not set-home. We continued to work the area in a grid fashion until Sam once again connected with a fish close to the near bank. It was all over so soon with the fish in the net and three excited faces peered down like children on Christmas day. It was a good fish and we all new it... hoisted onto the mat we unhooked the prized perch, an old fish with dark coloured flanks that looked slightly tubby, but it bounced the needle to 3lb 15oz! Wahey it was the first fish of the day and an absolute beauty.

 After pictures of the prize were taken, it was time to move again to a section of river further upstream, which Gary was hoping would not have been as affected by the flood water. The river here was twisting and turning back on itself, snaking serpent-like across the flat landscape and offered some deep slow pools on each bend. The guys had taken many good fish from this stretch and Gary explained to me exactly where I needed to cast “over there Adam to the far bank under those large overhanging weeping willows”, and by the second cast I felt life for the first time that day. The line sent a signal straight through the carbon in my hand like an electric shock and instinct kicked in with a knee jerk reaction as I struck and set the hook home. Once again, a bold stripy was twisting and turning mid-river and I prayed the fish would not shed the hook. Yes, she's mine I said as a much paler fish slid into the fold of the net, saving a fishless day for myself and making it so worthwhile. On the scales she went 2lb 8oz so I was very pleased indeed... a quick picture and back she went while all 3 of us tried to make the most of the fading light by covering every nook and cranny by spreading out over a 50 yard stretch. Just as the sun dipped, signalling only 30 minutes of fading light, I had a savage take on the drop as my crayfish-type rubber lure was smashed as it fluttered past a dying reed bed along the far bank. This time the fight was much more spirited with a jack pike of around 6-8lb gracing the bank. What a fantastic day, happy memories and great company, and even though Gary did not manage a fish, in all honesty his fishing ability outclassed myself 10 fold and he even showed young Sam the Old Lion still had the touch. His casting was pinpoint accurate every time; and I mean inch-perfect presentation under every overhanging tree or bush, near and far. However, on the day it just was not meant to be, but Gary even allowed myself first cast in chosen areas over himself, which highlights the gentleman he is…. so thanks guys, it was a memorable day indeed.

Fuelled with new inspiration for Mr. Stripy, I started to put the perch piece together with a clear vision in my mind of this sneaky predator lurking in the murky water waiting to strike!

                                                                    "Perch Bobbing"

Perch piece matched with a pair of Porcupine quill & Cork Bobs. (SOLD)

I will let the pictures speak for themselves, everything from the humble finger long Minnow, to the greatest Roach of them all "The Avon Roach" and a bold extravagant perch constructed from spike and armoured scale, to what may be the catalyst for many anglers, the Gudgeon... they all sit alongside a float made fit for fishing purpose. I hope you enjoy them chaps; a lot of love and attention has gone into this unique collection that will not be repeated again.

                                                                        "Winter Magic"

A large extravagant piece depicting my 3 favourite winter species alongside 3 of the finest floats I have had the pleasure to hold!! (SOLD)

                                                                  "The Redmire King"

                      Gudgeon study piece accompanying a pair of stunning quill floats.(SOLD)

                                                                 "The Avon Roach"

 Main image is a pastel & graphite drawing alongside other images of the Roach and a beautiful Avon float made from quill & cork, inlaid with pheasant feathers.
Price  £449 Professional mounted in a brushed steel frame.

"Green & Gold"
A Tench piece nearly a meter in length with an elegant lift float mounted at the top of the frame. SOLD
Boyhood Dreams
Another mixed species piece covering Gudgeon, Tench, Perch & Minnow. This was inspired from days fishing as a young boy, chasing dreams & monsters. A small quill float accompanies the piece.
A further Crucian carp piece to follow soon.

If you are interested in purchasing any of the works that are still available or require more close-up images to show the detail & sizes, please feel free to contact and I will be happy to help.

I hope you enjoy them. tight lines this winter.