The Art of Fishing

The art of fishing hooks me. It gets my attention, lures me in, plays with me for a while, and catches me.

I’ve been captivated by what lies beneath the surface of lakes, rivers, and oceans since I was a kid. It’s a whole other world down there, with  all sorts of interesting creatures …  and FISH. It’s the fish,  and fishing,  that got most of my attention when I was a kid. When would you  feel that sudden tug on your line? Would you be quick enough to set the hook,  or would that one get away ? And what would it be ? Trout, catfish, bass, perch, sucker fish? No! Not the sucker fish! Not the carp! Just the trout and bass, please. Sunfish, Crappie, and perch, OK, if they’re big enough to give a little fight. Ah. Fishing. Nothing keeps the little kid in you  as full of expectation and adventure as much as fishing,  if you got hooked by  it, yourself, when you were little.


It seems that folks have been feeling that way  about fishing long before I caught my  first trout.  Here’s a painting  of  an  Arcadian setting  of  the 17th  or 18th century,  showing  a  guy  in a boat on the water,  surrounded by  rolling hills,  a  possibly  empty  castle, and verdant trees. What do you think he’s doing ? Fishing. That’s what I think.  What else would he be doing ?


Arcadian Fishing scene
18th century Arcadian Fishing scene


Then there’s this guy,  on  some lake at the break of dawn,  in this 19th century Hudson River  school inspired painting  on Academy board. What’s he doing ? Fishing , of course. Why  else get up before the crack of dawn, just so that you can  get your boat into the water before the fish  start biting ? There is no other  reason. Yes. This guy has the fishing bug,  and he’s got it bad.


19TH Hudson River School lake scene with man in row-boat.
19TH century Hudson River School lake scene with man in row-boat.


Paintings like these show  me that there have been those that came centuries before me that were just as captivated by the sights and sounds and feelings and excitement of a fishing excursion,  as I’ve been. I also notice that my  nephew  Josh has caught the fishing bug, bad, and is now  taking his commitment to the next level. Fly fishing. Whew ! That’s serious. That’s a whole other  Zen, meditative,  A  River Runs Through It,  kind of level. But I think he can handle it.  After all, what fisherman wouldn’t want to be the guy  in this print created by  Greg Parker in the 1980’s, titled FISHING THE TETONS.



I don’t get around to fishing now, as much  as I did when I was younger. So,  paintings capturing moments that all fishermen  can relate to capture my  attention, instead.  They bring back memories, and stir  up the imagination. You become a kid again,  looking forward with great anticipation to when a big lunker is going to break the surface of the water,and your line tightens up as your rod arcs forward towards the angling battle ahead. When you’re in that moment,  there really is nothing better.


Mid Century Largemouth Bass
Mid Century Largemouth Bass

  1. Ann Kennedy

    I am reminded of The Complete Angler and all of the descriptions of the book–about the art, science, love of, spirit of, prose & poetry of fishing–to name a few! It’s nice when a pastime can bring such good memories, and good that your nephew is showing an interest. You two can have meaningful conversations about your experiences and perhaps share a time or two fishing together.

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