Not all gifts for anglers need to be for use on the stream (or even particularly useful). Fly fishing is an inherently beautiful activity. The quarry are themselves pleasing to the eye (especially to the angler), fly fishing tends to be pursued in attractive places, and the act of casting a fly is beautiful to watch. Not surprisingly, artists of all ilks, painters, photographers, even sculptors, have been drawn to fishing and fish as a subject matter. And most anglers would be thrilled to have an image of their beloved sport to hang on the wall.
Not all fly shops carry art, but many do. It’s worth a visit to your favorite shop to see if they have any paintings or photos on the walls. If they do, those images are more than likely to be from local artists and to portray fishing in the area. You might be able to find a portrayal of your recipient’s favorite stream or fish species. Another place to look would be galleries in areas where fly fishing is a big deal. Most galleries and artists these days have at least some of their work displayed online. A web search for art or photography in the local (or not-so-local) fly fishing mecca may turn up some gems. Looking for a memento of last summer’s fly fishing trip? Try calling a fly shop in that region and ask them if they can refer you to an artist or gallery in the area. It might take some leg work to find the perfect art to grace your wall, but it’s well worth the effort.
Original art is, of course, pretty pricey. But most painters do prints of some sort for the more budget-minded. Some of these, such as prints on canvas, can look surprisingly similar to an original painting. Other types of prints, such as prints on metal, may have aesthetic qualities that you don’t find in the original. Signed and numbered prints can themselves be priced in the multiple hundreds of dollars. Still too steep for your budget? Some paintings and photographs can be found in a poster format. A framed poster can still look pretty classy.
Visual art isn’t your only option. Fly fishing has also drawn the literary sort. The essay, in particular, has been used by many fine authors to explore the thoughtful side of fly fishing. There are a plethora of books of essays in print that would be appreciated by the reading angler. Authors to look for range from the classic (Hemingway, Sparse Grey Hackle) to the more contemporary (John Gierach, Ted Leeson, Nick Lyons). These are only a sampling. Your local fly shop may carry some favorite titles, and a search on Amazon is sure to turn up something that your angler hasn’t yet read. In addition to essays, you may discover everything from short stories to mystery novels. Something for every reader.
Have a favorite fly fishing artist or author? Please post a comment to help others find the perfect artistic gift!