This past week I had the pleasure of fishing with Colorado guide John Kobald. John guides for brown and rainbow trout on the White River, and for elk and mule deer in the mountains of Meeker, Colorado. But when he’s not guiding, he chisels and polishes bronze in homage of the fish and game that he chases.
While fishing in Islamorada, I stayed with artist Pasta Pantaleo, who is well known in the Keys and beyond for his unique depictions of marine life on canvas. His marlin paintings are perhaps his most famous, but Pasta paints everything that swims.
John and I got to talking about the way the sport is depicted in art, and wondered if there’s anything, film, sculpture or painting, that can do justice to what we fishermen find on the water, and what keeps us coming back.
Certainly there have been no shortage of writers who attempt to wrap words around the ways of the water. Hemingway and Zane Grey, both of whom cast their prose in Outdoor Life, did it perhaps better than any. Grey wrote of the water perhaps my favorite lines: “The lure of the sea is the same strange magic that makes men love what they fear.”
In recent years there have been attempts on the big screen to do justice to the art of angling. There’s Redford’s famous, Oscar-winning interpretation of Norman Maclean’s Book, A River Run’s through It.
Wolfgang Petersen more recently took a stab at showing a saltier side of the sport in his cinematic depiction of Sebastian Junger’s tale of the Andrea Gail, in The Perfect Storm.
But as moving as the scene is where Brad Pitt gets soaked in pursuit of the big one, or when Clooney and the crew are packing ice on swordfish after swordfish, can any film, painting, sculpture or story convey the intangible element that makes angling about so much more than just catching and throwing back fish?
Do you have any fine fishing art adorning your walls? And what films and books do you think come closest to doing the real thing justice?