New Fly Fishing Books: The Fine Art of Angling

December 21, 2007 By: Marshall Cutchin

There’s almost nothing more enjoyable on a cold winter’s day than paging through coffee-table fly fishing books, especially if they combine art and biography. We received Diane Inman’s new The Fine Art of Angling (Di Les Books, 205 pages, December 2007) earlier this week and I took a couple of hours perusing its wide-format pages, taking in the perspective of ten notable fly fishing artists. This is a very nicely done book. While the publisher’s choices for featured artists all share a kind of classic sobriety — most of them claim Winslow Homer as an inspiration — bringing them together like this makes for an interesting comparison. The lengthy biographies that accompany the reproductions of art by Thomas Aquinas Daly, Eldridge Hardie, Chet Reneson and others are well crafted and reveal a common spirit among these more traditional artists: great fishing art is about being humble in the midst of majesty, about the fly fisher disappearing into the landscape. In some of our favorite pieces here, the angler is almost unnoticeable.
Beyond the generalizations though, there is some terrific stuff here from the individual artists. Here’s Reneson on his choice to be representational: “Good abstract art is more real than realism. You’re taking the essence and taking all the gooey, dooey stuff out of it.” And Daly: “One reassuring thread of consistency in our often schizoid lives is nature’s adherence to its own quiet and eternal laws.”
For a nice glimpse of the book, check out the designer’s preview.
The Fine Art of Angling on Amazon.