by Randal Sumner
I've been sitting at my desk looking at some photographs from
this year's fishing. My photography style is revolutionary French;
I tend to cut of the heads off of my subjects. In the world of serious
outdoor photography I would be known as a snapshotist. There is
a school of catch and release fly-fishing that insists we photograph
our trout. In fact without a picture, they say we have no evidence
that we caught them. A camera breaks one of the cardinal trout bum
laws. Never put anything in your vest that isn't relevant to catching
fish. Cameras are heavy and they don't take a bath well. However
we usually have a camera in our fishing camps. Now these photos
are priceless, pictures of trout bums with greasy hair, smoking
cigars, leaning over a Coleman stove in some godforsaken place and
grinning madly. After a few days in the bush, with enough greasy
food and dirt it is possible to make some terrific shapes with your
hair, like an Egyptian pyramid.
Every once in a while I buy a fly fishing magazine. The covers
are usually the same, a ruggedly handsome guy holding an enormous
brown trout. He's the poser. Great posers are hard to come by; the
requirements are matter of genetics' rather than angling skill.
First they must be Bob Redford handsome with naturally twinkling
eyes. Second the great posers are small people with tiny hands.
Small hands make the trout look really big. Over the years I've
caught some exceptional specimens, yet the few photo's I have don't
do the trout justice. I'm too big, my hands are all wrong and my
expression looks sort of grumpy. All of this wouldn't make much
difference but since the trout bums have a guiding business we need
some pictures to show our clients. These people want to see photos
of trout. Some wild- eyed trout bum with bad hair doesn't inspire
the same response as the poser with a nice fat rainbow, that's unfortunate.
The good news is we have found a great poser, fabulous actually;
this guy is the Andy Williams of trout posing. He's in the insurance
business and always looks good. Sometimes I let him show a fish
I've caught. Is that cheating or perception? Whichever it is, these
photos don't have much to do with fly-fishing .