Jay Riley casting for trout in the early morning light of deep winter in northern New Hampshire.
Fly fishing photography is challenging even on the best days. First off to make a truly epic image of fly fishing there needs to be a fish involved, either on the line, in the net or under the water. Ask any fisherman how many days they catch fish and how many days they try, then do the math. It's not a high percentage, and let's just assume they probably didn't tell the truth on the number of days they caught fish. Being someone that enjoys fly fishing it's also really hard to concentrate on making images of people catching fish, while wanting to be the guy catching the fish. I think like most photography you have to have some, or better yet a lot of experience with the subject you're photographing. It helps to anticipate juicy action, or what lens is going to capture the next shot best
The other critical aspect of good fly fishing photography is having some people that can cast a tight loop, pick the right fly and find the fish. That takes as much time and effort as making a good photograph, so it's important to hang around really good fishermen and women... A few weeks ago I got to get out with two really good fishermen, one just earned his New Hampshire guide's certificate. He lives near the Upper Connecticut River and knows the river and the fish really well. So well I even caught a fish by the end of the day. Jay Riley absolutely loves fishing, he logged over 100 days last season and really enjoys getting people introduced to fly fishing.
I think what he really likes best is figuring out what's going on with the fish, reading the river, understanding the changes in weather, water levels, temps, all the details that takes a person to the next level. He also doesn't mind sharing what's he's learned and his love of the fish. After hours of shivering, talking, fishing and more shivering we all got a better understanding of what fish like, even Jay learned a few more details. Throughout the day Jay kept talking about how he loved the colors of big old Brown Trout, "they get this crazy blueish color on their gill plates, it's addicting, I just want to catch them so I can see that unique color again and again. So in light of Jay's addiction I cut a quick edit of some video from the day. A success on every level