Catch, Release, & Remember: Interview with Ty Hallock February 27, 2019 – Posted in: Vedavoo – Tags: , ,

Everyone likes to remember that fish. The big fish. The first fish. The fish you caught on a dry fly after the perfect cast.

The way it used to be done meant killing that fish. If you caught an impressive trout, killing and mounting it was the way you remembered your feat and your trip. This fell out of fashion as time went on and anglers became more conservation conscious. As technology advanced and cellphones became common, on the stream photography became simple.

But with fish mounts falling out of style and smartphone pics lacking luster, how can you remember that fish?

If Ty Hallock is your guide, you can get a custom painting of that fish.

Hallock is the head guide at Casper, Wyoming’s Ugly Bug Fly Shop. Primarily fishing on the North Platte, he rows clients through some amazing scenery en route to putting them on spectacular trout water. And while the fish and the rivers are certainly noteworthy, his talent for recreating those moments is special among fly fishing guides.

“Five or six years ago,” Hallock recalls, “there was a ton of snow the weekend of the Denver Outdoors Show. There wasn’t really anybody there and we were getting bored in the booth. I took two big Cliff boxes, ripped the stickers off, and drew a brown on one and a rainbow on the other with Sharpies. I sold both that day.”

This wasn’t his first foray into art. He has always drawn, and has always drawn fish. “I was in South Dakota for college, so I drew a lot of warmwater species. I also was big into ornithology, so I was drawing a lot of birds.” And in that time he’s used everything from pencil to acrylic to watercolor, “but,” he says, “Sharpie really pops and is exciting for people to see.”

Getting the quality results that he produces didn’t just come from using any marker on whatever surface. “There were literally years of experimentation to see what works the best. I used all sorts of different materials, different markers. Some surfaces are more porous and suck up ink, others can sit for a week and still wipe off like you just colored them.”

Although he still dabbles in other mediums, Hallock has found his groove with Sharpies on plastic. The originals can be framed and hung just like any other artwork, but he also does cooler wraps, fly boxes, and more. Cliff boxes, his first fly fishing canvas, is perhaps the painted product that he is best known for. But there is a particular subject matter of his that is unique.

“It all started because my wife hates plain white backgrounds,” Hallock says. “I was working at a wildlife refuge and was drawing ducks. She didn’t like the ducks by themselves, but I didn’t want to do a full background. So I’d add a few elements next to the ducks. A few years ago I had a client who caught a nice brown trout. I had a picture of her holding the fish, and I drew it leaving in her hands and painted fingernails. There are also some water droplets coming off the fish. She loved it, my wife loved it, and I thought it looked pretty good. I really like the way it gives the fish perspective and motion, and the picture a little personality.”

Artwork like this goes beyond a small, digital photo when it comes to remembering that fish. To have your fish on your fly box or your cooler or your wall lets you revisit that moment whenever you want. And while Hallock creates custom pieces for people all over the country, he often gets to go from the guide boat to the studio to be a part of that process for his clients. “It is pretty cool to help land the fish and then think about how I’m going to paint it later,” he says. “And I know that my client will get to have that fish and tell a story – a catch and release story – over and over again.”

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Interested in a Cliff fly box, Yeti cooler wrap, or custom piece of artwork from Ty Hallock? Head to his new website here to shop and see more samples of his work.

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This article originally appeared on Casting Across – a website devoted to the quarry and culture of fly fishing.

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