“…Facebook is responsible for the death of thousands of fish a year due to people mishandling fish as they pose for victory shots.”
— attributed to Brian O’Keefe, co-founder of Catch Magazine in “An Upstream Journey, Dispatch #5: Taking a Break in Bend” by Paul Moinester
It’s become accepted in an era of InstaFaceGooTumblr that without visual evidence you’re not to be believed.
…which explains the fact that a search of “fly fishing photography” yields over 20 million results. It appears customary for articles about “catch and release” in mainstream fly fishing media and other outlets to include how to take a grip and grin with minimal impact on the fish. Even a few detail how the solitary fisherman can take better photos.
My experience fishing alone has taught me that there is no easy way to take a decent photo. When I did, it was only to prove my fly fishing
It could be argued that trout are the most beautiful freshwater game fish. Yes, their coloration goes beyond simple camouflage, it is sprinkled with a subtle and unmatched beauty for which words are inadequate.
I’d like to say it’s that beauty that leads fly fisherman so often post or carry photos of fish. But more often than not, these poses — “hero shots” — show a fish in a most unnatural environment: out of water, often in midair, and in a human’s hands.
Getting a good photo when fishing solo is something I haven’t mastered. There’s the bumbling for the camera once the fish is in the net. The instant the camera’s turned on the trout, at least the ones I land, decide to be as uncooperative as possible. Most of my first shots are unattractive photos of their backs. There might be a second attempt but by the third try, sympathy for the fish wins, and I let it slide out from the net.
That’s not to say I won’t take any fish photos whatsoever when fishing solo, but there’ll be no more arm’s length shots; maybe photos only of that remarkable fish, landed quickly and handled minimally, in the net in the water. With any luck, I’ll learn how to take underwater shots.
Next time I tell you I landed a few trout, you’ll just have to trust me.