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Fishing, Hunting and Outdoor Blog for Stories, Tips and Reviews

Fishing, Hunting and Outdoor Blog for Stories Tips and Reviews from Outdoor Men and Women.

 

Five Questions with Artist Brandon Finnorn

Troy Thomas

fly_fishing_artist.jpg

By: Phil Monahan

Dr. Brandon Finnorn discovered his passion for creating art when life threw him a curveball back in 2016, but he hasn’t looked back since. (You can get the full story of his remarkable journey by reading his blog post “Stethoscope to Sketchpad.”) In the short time since he first launched his Etsy shop TheBonnieFly and his business Finnorn Illustrations, he has become one of the premier fishing artists along the Gulf Coast. Brandon was kind enough to submit to our “5 Questions” grilling and explain how he has arrived at his current situation.

1. Where are you from, and what do you do for a living?

I grew up on the Gulf Coast of Alabama, and I currently reside in Madisonville, Louisiana, a small town on the other side of the pond from New Orleans. As a full-time fine artist and illustrator, I create digital graphics for brands and clothing companies, as well as work on my own original fine art, focused mainly in charcoal, pastel, and digital painting.

2. Where and when did you start fishing?

I spent most of my childhood on Mobile Bay and Dauphin Island, Alabama, fishing for inshore saltwater species. I started fishing at age two on the Dauphin Island Pier with a Mickey Mouse rod with a push-button reel. I still spend every other weekend driving from my home in Madisonville to fish with my dad and brothers in Alabama. Although there is legendary fishing here in Louisiana, I still find myself preferring the time spent with family in my home waters.

3. When and how did you start drawing/painting? Did you study? 

I remember my dad teaching me the basics of drawing a horse, which then turned into sketches of saltwater fish in the margins of every notebook from grade school to medical school. Prior to 2016, I had never given my sketching much of a second thought. It was just something to pass the time in lectures.

After graduating medical school in the spring of 2016, I was preparing to start pediatric residency in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There was a month or so gap between finishing school and starting in the hospital. So naturally, like any obsessed fisherman does, I decided to attempt to learn fly fishing around southwestern Pennsylvania.

Up until that time, I had grown up in shorts and short sleeves, fly-casting for saltwater fish on the beach or from the family boat. I had no experience with wading streams, nymphing, or tossing dry flies to freshwater species. After a week of fishing various streams in the area and catching my first brown and rainbow trout, I was hooked! But there was something that I didn’t account for . . . something that I knew to be a classic and easy medical exam question.

Northeast United States. Outdoors. Deer. See those words in a question and the answer in the multiple choice is easy: Lyme disease. I never found the rash or spotted the deer tick that bit me. After weeks of unexplained night sweats, chills, and finally Bell’s Palsy, I found myself spending the majority of my first year of residency on medical leave with arthritic joint pain and suffering from memory loss. As a medical student, you thrive on memorization under pressure. Suddenly, I could hardly find my way to the grocery store or remember the day of the week. During that time away from patient care, I started sketching old fishing photos to pass the time. Eventually, daily sketching kept me going through those trying days. It became apparent that I had a real passion for the work.

On December 1, 2016, after making a full recovery, I decided to leave medicine and pursue a full-time career in fine art and illustration.

4. What is your connection between your love of art and fishing? When did they come together?

Fishing has always intrigued the scientific part of me that enjoys understanding the different bird species, crustaceans, and life that thrives in coastal environments. It’s hard to accurately describe the unique sights and sounds that accompany spending time in the outdoors. Fine art has given me the opportunity to bring to life the epic and beautiful things I’ve witnessed on the water.

5. What’s up next for you?

I currently am working on a series called “Moments of Tension,” highlighting the moments before or after a fly is taken by a fish. Thus far, the series has been a lot of fun to create, and brings to life the moments when you aren’t sure of a successful hookup. This year, I am also working on my second year with the largest fishing tournament in the world, the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo. Each year, they pick an artist to do their featured print. They have featured artists such as Guy Harvey in past years, so it’s a huge honor to be able to do it consecutive years. ­

This article was first posted on Orvis’s website.

American Presidents Who Were Fisherman

Troy Thomas

Over the course of United States history, fishing has become arguably the sport of the American President. Whether it's because anglers are just inherently more likely to have sweeping political aspirations than other people or because presidents need the kind of quiet escape and stress relief that only a fishing trip can provide, history is dotted with presidents who spent their leisure time catching fish.

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Top Resorts for a Romantic Fishing Getaway (Yes, I Said Romantic)

Troy Thomas

Is you or your partner's idea of heaven standing hip-deep in water? Then tell him or her to restore the plumbing! (kidding.) Here are the united states's pinnacle destinations for a fishing getaway where those who love to fish can indulge this activity.

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Some of the Best Ice Fishing Road Trips in the U.S.A.

Troy Thomas

In case you’re something like me, you’ve got some friends who make up your middle aged ice fishing crew. You’re likely hitting the handful of lakes and ponds over and over. Your own home game is dialed, no doubt, so maybe it’s time to take the crew on the road. Making plans a D.I.Y. getaway in the coldest months actually comes with greater logistics than a summer journey.

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Five U.S. Tailwaters to Fly Fish in the Winter Months

Troy Thomas

One of the reasons I love fly fishing is as it’s a year round undertaking. Even throughout the coldest months of the year you can discover actively feeding fish, and also you don’t have to race to the water hours earlier than dawn for the fine action. Still, too many anglers put up their waders and stash their rods when wintry weather arrives.

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Wilderness Walleye Trip Destinations

Troy Thomas

Canada’s wilderness walleye waters lay along the Canadian Shield, an area of nearly 2 million square miles that turned into the first a part of the North American Continent to upward thrust above sea level. Historical glaciers, erosion and other herbaltactics have left the topography, lakes and rivers we see today.

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The Reasons You’re Not Catching Big Striped Bass in the Surf

Troy Thomas

Of all the qualities that make the striped bass one of the country’s premier game fish—including its tremendous strength, its regal purple sheen and stately black stripes, and its ability to grow to large sizes—perhaps the best is the striper’s tendency to feed close to shore.

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How to Catch Trout in Eddies

Troy Thomas

Pools can be as small as a bathtub in streams, and as big as a small lake in large rivers. But they all share similar characteristics. The three prime fish-holding areas in pools are the head of the pool where water enters, the tail of the pool where water begins to speed up as it enters the pool exit, and the main current flows in the body of the pool.

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Just Like Water: The Case for Bad Beer

Troy Thomas

One of my most beloved angling traditions is the lunchtime beer. The midpoint of a float trip is largely an excuse to open a can of Miller Lite. If the morning has been a good one, then it’s a well-earned celebration. If the fishing has been off, then it’s a commiseration with your own bad luck–and just as well-deserved.

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The Worst (Funniest) Hunting Products Ever Seen

Troy Thomas

If I were in a more curmudgeonly frame of mind, I could name anything that makes hunting easier or is higher tech that didn’t exist when I was younger: ATVs, trail cameras, cell phones, for instance. But, I can see how ATVs are a godsend to deer hunters; that trail cameras must be a lot of fun; and personally, since I am as bad as any teenager with my phone in the field, who am I to criticize them? Cell phones are a blessing for those of us with short attention spans when we have to sit patiently and wait for game. I know I used to do it before cell phones, but it was really boring.

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