Trout Tattoo - The Obsession is Skin Deep |

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HomeArticlesOtherTrout Tattoo - The Obsession is Skin Deep
Trout Tattoo - The Obsession is Skin Deep

Nick Laferriere

Nick Laferriere

HomeArticlesOtherTrout Tattoo - The Obsession is Skin Deep

Trout Tattoo - The Obsession is Skin Deep

Category: Other Fly Fishing Articles | Author: Nick Laferriere

About the first trophy brown and the inspiration for the first tattoo.

Trout Tattoo

Hi, my name is Nick and I’m a trout-bum. Signed in ink, it is official. I have wanted a tattoo for as long as I could remember but could never fully decide what I wanted. However, inspiration finally arrived in the fall of 2009 when I landed my first hookjaw brown. The fish marked my first trophy brown and was an experience that I’ll never forget.

The Fish

After chasing browns for a week in the Parklands of Manitoba, I arrived at Patterson Lake, a well-known stillwater fishery that produces a lot of quality fish. Not knowing the water a fellow fisherman was kind enough to provide me a spot to try, aptly named “Brownie Flats”. I was anxious to get on the water and kicked all the way across the lake to this supposed honey hole. Shortly after arriving I spotted a large fish working a shoreline. I spotted its rises, feeding on adult sedges that were scooting across the surface, and I calculated the direction that the fish was moving. I had a hopper pattern on and placed the fly a few feet ahead of the last seen rise form. As if it were in slow motion, the fish came up, chomped at the surface twice and then engulfed my fly. I waited a couple seconds and then set into the fish. This is when the fun began and my stress level went through the roof!

I knew it was a big fish and had a large kype from seeing it take the fly. I was very under-prepared with a 5-weight rod in hand and only 4lb. tippet! I knew I had to play this fish out properly. I directed the fish away from the reedy shoreline which would be instant disaster if it were to head into them. I had a chance with the net only seconds into the battle, but that didn’t go over well with the fish. It speeded into open water and once in deeper water, the fish stuck to the bottom and was nearly impossible to get up. I had to resort to turning the fish in a corkscrew type manner and slowly get it to the surface. After 15-minutes of heart pounding stress, I was able to land the fish. I sat in awe and total exhaustion before even looking into the net. I just sat there in my float tube, leaning back and just taking it all in. When I finally peered into the net, my jaw dropped! There staring back at me was the most incredible looking fish I’d ever landed! The fish measured 23.5″ and was a perfect pre-spawn male.

The Artist

This fish was the inspiration for me to get my tattoo and I’ll remember it for all times! The next step was to find an artist who fit my criteria. I wanted someone who could do high detail and realism. I wanted a trout, half-submerged in water with a stone background. I browsed artist’s galleries online before finally finding Ivy Gowen of Metamorphosis Tattoo. Her paintings and tattoos were so detailed and realistic, I called immediately to set a consult.

The consult was fun and we were totally on the same page about the idea. I brought along a drawing I had done of a brown trout for reference. We added a fly hanging out of the mouth and a half-submerged maple leaf. The tattoo was to be black and gray with only the leaf and fly to be coloured. Once we got the idea I was anxious to see what she could come up with. We decided to best show off the detail and the design was to do a piece across the top of my back. It was a BIG commitment considering it was my first tattoo!

The Process

In total it took three, five hour sessions to complete and I think it is a great way to signify my obsession for fly fishing, especially for brown trout. The pain was not as bad as I had expected. Aside from a few moments of agony it was bearable. My side-effect while under the needle was to get really tired and relaxed. Which made things very easy for me.

A good friend of mine is a photographer and was kind enough to donate her time and encapsulate the tattoo process through a lens. She also was able to capture some shots of the finished tattoo.

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