The 2020 fishing season is postponed. It is one of a long, long list of pastimes that are on hold as we stay home to keep each other safe. It seems a small sacrifice, but it doesn’t mean the die-hard anglers aren’t feeling the loss keenly. Canada has a very long winter.
Canadian artist Peter Gough is a lifelong fly fisherman, born into the sport. His father, Cecil, was an avid angler and guide. Gough senior is featured prominently in the photographs of Wallace R. MacAskill, one of Nova Scotia's best-known photographers. The photographs were used in the 1920’s and 30’s to promote tourism in Nova Scotia and can be found in the Nova Scotia archives. Peter shared some of his favourites with me.
"My father on the right having lunch with his fishing buddy George Clark senior."
My father is in one of the canoes going down the Tusket River.
"My father with a salmon on. Mersey River, 1928. He was 31 years old. Photographed by W.R. MacAskill"
"All these photos were in the 1929 Nova Scotia travel guide. All shot by W.R. MacAskill.
He used to follow my father everywhere."
Peter inherited a passion for fishing from his father along with an impressive collection of vintage rods and reels. He jokes that he could open a museum. (He could charge double admission as his home already looks like an art gallery!)
Receipt for fishing gear 1928
Traditional pattern flys from the 1920's
Hardy's guide from 1924. Signed by my father.
But enough about fishing. Peter Gough is best known as an accomplished realist painter. He is an artist. His love of fishing does mean that many of his paintings are of rivers; of quiet bends and peaceful shores. His newest work is no exception AND he even painted a custom paddle in isolation. It features one of his father's vintage flys on a softwood paddle from Van Fancy Oars and Paddles
on the South Shore of Nova Scotia.
Peter told me he watched an angler land two salmon at this spot while spent the afternoon photographing the river. Do you know the spot?
I would love to see some more paddles and paintings from Peter in the coming months but I suspect as soon as he is able, Peter will trade his paintbrush for a fishing rod and head down to the river. If you see him, ask him about the time he sold a painting to baseball legend Ted Williams. He will keep you entertained for hours with fish tales.
For more information about Peter Gough and his artwork visit www.14Bells.com