Trout Tattoo 1


Trout chasing the nymph on Switters by Jerry Ware at Atlas Tattoo, Portland, Oregon, USA

I  have had this tat for about a year (May1, 2007). Getting a tattoo is a study in your personality and how you will find out how people view you. For a good year before getting the tattoo, I researched what I wanted, where to put it and who would do it. I went into tattoo shops and usually got looks like what is uptight fuddy duddy doing in here. If they had a fish in their history it was a Koi or some fish of Asian design with lots of scroll work. Not what I wanted. I have no connect to Asian art or culture except the occasional Thai food. No offense, meant since I have an enormouly beautiful asian daughter in law and granddaughter…gracious, intelligent and gorgeous. I digress, so I did find a few artists that did have ‘real’ fish (salmon) but I had to wait 5 months for a consultation (with fee) and then many more months to get the tattoo and again these people were aloof, arrogant and pinched (prototypical ‘alternative’ Portlanders, “the sky is falling” “keep Portland weird” types). I questioned whether I really wanted to do this given that the artists in no way seemed to connect with me emotionally, spiritually or politically so there was an undeniable disconnect. Also, what to get. A fish, a bug, a fly. I thought of many things and where was important. Ultimately, I arrived at a side view of a fish across my back. I behemoth spanning my upper back. No, it just did not feel right and how would I see it and who would see it save a few times a year I walked about sans shirt. If I was going to get one I wanted to enjoy it. So, the personal decision was made to get a tattoo on my forearm. A very visible place. I had spent the majority of my life (32 years) in an environment that required uniformity and stability. Now, I was toying with an idea that would jump past that image and set friends and family back as a fairly conservative man appeared to fall into a mid-life crisis. Now, I knew there was no mid-life crisis. I had got that out of the way years earlier and I knew this was not a decision to recapture youth, but rather to pay homage to a most important part of my makeup…to something that centers me and that I love. I love it. It is a passion that has withstood decades of life’s passage. All flyfishing’s nuances have withstood the challenges of my life and in the end given me stability and sanity. So, this tattoo was to say to myself and others, I love a fish to a fly. If someone saw that and got the essence then that was cool. If they didn’t, whatever. I do and that is all that matters. No rebellion, no mid-life crisis. Nothing more than expressing my love for this amazing past time, wishing it could be more than a past time.

So, I looked in magazines, continued to cut out images and continued my search for the artist. I walked into Atlas Tattoo, a place that resonated history to me (old neighborhood store front at least 100 years old). I was met by a Jerry Ware, who I had called to see, based upon my impressions of his work…little thumbnails with nary a fish. Somehow, I felt he was my man.

Typical of us all, first impressions can be deceiving. Yes, Jerry Ware had all the ink artist trappings and appeared with full sleeves and neck tattoo’s; and he appeared probably to be overladen with angst and attitude. NO, he wasn’t. Without a doubt one of the nicest men I have met. Professional, mature, cool. He immediately understood my quest. Although he may have never done more than drown a worm or plunk Power Bait, he understood fish and he quickly had ideas. In no time I left with an tattoo appointment and an image of a rainbow trout chasing a nymph, set to permanently inhabit my left forearm. Now, the nerves really come forth. Should I do it or not? Maybe I do care what people will think. Soon, I became centered and at ease with my decision. Yes, a little apprehensive about pain (piece of cake…..kind of an addictive itch at least at that spot).  In the end, it was a great experience. Jerry Ware is a pro and so adept at his craft that my son’s tattoo was Ware’s next piscatorial creation (see Vesica Piscis/Tony Muncy).

In the aftermath of getting a tattoo, friends and family were shocked and in the end pleased. I have zero regrets and was thankful I was at a point in life where I could do something for me and do it cleanly without a hint of rebellion or regret.

Now, a dynamic I have become aware of is balance. Does that left forearm need balance with the addition of a tattoo on the right forearm…HA! I have no concepts or designs in mind…who knows..maybe someday.



2 Responses to “Trout Tattoo 1”

  1. September 3, 2009 at 10:05

    hey check out my rainbow trout tattoo not may people have them mostly just coy/koi (which i think is stupid everyone has them!) mine is for my grandfather who died about four months ago he taught me to fish when i was very young!

    myspace.com/ashleyjulianna13 (under my photos last photo!)


  2. 2 Matt
    December 5, 2008 at 10:05

    That’s awesome man! I was looking for a tattoo like this too because I also love trout fishing and this came out great. I’ll have to get one like this now!


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