One definite change that has happened in my own fly fishing over the past few years, is that I’d rather look for native bass than try to find a trout where they might not even supposed to be.  There is just something about these localized bass and panfish species and the places they call home.

There’s a growing awareness and interest in these “Native Sons” and it’s been neat to see other anglers and in this case, an artist, highlight these very special and lesser known fishes.

Hank Hershey of Hank’s Fish Art has taken a deep dive into ‘Micropterus‘ and is working his way through the lineup with a series of bass portraits which are a lot of fun and highlight their subtle and not so differences of war paint and fin flare.
 

 

Hank wrote…  “I’ve recently launched a series of Micropterus illustrations that highlight the diversity of the Redeye Bass in Alabama and Georgia.  Technically Tennessee too, but if it were up to me the Conasauga River would have a 12 foot barbed wire fence around the entire basin. 

I tried to characterize the unique markings and coloration of each “species” as accurately as possible while limiting my palettes and strokes for a minimalist effect. 
 
Native bass species are getting A LOT more attention in the southeast than they have historically.  
 
It’s the hope of our grassroots movement which started with an Instagram page dubbed @redeyeslam that the Redeye Bass’s popularity doesn’t outpace the protections and management changes that it needs to persist.  We’re trying to shift the southern bass angler’s mentality from “ripp’in lips” to appreciating biodiversity. We know not everyone is going to turn into a conservationist overnight, but hopefully we can make it look cool. 

I’m planning to add more species from the “Georgia Bass Slam” soon with the Suwannee, Smallmouth, and Shoal Bass and then maybe add the Guadalupe, and Neosho too.

Some day I’ll actually have a website with all this stuff available, but for now I’m a full time PhD student, so I’ll just bite off little chunks when my budget allows.”

The image above is actually a screen saver for your phone that you can purchase (without watermarks) from Hank’s Fish Art.  Check out his website and follow along on Instagram at both @hanks_fish_art and @redeyeslam.

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