One of the most iconic pieces of fly fishing art I know of is Bob Timberlake’s Kuralt at White’s Creek. The scene is a pitch perfect depiction of a North Carolina stream. The rhododendron, the mysterious woods, and the moss growing on the rocks, partnered with rushing water and a perfect cast capture so much of what fly fishing is.
Trout and the act of catching them is a recurring theme in Mr. Timberlake’s work. On the following page you’ll see several pieces of art that revolve around these themes.
It’s impossible to miss the obvious passion he has for the sport. So we jumped at the chance to go fly fishing with him!
That iconic piece, Kuralt at White’s Creek, isn’t actually at White’s Creek. The title is a nod to the fact that many anglers have secret fishing spots. Mr. Timberlake understands the value of a good secret spot. He’s been fishing in the same stream for years, and only took us there if we promised to keep the location secret.
He promised me we’d catch fish. He promised me they’d be big. I argued that I’d never fly fished before, and probably wouldn’t catch a thing. He smiled a very Southern smile that meant he knew he was right, but he didn’t argue.
He brought two guides with him. Morgan Tarbutton would be with me and Alyssa Adcock would be assisting him. Both of these ladies work at Chetola Resort which has a robust fly fishing program. We suited up and got out on the water.
Mr. TImberlake has a friendly, happy personality and he exerts a certain amount of ease. That was all very amplified on the water. He was clearly in his element, and it’s easy to see how that state of mind would encourage the creation of art.
And he was right.
We caught fish. We caught big fish.
He caught two gorgeous rainbow trouts, both enormous. I caught a brown trout large enough that I had a hard time holding onto it.
The feeling of catching such a beautiful and huge fish is hard to describe, but I know it’s what keeps Mr. Timberlake coming back to this stream, year after year. I know it’s what prompts him to create art on the subject. It feels…primal, perhaps. Exciting. Invigorating. It also instantly reminded me of the circle of life, and of my connection to the earth. And I have to say…it wasn’t a fleeting feeling. I felt different after that fishing trip, and I think everyone caught up in the bustle of daily life owes themselves a good fishing trip.
Mr. Timberlake shared some of his favorite quotes about fishing, and I think they point to the reason he loves it so.
“If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago.” -Zane Gray
“God never did make a more calm, quiet, innocent recreation than angling.” -Izaak Walton
“For all men are created equal before fishes.” -Herbert Hoover
We appreciate that Mr. Timberlake took us on this fishing trip and allowed us to print his artwork. You can find his art at BobTimberlake.com, or visit his gallery in Lexington, NC.