An “abstract tarpon flank,” so realistic it appears to shimmer, is the latest creation from wildlife artist Derek DeYoung incorporated into an Abel reel’s finish. The abstract tarpon scales were created by the Montana wildlife artist as part of a saltwater trip with his father years ago.
"The morning I'd landed that tarpon, I specifically asked my dad to turn the boat before we released her back to the depths. I just had to see what the fish looked like in the sunlight. So dad started the engine, and put it in gear. As the boat’s shadow fell away, the tarpon's true palette of a pearl-like glow came alive. I was shocked to see so many colors in each scale.
“I decided right then and there that I needed to do a painting of this tarpon showing what it looked like in that sunlit water at the side of my boat. I called the painting, ‘Abstract Tarpon Flank: Sunlight’,” DeYoung said. Effervescent blues, chrome-bright silver and splashes of green highlight DeYoung’s latest colorful fly reel collaboration with California tackle manufacturer Abel.
A Michigan native, DeYoung was raised on the shores of a small lake where he and his two brothers spent nearly every waking hour chasing pan fish, largemouth bass and northern pike. His career as an artist began around that same time as he began to sketch images of the fish he caught. He subsequently was graduated with a BFA in Illustration from Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids.
DeYoung’s fresh and saltwater fish representations on Abel reels have become both artistic fly-fishing additions and collectors’ items.
“Abstract Tarpon Flank: Sunlight” is available on any size Abel reel, priced $500 over the cost of a corresponding standard black reel.