Monday, 2 November 2020

Raymond Sheppard goes fishing! Part Three

Previously I've covered some books on fishing illustrated by Raymond Sheppard and wish to round it up for now with this one.

TAM TAIN'S TROUT BOOK by Tam Tain. London and Edinburgh: W. & R. Chambers, 1947.


Tam Tain's Trout Book - dustjacket

The cover shows a beautiful Sheppard-drawn trout  and the flyleaf describes the book thus:

Let it be clear from the outset that the characters in this book have definite reference to known persons—and one at least is very much alive! Sandy is mentor and boon companion to the author in most of the angling excursions. His greenheart is still plied adroitly; his eye is still keen to observe what is happening on the river, and his agile mind to deduce successful fishing practice from such scrutiny.
TAM TAIN'S TROUT BOOK is for the tyro perhaps, but it is even more for the expert, who may well be forced to review his methods in the light of what is here written down. Anglers may confidently assume that Sandy's often unorthodox lore—on night flies and lures, on monster trout and cannibals, on soleskin and sink-and-draw methods, on camouflage and cover, on lines and landing nets, estuaries and eels—is supported by experience and never by theory alone. He and Tam Tain are anglers first but naturalists a good second—a combination which often fills baskets on ' unlikely ' days !
" The reader is struck by the way in which the experiences recorded time and again make contact with his own. It is like steel hitting flint, mind speaking to mind in the clearest way," writes ALEXANDER WANLESS in his Preface. 

Some of the images below appeared previously on this blog but I've reproduced them as they are a bit clearer presumably because they are an earlier printing from the same artwork.



 This frontispiece of a trout approaching a recently cast fly appears in the later book "Boy's Book of Angling" on the title page in small size so it was hard to be sure it was Sheppard, but here's the proof it is!

p.23 "A great trout came barging into the shallows after a shoal of minnows (p.24)"

The way Sheppard portrays a trout coming from a deep pool to the shallows where minnows scatter is really interesting.

p.65  "In half a minute it had jumped in again and got off (p.67)"

 This jumping trout which has a fisherman's line in its mouth  was also printed in the later book "Boy's Book of Angling"

The endpapers seen above are reprinted again  on page 99 (as well as in the book Running Silver by the same publishers).

p.123 "During the day they gather up water snails (p.124)"

p.142 "They fed on trout up to half a pound in weight (p.142)"

I found out Tam Tain wrote a fishing column for the "Green Dispatch" (the Saturday sports edition of the Edinburgh Evening Dispatch) but whether that was his real name, I don't know. But "Tom Tain" is in the Kilsyth Hills, north-east of Glasgow.


 Now to round off all this talk of fish we have a few studies and sketches, done by Raymond Sheppard, through the kindness of Christine Sheppard.

Tench studies


And here are some coloured sketches

Large spotted dogfish

Red Mullet



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