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Can you say Gyotaku? I mean correctly. I knew what it is but I could not say correctly either until I spoke with Sarasota artist Captain Jim Roberts, creator of {ijseo_redirect id=5}. Gyotaku is an oriental art media or style also known as fish rubbing. No, if you rub a fish it will not help you catch more fish. This is different.

Gyotaku art is an art form whereby an artist applies paint to a fish and then magically transfers the painted fish image to a special paper without creating a huge mess or blur. Do not ask me how, I just know that it is very cool and Captain Jim Roberts is one of the best Gyotaku artists in the world. By the way Gyotaku is pronounced “GEE-OH-TAH-KOO” and it is the ancient Japanese folk art of painting fish. The first Gyotaku art was created to preserve the true record and size of a species caught by Japanese anglers in 1862.


The Japanese art form dates back to the late nineteenth century, when fisherman produce artwork the quality of this incredible octopus, on display at a Tokyo museum.

Captain Jim is a retired fly fishing guide and chartered aboard his boat ‘Reel Dreams’ designed by our friend Lefty Kreh for Seacraft Boats. The intense love of the sea and the beauty of her bounty led Captain Jim to Gyotaku Art. He not only learned the art form, he has become a master. If you understand the word you will understand the art. Gyo ‘fish’ taku ‘rubbing’ is of course a Japanese word that rightfully describes the art. There is much, much more to creating a piece of Gyotaku art but this is not about the how to, so much as it is about the artist himself and his works.

If you visit Jim Roberts’ website you will be set back on your heels. His artwork is overwhelming and inspiring at the same time. I have spent hours looking at his works and never tire of doing so. The artist range of fish that he has painted would catalog an art museum but there is more.

The outstanding quality of Roberts' artwork takes your breath away. The museum-quality artwork uses the same methods, with the eye of a modern-day sport fisherman and guide. The results speak for themselves.

Jim Roberts also has created some fabulous Tile Art that you have to see. The Tile Art is so unique that it is more than appropriate for any room in your house or patio. The tiles are also UV coated and are framed in light weight dense foam that simulates Real Coral. What a look! My favorite is his ‘Permit’ but if you know me you know that I am partial to the species. Don’t let me influence your selection as you must see this for yourself.

In addition, Jim also produces some pretty classy note cards and Gyotaku license plates that are sure to draw attention and make a great gift as well. He also offers his artwork on T Shirts and has a very nice hard cover book which features the history of Gyotaku artist Jim Roberts’ life, work and insight into the art of making his fish prints. His book is for any collector, angler, diver or art lover and well worth the modest price.

Please visit Artist Jim Roberts on his website and help support or Native Florida Artists.

From the publisher: Pat's been one of the key 'players' in the story of TheOnlineFisherman, and was there the first month the site came to life. In fact, Pat was one of the five of us that "loaded" the site in the first month it was on the web. Starting with a single empty page -- no tabs, no navigation bars, no nothing -- it quickly turned into sections, and with Pat's help, we worked 12-hr days seven days a week to generate content. I remember Pat producing 12 articles in week. And not thrown-together, either; the same level of quality he produces today.

Pat is going to begin classes for his true love and area-of-expertise: Flyfishing. "Flyfishing 101" is being planned right now, and will be coming to our class facilities at Tampa Fishing Outfitters early 2011.

The Online Fisherman

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