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hollis williford hollis williford

Hollis Williford
"Heads or Tails"
Bronze, Edition of 30
18.75" H

heads or tails

"I'm not sure I was born to be a fisherman, but I was born to a fishing family. I was lucky to have two grandfathers who I cared for a great deal, one encouraged me to fish and the other to hunt. (Hunting is another story.) Until I was ten or eleven years old I didn't realize there were fish on earth other than bluegill, catfish, and carp; likewise, the only methods of fishing were baiting hooks with worms, stinkbait, and grasshoppers. After WWII, when my Dad came home from the service, I was lucky enough to go with him at five years of age. I watched and learned, he was my first hero after all."
"At the end of hot Texas summers, before the cooler October winds came and after the crops on my grandfather's farm were harvested, the men of the family came together to celebrate another year of rural survival. They planned the annual fishing trip and packed gear in the pick-up truck caravan that would take them to the banks of the Colorado or Brazos Rivers. When I was very small I remember I wanted to go so badly I cried when they left and greeted them at the front gate when they returned. I dreamed of the day when I would be old enough to carry their kerosene lantern and wade the night currents of the River with them baiting the lines 'til sunrise. Eventually that opportunity came, I fished with the men at age 9."
"The camp-outs on these trips lasted several days; we slept on the soft, sandy ground, ate cold biscuits from home and cooked on the campfire. They never thought of not catching fish. The fish were there and they knew where, when, and how to catch them. Coming home with a "mess (that's "Texas talk" for a large quantity!) of catfish, drum and soft shell turtle culminated in a huge outdoor fish fry under the giant oak trees in my grandparents' yard. The whole family came, along with the neighbors, to share the bounty of fried catfish and turtle fillets, hush puppies, watermelon, and fruit pies."
"Since those days of childhood and harvest moon simplicity, fishing for me has changed in many ways; however, the bonding and sharing with family and friends will always be a part of it."
"Even in the world of hi-tech, fish finders, graphite rods, and sonic lures; a day or night of fishing will always be a holy activity."
"I've baptized my hooks and lures off the coast of California and Puget Sound, the Great Slave Lake of Northwest Territories, inland lakes of Manitoba, the Gulf of Mexico and East Coast waters of Florida only to realize that there are hundreds of species of fish I've either failed to catch or have never fished."
"I've probably used most every kind of fishing method available to me, from bow and arrow in the rivers of Texas for gar fish to hand-tied crab flies for casting to red fish in Florida. I've experienced days of second degree sunburn, rain produced hypothermia, nearly lost myself as well as my canoe in a tornado storm in the middle of a lake and drifted helplessly in the current of a river after loosing my footing in my waders; however, I can truthfully say that I've never had a bad day of fishing. I can't count the times I've gone fishless, but it just didn't matter. These are the times of catch and release of course and I rarely bring home the fish that I catch anymore. When all is said and done, I would go to my final resting place a more fulfilled, self-realized, contented man, knowing that I had brought to net at least one of every catchable fish species in and around the North American continent. Not for the fish but for the experience and adventure of the pursuit. It's with this mind-set the ("Fishing Suite" Sculpture Series) of anglers has been created and dedicated to those like myself. Those who believe that the rivers, streams, and lakes carry the blood of the earth and our catching of fish the simplest way to feel its heartbeat." - Hollis Williford

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