Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Paul Puckett (@paulpuckettart) now calls The Lowcountry home. In his youth, he notes he was introduced to fly fishing by his grandfather, a timely tale of bass and family memories. After art school, he spent time in Wyoming and Atlanta, quietly wondering how he could commit to a life of artistic endeavor. While working at the renowned Fish Hawk in Atlanta, Georgia, Paul realized he continued to visit the coast at every opportunity—smitten with tailing redfish and the ambiance of the flood plains they resided. It wasn’t long before Paul helped to create one of fly fishing’s most recognized outdoor apparel brands, Flood Tide Co., and committed himself to pushing the boundaries of angling and outdoor artistry. Paul has found inspiration on trips to The Bahamas, Mexico, Seychelles, Cuba, Argentina, and Honduras, while heavily influenced by the people and places of his home water. His rise to prominence in the outdoor artist space was fueled by determination and undeniable talent while remaining humble, approachable, and a joy to be around.
Rapid Fire Questions
What are your favorite settings in fly fishing these days?
“I have been fortunate to have gone fishing all over the world. I have all of these exciting pursuits and all these places that I never thought I’d be able to go to. Now I kind of live in slow motion, and some of my favorite times are just sitting on a skiff, eating a sandwich, drinking a beer, and talking to whomever I’m fishing with. Just sitting in the skiff and waiting for the tide to come in are some of my favorite times – honestly, I love it.”
Is there a particular fly fishing memory that stands out to you?
“Yeah, probably the GT I caught in the Seychelles – now three years ago. The guide told me to make a cast to a certain area. I was up on this kind of grassy flat, and I was looking at all this white sand, so I never saw the profile of the fish. I just did two strips of the fly, and all of a sudden, this Volkswagen bus came off the flat.”
How do you suggest anglers get involved in conservation, past the most basic level?
“I think honestly just learning more. Like if you pick a Bonefish & Tarpon Trust or a Captains For Clean Water – invest in actually learning what they’re doing and what the problem is just so you can help educate other people along the way that might want to get involved with things. I can admit that I had to dive in and learn more about the Florida watershed problems because I was supporting those guys in that fishery. I’ve fished down there a lot, but it’s easy just to throw money at something or donate a painting, but it’s something that you really need to dive a little bit more into just to learn more about it.”
If you could fish with a celebrity, or anyone for that matter, who would it be?
“Yeah, you know what I think? He lives in Charleston and I’ve come elbow-to-elbow with him, but I think Danny McBride would be pretty fun to go fishing with. I’ve gotten close to it. It’s somewhat obtainable, but it’s still on the list for sure!”
Has your methodology and/or your style changed since you first began creating art?
“I don’t know that the styles change much. I don’t even know if I really have a style. Honestly, every painting is sometimes a little different. I consider a big salmon painting – to me – it’s almost like a landscape. There’s all these little textures and things that are different from any other fish. I’ll treat a painting of a cutthroat trout a little bit differently, but you still learn things along the way, like if I were to do that salmon again, the exact same fish… It would obviously look a little bit different, but it would still have the same methods I would have used twelve years ago. They would just adapt a little bit differently and it would end up looking probably just a little cleaner and better and a bit more efficiently done.”
If you had a post-fishing cocktail named after you, what would it be?
“Oh man, probably the ginger beer.”
What are your favorite fly fishing destinations?
“I think it would have to be The Bahamas because it’s so attainable and easy to get to. It’s such a quick trip, you’re fishing that afternoon. You could go there and feel good about even just two days of fishing. It has everything – bones, permit, jacks. There’s also some resident tarpon, but it just has everything a saltwater angler would want!”
What are a few destinations that are on your angling bucket list?
“Most of my destinations are tied to salt water, but I still haven’t done New Zealand. That’s definitely on the list, I mean, I still love trout fishing, obviously, but the idea of just throwing dries at territorial, predatory brown trout… I definitely want to do that.”
Why Fly Fishing Destination Travel?
“Fish live in beautiful places, and just the fact that you can hop on a plane and go back in time. It’s kind of like all those explorers back in the 1500s that would just go across the ocean and see new things. I think it kind of takes me back. You can hop off the plane and just see something totally new, you may never go there ever again in your life. To be able to share experiences with friends, meet the people that live there, just soak in a whole other world for seven days, be in that time capsule, and always have those memories. It’s the excitement of all that new stuff.”