Like most anglers, we love a good split shot. The fish in its natural element, the angler, the sky, the water, that connection and the fact that Dr Andy Danylchuk of Keep em Wet, would approve. Gah! Sometimes the beauty of it all is just too much. So, being the average photographers we are, for our issue 16 Split Shot story, we decided to quiz three very different yet frequent split shotters – a guide, a talented amateur and a pro photographer – on how they go about getting the shot. Here’s an excerpt from the pro – Fly Fishing Nation’s Stephan Gian Dombaj Jnr, perhaps the foremost proponent of kick-ass split shots around. For more, check out what the guide (Cameron Musgrave) and the amateur (Andre van Wyk), had to say. For more on the inimitable Mr Dombaj, check out our profile in issue 6.

Photo Stephan Dombaj

Dombaj says, “A proper split shot, combines three different elements, maybe even four.

  • A proper splitter, is never a horizontal clear water line. The split shot gives you the opportunity to be creative with various elements like no other hero shot can. A proper out of the water hero shot will never play with the waves or commotion in the water. So, don’t be boring and go for a straight line. You want a bit of chaos in there – the waves and the pattern of the waves add to the photo. It’s one of the massive advantages that you don’t have to split horizontally like most guys do these days. That is important. So you have air. Then you need to expose everything over the water perfectly and everything under the water perfectly.  That’s if you have fairly clear water and a white background. But then again, if you have a muddy water situation, it just adds to the whole scenario. Play with the water, get some commotion going, get some bubbles in there.

    Photo Stephan Dombaj

  • Another thing people need to consider when shooting fish is that the bigger the fish, the easier it is to shoot. Shooting trout or flimsy, little, nervous Jack-Russell-on-cocaine-type fish is terrible.

    Photo Stephan Dombaj

  • The focal point needs to be on the eye of the fish.
  • Then there’s also the whole ‘keep ’em wet’ movement (keepemwet.org) that’s pushing the whole industry in this direction. People need to keep the fish wet. A dripping wet fish is not good any more, they need to be underwater. It’s quite interesting stuff. I want to know what the next thing is.

Check out the rest of the story below: