By Gaige Davila
“I never wanted to be a photographer,” Capt. Danno Wise said, during a signing event for his book, “Fishing for Photographs” at Laguna Bobs on the Island. But with the success of this book, the captain, Port Isabel High School history teacher, and freelance writer is, inadvertently, now a photographer.
“Fishing for Photographs,” published on Feb. 18, is Wise’s most recent self publication. His last two books, “Danno Wise’s Tips for Fishing the Texas Coast,” and “Coastal Fly Fishing Quick Start Guide,” were self-published in 2012. “Fishing for Photographs,” however, is a photography book, in what Wise calls an attempt to see South Texas fishing in a new way.
Wise, who has been writing for state and national outdoor magazines and newspapers since 1995, said publications wanted both written and photographic content from him as years went on. Wise started taking photographs to accompany his articles, but found the “grip and grin” style of fishing photos boring.
Around five years ago, Wise began taking photographs of catches in an unconventional way.
“At the time, I didn’t know if the magazines would even run it,” Wise said. “Instead of showing the whole fish, we were showing the head or the tail and different angles.”
The magazines enjoyed the photos, as did locals, pushing Wise to make a photography book. The success, Wise said, was unexpected, particularly its spending a full week as #1 in Amazon’s Lifestyle Photography best seller list.
“Where we’re at allows me to do this,” Wise explained of his split-level shots showing fish both below and above the Laguna Madre’s shallow, clear water. “You can’t do that anywhere else in Texas.”
Wise’s camera equipment is, surprisingly, not complicated, using “ancient” Canon DSLR camera bodies, GoPro mounted cameras and lens attachments for his iPhone.
“I buy really cheap bodies, because I’m in the water, and I might drop (the camera) at any minute,” Wise said. “But at the end of the day, we end up with some pretty good stuff, because of the way we’re doing it.”
Wise isn’t done, though. The second volume of Fishing for Photographs will be released after Thanksgiving, Wise said, along with two calendars featuring sunrise and sunset photos and fishing photography.
Wise’s books can be purchased online via Amazon.