fishing for words

(and tossing out random thoughts)

Mother Nature wants us to fish

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On the heels of the old-is-new-again “wild salmon” movement comes the rediscovery of “natural hooks.” It appears that Mother Nature wants us to fish.

On the Juneau Empire (Alaska) newspaper’s JuneauEmpire.com, an interesting little article travels the West to tell the tale of a Dr. Bob Bosworth, a retired physician and fly fisherman living in Denver, Colo., who ties flies on hook-shaped spines plucked from Fish Hook Barrel Cacti growing in Arizona…

Look closely, these are no ordinary flies.

It’s not metal, or wood. Not cast or carved. It’s cactus. And these flies have caught fish.

It’s not metal, or wood. Not cast or carved. It’s cactus. And these flies have caught fish.

One might notice the hand-tied details, the tiny imperfections in the hackle or the individual wrappings of thread. One might even recognize the common imitation stonefly pattern, but it’s unlikely the hook will get a second glance.

It’s an innovation from the tying table of Dr. Bob Bosworth, a retired physician and fly fisherman living in Denver, CO.

And the flies have the local fly fishing club, the Raincountry Flyfishers, talking. Bosworth’s son, Rob, recently presented these flies at a meeting in December. Jaws dropped and the questions came in.

“I’ve been tying flies for over 50 years and I’ve never seen or heard (about) anything like this,” President Tony Soltys said. “I was amazed that someone would do that, and I wanted to know why.”

Soltys wasn’t the only one interested. In fact, at the club’s upcoming meeting, which will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 20, a “tie-off” will determine which club member get to take home one of these “cactus flies.”

Fittingly, their journey began thirty years ago in the southern deserts of Arizona. Bosworth remembers clipping some hook-shaped spines from an aptly named Fish Hook Barrel Cactus growing in the backyard of a friend living in Tucson, Arizona.   Read more…

With these hooks fly fishermen could soon stake out an environmentally friendly high ground. I can see it now…flies tied with natural bird and animal fibers on natural hooks, bamboo rods, all cotton vests…a return to using silk fly lines…then eventually ditch the wading boots for flip-flops and the waders for Speedos.

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