NOT long before I left Tasmania 17 years ago I visited one of my heros, the publisher of Flylife Magazine, doctor of freshwater biology, author and sightfisher nonpareil Rob Sloan at his home on the banks of the Coal River.
Amidst other things we discussed over coffee was his daily studies of the brown trout which lived in the willow shrouded pools adjacent to his home. He fished a single dry fly with the hook point removed figuring a regular pricking was something akin to torment and more stress than these fish could handle.
Personally I’ve always felt the moment between take and hookup was the quintessential moment, but would that moment still exist without the possibility of coming tight to a fish.
I’ve fished “Hookless in Oklahoma” in the Bass Pro striper tanks, an exercise as pointless as Oklahoma beer, and similarly for trout, though not with any forethought or deliberation.
Indeed it may be every fly fisher’s worst nightmare to be on the hot hatch of a lifetime and unknowingly knock the point off a hook.
So while I might have, in some circumstance some sympathy for the argument posed by Brian J. Cantwell writing in the Seattle Times I sincerely doubt it will catch on.
The sport, or art, or however you regard it, is in reading the river, thinking like a hungry trout, and maneuvering the well-chosen hand-tied fly on the end of a whirling line and depositing it where a fish is ready to strike.Hooking and reeling in the fish is material only if you plan on eating it, which most anglers don’t these days.
So why not fish with hookless flies?