Explore fly fishing’s greatest lure at Cleveland natural history museum

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CLEVELAND – If Bing Crosby, Ernest Hemingway, Winslow Homer and Babe Ruth were alive today, they would all attest to their love of fly fishing – a popular outdoors, connected-to-Mother-Nature sport.

Fly fishing experts and amateurs will also attest that it is an art, sport, craft, philosophy, literature, science and conservation all rolled into one activity.

The exhibition Anglers All: Humanity in Midstream at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History explores the many facets of this intriguing pastime. The exhibition runs through Jan. 13, 2003.

Not so simple. Fly fishing seems simple enough when in reality it is anything but. The intricate reel mechanisms, light weight rods and synthetic textiles essential to the practice of the sport are feats of engineering.

Physics comes into play – in particular the laws of motion, velocity and aerodynamics. And entomology, aquatic and terrestrial ecology and ichthyology underlie the entire sport.

The exhibition, produced by the American Museum of Fly Fishing in Vermont, features 440 artifacts and captures the 2,000-year-old pursuit in a dynamic format designed to enlighten and entertain visitors.

Anglers All is divided in five sections: an introductory history timeline, followed by fly, rod, reel and people sections.

In the rod section, for example, visitors can view a 14-minute video of Everett Garrison building a bamboo rod. Garrison, a mechanical engineer, built nearly 600 bamboo rods, which are among the most sought-after by collectors.

This section also has a rod builder’s bench display with tools of famous rod builders through the years. Sixty fishing reels are highlighted in this section.

Presidents’ tackle. The people section features the fishing tackle and other memorabilia of seven United States presidents as well as items highlighting the fly-fishing life of famous anglers such as Bing Crosby, Ernest Hemingway, Winslow Homer and Babe Ruth.

Works of art by some of the country’s foremost sporting artists of the last 200 years are interspersed throughout the exhibition.

Anglers All sheds light on what might be fly fishing’s greatest lure: the chance to experience the natural world first hand and understand the underwater realms the fly rod and line can connect us to.

Details. The local sponsor of the exhibit is the Trout Club, a museum-associated society.

The Trout Club, which meets at the museum for a dinner, meeting and fly fishing related presentation on the third Wednesday of each month, is a resource for those interested in fly fishing. Outings are also planned.

For information on this group and how to become a member, call 216-231-4600, ext. 278.

The exhibition is free with museum admission: $6.50 adults; $4.50 ages 7-18, college students with IDs and senior citizens; and $3.50 children 3-6 years old.

For more information, call 216-231-4600 or 800-317-9155 or visit www.cmnh.org.

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