I've been noticing a trend lately.

Hookless flies.

At first I didn't get it. And I must admit it seemed very strange, but now I think I understand. This may be the wave of the future and could save our sport.

The concept, as I understand it, is to fish flies without hooks. This accomplishes several worthwhile goals. No fish get 'hurt'; with all the hoopla surrounding blood sports lately, this may save us from the 'antis' and yet still allow us to pursue our favorite pastime.

It's simple, really. Few of us actually want to keep and eat the fish. We are just there for the excitement of the chase. So, leaving out the hook lets us stalk our prey, present our offering, and receive the positive feedback and excitement of the strike, without harm to the quarry.

Also, we can eliminate dealing with fish slime, trying to remove hooks, and worrying about reviving tired fish. We simply count each strike as a win, and keep fishing.

Expensive stocking programs would no longer be needed. AND, all the worry about overfishing and managing our declining wild populations of fish would be eliminated.

The cost of fly tying would also be lowered, of course. Good hooks have become increasingly expensive. You can tie hookless flies on cheap pieces of bent wire, head pins from the jewelry making section of the craft store, even cut up safety pins.

Tippet strength would no longer be an issue. You could fish incredibly light and virtually invisible lines, thus increasing your odds of that adrenalin causing strike.

Rods could be lighter. The only consideration would be the weather conditions and the size of your flies. It's much more fun to fish with as light a rod as possible.

It would save quite a bit of money on gear. No drags needed would mean reels would be much cheaper. You would not need a net, de hookers, creels, who knows. Probably could get away with fewer rods, too.

All in all, I think this is where the sport is headed. Some short sighted folks will baulk, but eventually everyone will see the beauty and simplicity of the concept.

Who'll join me in this?