Human Flower Project

Fishing with a Plastic Mimosa

Fly-fishing will never be the same in Costa Rica, as Peter Gorinsky masters the art of tying floral lures.

imageMachaca caught

with a floral fly

Rio Niño, Costa Rica

Photo: Peter Gorinsky

Costa Rica’s shiny machaca sure looks like a cannibal. And for all we know about fishing (nada), it may be – but January through March, when the jacaranda trees, mimosas and others bloom along Rio Niño, this toothy fish goes vegan –  it prefers flowers to flesh.

We were thrilled to find James Proseck’s article several weeks back in the Sports section of the New York Times (not usually good trolling for human-flower stories). Proseck described a fly-fishing trip in Costa Rica with guide Peter Gorinsky, who this spring began making flowery flies as lures.

“Gorinsky dropped the anchor and pointed to a shaded spot against the bank,” Proseck recounts. “One could see fish’s mouths poking out of the water to take the drifting flowers. In some cases, the fish were eating the flowers with forceful and splashy abandon.”


Fly-fishing in flower season, Rio Niño, Costa Rica

Photo: Peter Gorinsky

We’d never realized there was such an abundance of early flowering trees in Costa Rica! Proseck mentions roble de sabana, corteza (Tabebuia ochracea), and mimosa.  Gorinsky’s own website also names caroba, cedro, and laurel. And this source lists many more.

A native of Guyana, Gorinsky has fished in Costa Rica for 35 years but never tried flies shaped as flowers until this spring. He makes these lures mainly from plastic dust brooms. Rounded, bristly and bright, they especially resemble mimosa flowers.


Mimosa blossom in Costa Rica

Photo: Lisa Thalhimer/Zoom in Tight

Gorinsky says that fishing with faux flowers is different from using ordinary flies. He advises that they shouldn’t be dragged across the water but left to float, the better to mimmick newly fallen blossoms.

Proseck tossed out his line with a pink flower fly. “I cast it into the eddy. It took a few casts to get the right drift… The first machaca I hooked leapt into the air several times, flashing its silvery sides in the strong morning sun. Leading it into the net, I held it in my hand, a nice four-pound fish with sharp serrated teeth.”


Peter Gorinsky’s flies mimmick Costa Rica’s tree-flowers

Photo: Peter Gorinsky

Gorinsky says the machaca (like photographers and bakers) are especially active in the early morning. “Later in the day, the flowers are drier and hold less nutrients.” By April, the trees have dropped their flowers, and the fish know better than to bite for imitations.

Peter is otherwise occupied too. He kindly wrote to us, “At present the fishing is out of action, because of the rainy season and flooded rivers. Nothing will be possible until maybe next February.” So what does a fly-tying pioneer and fishing guide do in the off season? Lots …including undertake another human flower project. He writes that he is “establishing a new greenhouse to house my special orchids. This also demands a lot of patience getting them settled into their new situation.”

Surely world-class inventiveness and powers of perception will succeed here, too, Peter. Thank you so much for permitting us to scoop the Times, with a photo of your floral flies.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 07/28 at 04:15 PM


Finding this story in the sports section foregrounds the pervasive nature of the “human-flower” link.

Posted by Georgia on 07/29 at 11:15 AM
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