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The Oconomowoc



'The Oconomowoc' originated by Dr James A. Henshall - a man who kept a reel inside a pill bag and hes flies inside a prescription book. | Born on February 29, 1836 in Baltimore, Henshall grew up loving water — "from the babbling brook, or the unruffled surface of a moonlit lake to the wild, tempestuous seas of a Florida hurricane."Henshall's first fishing experiences were on a small brook in suburban Baltimore when he was seven years old. Sunfish and chubs were his first quarry, and he caught them fly fishing, casting artificial flies at the end of a "willow wand." Whilell still a teen, he began making his own fishing rods. Later Henshall decided to study medicine and In May of 1859, he received his medical degree and opened an office in Cincinnati. But Henshall never stopped fishing. He found it a pleasant diversion from his work as a surgeon and the bustle of the city.⠀ In 1867 he moved to Milwaukee, where he enjoyed bass and other fishing in numerous lakes and streams, eventually building a home on the empty shores of Pewaukee Lake, near Oconomowoc, Wis. He created this fly in 1872 and named it after the city and lake, upon who's shores the city was founded. ⠀ There he served on the town council and was elected to serve as the city's first mayor, whilest still working as a doctor. Legend has it that Henshall combined fishing with house calls during his years as a practicing physician. He carried a buggy whip that doubled as a fishing rod or hid a jointed fly rod in an umbrella. He was also known to keep a few flies in his pockets or in a prescription book. His pill bag concealed a reel.⠀ Material list: vintage hook, threads and ribbing from semperfli flytying, seals fur for the tail, and grouse for wings and hackle. The pattern is based on the recipe Henshall gives in his Book of the Black Bass. Although Henshall doesn't mention a ribbing in his book, the plate in Favorite Flies and Their Histories shows a rib that matches the tail coloring and a red head, perhaps gold?

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