News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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May 27, 2008

Wood sculptor Jim Bekkering impresses with oversized fishing lures

TERRE HAUTE — How do you hook a two-legged, language-speaking, air-breathing human being using a fish lure without accidentally snaring the he- or she-creature due to an errant cast?

Wood sculptor Jim Bekkering’s approach to human being catching is similar to a wizened good ole boy prowling a bass pond in a 12-foot john boat at twilight when the fish are feeding. He hopes to grab his prey’s attention so powerfully that a lunker will strike at his lure with wild abandon.

Perhaps the biggest — yes, the biggest — difference between Bekkering lures and those of canny bass masters is that he angles with three-foot-long Rooster Tails and Rattle Traps big enough for Paul Bunyan or Goliath to use as spin cast bait to catch Moby Dick. Maybe a once-in-a-lifetime cast of a Brobdingnagian Bekkering lure by either of these characters could land the Loch Ness monster!

Bekkering polishes his human being lures to a high gloss in the wood studio behind his home in Clinton. All are modeled after legendary bass-catching lures found in sporting goods stores. But when he makes his casts, it is not in the direction of a lily pad or into a shady pond cove snuggled beneath an overhanging leafy branch.

Instead, he sends lures flying into intriguing nooks where people creatures are known to congregate in the twilight drinking wine: art galleries such as Terre Haute’s Halcyon Gallery by the Swope Art Museum on South Seventh Street as well as promising shady cove galleries in Hot Springs, Ark.; New Orleans and Monroe City, La.; and Munster in Indiana.

One person Bekkering hooked was ESPN’s Jerry McGinnis, who once ran a feature on his ESPN 2 Outdoors show about Bekkering’s unique lures.

“People loved looking at Jim’s fish lures when they came into my gallery and saw them when he displayed here with Jack Gates in April,” said Halcyon proprietress Petra Nyendick. “’They’re so big!’ is a comment I often heard. What most surprised people when they examined them closely is that they were all wood, including the hooks, which look metallic.”

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