Tuesday, September 2, 2014

In the News: The Great Tom Morgan


Tom Morgan is one of my favorite rod makers; beyond this, he is in an incredibly heroic figure. If you have not read the brilliant Wright Thompson's feature article on ESPN, you absolutely have to go do that. Now.

It's exciting that Morgan has been getting such excellent press of late. His new line of glass fly rods is beyond amazing, they are in fact about the nicest fly rods on the market today. This is why CBS News' Steve Hartman's visit with Morgan is so well received. I like Hartman and this is a nice piece.



-- Dr. Todd

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor and the Tackle Industry: A (Re)Post

Labor and the Fishing Tackle Industry

Today, the majority of us will celebrate the working man in America by watching a ball game, attending a fireworks celebration, or stuffing ourselves with burgers and hot dogs. I thought I would take a minute to reflect on the meaning of Labor Day as it concerns the history of fishing in America.

Labor Day had humble beginnings, being organized by the Central Labor Union and celebrated for the first time on Tuesday, 05 September 1882 in New York City. By 1884, the first Monday in September was chosen as the official Labor Day, and was soon widely emulated. The New York Times ran a detailed article on 07 September 1886 entitled "Parades in Other Cities: How Labor Day Was Observed by All Classes of Workmen." That year in New York City itself, 14,000 working men paraded before Mayor Grace. In 1894, it became an official federal holiday.


Labor Day Parade in Buffalo, NY, ca. 1900

The fishing tackle industry was largely built on the backs of the American working man and woman. It was one of the early industries to hire women in large numbers (almost all factory dressed flies were tied by women, and women predominated in the manufacture of fish hooks) and over the years offered gainful employment to hundreds of thousands of employees, American workers who built communities, raised families, and fought and died for their nation.

Mostly, these fishing tackle industry employees' names are lost to history. For every Charley Heddon or William Shakespeare, Jr., there were 100s of workers whose names we will never know but who designed, built, and packaged the tackle we use and collect. Fortunately, a few of their names and deeds have been preserved. People like Nettie Cruse, forewoman of the dressed fly division of Enterprise Manufacturing Co. of Akron, Ohio, who died tragically in the great fire that consumed the Pflueger factory in 1891. Louis Valentine, who worked from 1906-1958 assembling Pflueger reels by hand, and who was thought to have completed 500,000 Pflueger Supremes in his lifetime. Don Martin, who left his position on the factory line at Shakespeare to join the Marines in 1941 and died in the Pacific fighting at Tarawa. I bought some Shakespeare spinner blanks from Don's baby sister who remembered that he had the kindest eyes.


Anonymous Shakespeare worker assembling reels at the Kalamazoo, MI factory

Organized Labor and the fishing tackle industry had at times a difficult relationship. Pflueger underwent a series of turbulent strikes in the 1930s, caught up in the labor turmoil in Akron spawned at the great rubber factories like Goodyear and Firestone. Shakespeare and Heddon suffered violent strikes in the post-World War II era, and even smaller companies like The Sunset Line & Twine Co. in California had labor problems that made national news. But these were exceptions; the majority of tackle companies, big and small, had placid relationships between management and labor. In fact, in my interviews with former employees of Pflueger I conducted in preparation for my next volume of Pflueger essays, everyone I talked to had nothing but good things to say about working in the tackle factory. From what I know of Shakespeare, Heddon, and other companies, there was a similar sense of community elsewhere too.

So this Labor Day, in between trips to the cooler or during the seventh inning stretch, pause for a moment and reflect how even in your chosen hobby--whether it is researching fishing history or collecting fishing tackle--the fingerprints of the American working man and woman are everywhere. They built your fishing tackle, and they built your nation.

Have a safe and happy Labor Day.

-- Dr. Todd

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Art of the Lure with Elissa Ruddick: The Heddon “Wiggle King”




Introduced in 1918, Heddon’s No. 2000 “Wiggle King” would spark the creation of two of their most well known lures, the Lucky 13 in 1920 and the Basser in 1922. I suppose the "Wiggle King" could be considered the prototype for these two successors.

Since Heddon went to work refining their original “Wiggle King” so quickly after its introduction, it was a relatively short-lived lure on the production line. It came packaged in a unique fabric-covered-looking two piece cardboard box,which today appears gray from the natural patina to the paper, but I believe the original color was light blue denim. When the box top is removed from the box bottom, one can still see the blue tint where the elements have not taken such a toll. The darker “fabric lines” on the paper label are slightly raised, giving the illusion that the box is actually wrapped in denim fabric. Red lettering surrounded by an intricate red border, describes the lure inside, "The Wobble Makes ‘Em Gobble.”

If you have any questions/comments, Elissa Ruddick can be reached at elissaruddick AT aol DOT com.

-- Elissa Ruddick

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Friday Funhouse


The Video of the Week


This is a neat video tour of the Lamiglas factory



12 Things I Would Buy If Only I Could Afford Them

Wow. This Shakespeare Sigma baitcaster is going bananas.



This Hardy Tarantino glass fly rod is soooooo rare.



A set of three nice Wright & McGill steelhead rods are a nice find.



Love this Herter's Rolls fly reel.



I like this Coronado, even if it is a Montague and not a Penn.



Every few months a Bug-N-Bass sets the world on fire.



The Paw Paw Ice Fishing decoy is really cool.



Holy rare Jitterbugs, batman.



A 1917 CCBC Wiggler in an intro box is the best.



A 1931 Heddon catalog is pretty cool.



A Heddon Coast Minnow #2 is really cool.



Love the Paw Paw Platypus.



As always, have a great weekend, and be good to each other, and yourself.

-- Dr. Todd

Thursday, August 28, 2014

WARNING TO EVERYONE: Back up those Computer Files!!!!


I have suffered a catastrophic hard drive failure, it could potentially have wiped out several weeks worth of work and files (don't worry the Jitterbug book has already gone to press, but dangit if the Tom Mann book isn't caught up in all this). This is a warning to everyone here: BACK UP THOSE FILES! Many of us have articles, research, personal items, photos, etc. we would not want to lose. PLEASE BACK THEM UP! My last back up was three weeks ago, and now I face the possibility of losing nearly a month of work.

I am in data recovery mode now. I should be able to rescue the files but it may take another 3 days of work. So far I have lost two days, so best case scenario I will lose a whole week dealing with this.

BACK UP THOSE PICS AND FILES, FOLKS!!!!

-- Dr. Todd

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Spinning Reel Report with Ben Wright: August 2014


AUGUST 2014

NO SUMMER TIME BLUES FOR THE SPIN REEL COLLECTORS     !!!!

 Featured Reels :
A super rare German J P Schobel with chrome finish, some what like an
Illingworth no 3 exc++ with rectangular
rexine box. was listed with some hooks, a cork bobber, a couple metal
spinners and an unmarked fly reel.
it sold @ $ 6,124.53

A Seamaster Full Bail some wear sold @ $3,600.00

A rare German Triplex C first version exc- with a buy-it-now price @
1,061.21 with "NO BIDS"

More with high starting or buy-it-now prices with "NO BIDS"

Abu 222 first version repaint? @ 2,222.00
Alcedo 2C/S e+wb @ 274.00
Alcedo Omnia Minor exc @ 529.56
from Spain----
  La Dorada Chritin green w/anti-reverse slight wear @ 667.78
    "     "           "    Black with NO anti-reverse exc @ 400.00
Oliver later model exc-  389.00
Whirlaway Imperial 85 combo nib @ 495.00

A few Cut-a-Way's with "no bids"
Daiwa 7250 exc @ 84.41
    "      8300 exc @ 83.41
Mitchell 300 exc+ @ 166.83
     "        386 @ 166.83
     "        906 exc+ @ 166.83

these were bid on but DID NOT MEET THE RESERVE !
Abu Cardinal 55 cut-a-way bid to 135.50
Mitchell 300 tournament w/4 tier spool exc bid to 660.00
A neat Penn thermometer 15"high exc+ buy-now   @ 450.00 3 offers all
declinded

Some Reel Deals:
Airex Spinster MK V1 slight wear @ 10.50
Flo Line exc @ 56.01
Garcia Mitchell 306 ewb @ 23.04
 Herters 109A by Daiwa exc @ 7.06
Black Penn 710ewb @ 53.00
Zebco Omega 950L exc @ 18.00

More reels that did sell----------
Abu:
Cardinal 40 SS w/clear plaster side plate exc @ 200.00
      "        54 nib @ 118.07
      "       759 nib @ 126.77

Airex:
Feurer Bro's T-4 exc @ 43.75
      "        "  Spinster 417 exc+ @ 49.95
Mastereel no 2 slight wear @ 24.98

Dam Quick:
330N nib @ 67.26
440 nib @57.98
3000 nib @ 95.00

French:
Centaure Pacific ewb @ 52.99
Contact 400 black exc @ 169.99
Fario Touchtout exc @ 184.25
Snop no 1 exc- @ 150.59

German:
Sportex Ocean 55 nib @ 224.50

Heddon-- was some one selling some of their collection ?
112 cf ewb @ 26.00
180 cf ewb @ 20.50
185 cf nib @ 30.00
215 ewb @ 52.55
234 ewb @ 42.96
242 ewb @ 22.50
260 ewb @ 32.99
281 esc- @ 43.00
282ewb @ 46.00

Holliday By Zangi:
30 first version nib @ 131.28
60 ewb @ only 154.25

Japanese:
Cobra (orvis copy) exc- @ 29.00
Herters 63 e-wb @ 52.00
Tina Mite (micron copy) exc @ 123.38 wow

Italian:
Cargem Mignon UL exc @ 214.39
Cigno 4th version exc- @ 114.02
Nautilus B1 exc @107.63
Zangi Audax exc- @ 221.00
     "     Joker paint wear @ 132.50

Mitchell:
Sport 300 pro arca exc+ @ 270.50
common 301 nib @ 151.06
300A w/after market tournament spool exc @ 169.33

Penn:
704 first version e+wb @ 178.53
710 green nib @ 77.00
713 nib @ 140.0
722 second version exc @ 79.99

Spain:
Aimsa Super Caster w/MPU exc- @223.23

Waltco NY-O-LITE -----
green/white exc- @ 9.99
maroon/white exc @14.69
       "         "  nib @ 43.22

Zebco:
202 red/white exc  @ 38.50
   "    "        "       :     @ 50.00
202 sold by Old Pal exc- @ 128.50 w/old pal decal
Zebco one Classic w/royal bee battery system like new w/box & pouch @ 177.50
Cardinal 4 4th version nib @ 205.00

Fall is in the air !!
Ben


Monday, August 25, 2014

In the News: U.S. Fish & Wildlife's Facebook Page


We are big fans of Eddies magazine around here, but I bet you didn't know that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service runs a very active Facebook page. In fact, they are currently running the Ugliest Tackle Box contest, and I am betting some of you out there have a potential winning entry!



The site also runs a Throwback Thursday in which they discuss fish hatchery and fisheries history. All in all, it is well worth your time checking them out!

-- Dr. Todd

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Art of the Lure with Elissa Ruddick: Kurz Buck Skin Bait


Life-Like. Effective. Durable. Scientifically Balanced.

Wait a minute……..”Scientifically Balanced”? That sounds like a commercial for dog food! And I suppose if you removed the weighted hook, the Kurz Buck Skin Bait could be food for dogs, as these lures were made from actual rawhide. According to the box paper insert, they used “Strong, raw calf or buckskin, treated under a special formula so that it will soften in cold water to produce the effect and touch of a living fish -- that is the idea behind KURZ BUCK SKIN BAIT”



These “Scientifically Balanced” Buck Skin lures were made by Kurz Bros. Co. in Chicago, Illinois beginning in about 1916, and were produced in three sizes; No. 6 (No. 6 Hollow Point Sproat Hook – Length 1-7/8 in. Weight 1/12 oz.) Junior Buck Skin Minnow for fly rod casting – Bass, Trout, Croppies, etc., No. 40 (4/0 Hollow Point Sproat Hook – Length 3-1/2 in. Weight ¾ oz.) Buck Skin Minnow for Bass, Pike, etc., and No. 80 (8/0 O’Shaughnessy Hollow Point Hook – Length 7 in. Weight 2 oz.) Buck Skin Sucker for Muskies, Salmon, Lake Trout and Salt Water Fishing.

The lures were made from a single piece of rawhide that was artfully carved to form a life-like fish shape when folded in half from the top, and were hand painted with life-like fish colors. A single rivet formed the eyes, which held pieces of rawhide that were folded back from the bottom in place to create a natural looking face with gill plates. The single rivet not only created the eyes, but also served to help keep the hook in the correct position and to hold the lure together. A belly-shaped weight, painted red, was attached to the bottom of the hook shank that kept the lure upright and the hook in the correct position. The box paper describes it as such, “By a scientific balance arrangement, KURZ BUCK SKIN BAITS ride with a never-failing natural motion.” So that’s what they meant by “Scientifically Balanced”!

If you have any questions/comments, Elissa Ruddick can be reached at elissaruddick AT aol DOT com.

-- Elissa Ruddick

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Friday Funhouse


The Video of the Week

Theres always a bigger fish … watch this four foot shark get eaten in one bite by a Goliath Grouper.



12 Things I Would Buy If Only I Could Afford Them

This Manitou Minnow is pretty sweet.



A Heddon Artistic Minnow in the box is attracting a lot of interest.



Instant collection alert: River Runt Spooks.



Love these Staley-Johnsons in the box.



Russ Peak made the finest glass rods of all time.



I've never seen the Little Bo before, but it's a cool bait.



This Odon Dragonfly is a bizarre lure.



This South Bend Vacuum Bait is great.



This CCBC Wiggler in the box is incredible.



Love this Heddon Spoony Frog in the box.



Finally, in honor of Sam Van Camp's forthcoming Fred Arbogast Jitterbug Collector's Guide from The Whitefish Press … here are two rare 'bugs.

The Blue Head/White 'bug is always in demand.



This bird 'bug is also a great find in plastic.



As always, have a great weekend, and be nice to each other -- and especially yourself.

-- Dr. Todd

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Rare Paw Paw Piece


Every year Doug Bucha helps set up the Niles Riverfest antique tackle display, and every year he sends in amazing photos. This one may take the cake. Doug writes:  "This is the most interesting historical item to come into this years Niles Riverfest. It was brought in by the son of a man who designed and build advertising layouts for Shakespeare and others. I think you will enjoy this. Picture from: Mike Kechkaylo."



Oh. Yes. It is an incredible piece, and we appreciate you sharing it with us!

-- Dr. Todd

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Dr. Todd Attends a Tackle Auction


For whatever reason, I never attend auctions. I'm not talking about the on-line varieties like Lang's and Crossroads, which I generally enjoy and participate in regularly. No, I am talking about the local auctions that occasionally feature fishing tackle. There's just something depressing to me about bidding on things you want, losing, and watching someone else walk away with the item in front of you. At least when I lose an item on eBay I'm not forced to watch it taken away like a spoil of war.

But when I got the flyer from a local auctioneer about the estate of Raymond Crowe, a former ORCA member, I figured I had to attend. I knew Ray in passing (I believe he was a former Coast Guard guy) but hadn't seen or heard from him since around 2007. I knew him to be a pack rat, and sure enough the flyer discussed over 500 reels, dozens of full tackle boxes, etc. Lots and lots of tackle, including 34 outstanding Kentucky and Kentucky-style reels.

I called my friend Buck on the phone and we decided to drive over together. Buck's literally an expert on auctions, and attends several a month. He's always showing me unbelievably rare items he's picked up for $10 at some auction in the middle of nowhere. I tell him every time I attend an auction, I'm sitting between Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, both of whom have decided they want the exact items I want.

I know I can't afford the Meek #4 and other rare reels, so I concentrate on trying to pick up one good reel. Today I have my sights set on a Talbot. I don't have one and would like a nice, honest, original Talbot to put in my collection. There are five Talbots in this auction so I have five chances, I figure, to be disappointed.

We head out early on Saturday morning and make the 75 mile drive to Madison, Indiana, where the local auctioneer Mike Taylor will be holding the auction at the Jefferson County 4H Fairgrounds. It's not the best labeled place I've ever been, and we blissfully drive right on by the first time before realizing that we've gone to far. We arrive about an hour and a half before the auction begins and only see about ten cars. Will this be my lucky day? Will I be returning home today like a pirate pillaging a helpless village?

I walk on to the auction floor and the first people I see are all ORCA members. In fact, there are so many ORCA members that it's like a mini show. I run into Bill Muth, who's here to check out all the Horton Bristol reels, and Carl Schaum, who I figure is looking for Indiana reels. Soon I meet and greet fellow ORCAns Randy Anderson, Jerry Schemechko, Willis Logan, Jerry Soete, Neil Kauffman, Mike Hines and Doug Carpenter, among many others. Some have come from as far away as Oklahoma and Wisconsin.

It's really refreshing to see so many friendly faces, even if it means there will be no bargains today.

I preview the auction with Buckley and see a lot of interesting reels, but only a few that I'm going to set my sights on. Believe it or not one of the reels I'm most interested in getting is a Union Hardware "Samson" take-apart reel marked Horrocks-Ibbotson. I have five different versions of the Samson and this is one that has eluded me. It's not a high value item but I'd be very happy to add it to my collection. I also see a couple other items I'd like to get.

The auction flyer did not lie. There is tackle literally everywhere – tackle boxes, fishing rods, lures, minnow buckets, etc. are overflowing from every crevasse. From a 16/0 Fin-Nor to a palate of Heddon Sonics, there is something for everyone. By the time the auction is set to begin, there are about 75 people in attendance, split pretty much 50-50 between locals and ORCA members. Ray Crowe's estate will do pretty darn well.















The auctioneer Mike Taylor precedes the auction with a commentary. He says in his forty years of auctioneering, he has never (and he emphasized never with "not once") come across a more helpful organization than ORCA. He literally heaped praise on the Old Reel Collector's Association, and it made me feel good how many members stepped up to help him and to publicize the auction on short notice (he had a very limited time to clean out the estate and get the sale ready).

The auction begins with non-tackle items and there is a palpable sense of disappointment in the air. Not for Buckley, though, as he has a series of booths at an antique mall and is very knowledgable on all kinds of antiques. He's picking up bargains left and right while the reel collectors are throwing all kinds of side eyes at the auctioneering, ready to get into the tackle.

The auctioneer makes a bold choice by starting with the rods first. There's some nice rods in hindsight I probably should have bid on, including a really rare Harnell black spun glass fly rod, but the only one I bid on is a Tracey-Wells trade spinning rod. I drop out at $20. It's too early to get crazy, even if it is a cool rod.



The first big reel to come up is the Fin-Nor 16/0 and it brings a healthy price. It's a sign that there will not be a ton of bargains today. The rods don't bring a high price, though, and a couple sell well below their actual value (the best being a really nice Browning Magnum bait casting rod which went for nearly nothing).



The reels come up in huge table fulls and it is "choice" bidding, meaning the high bidder gets to pick as many reels as they want off the table. The first bidder is in at around $90 and plucks off a couple of nice reels, and the number slowly declines as the pile of reels gets smaller. Buckley jumps in and picks up two very, very rare spinning reels in boxes at about half their value. Maybe there will be some bargains after all …



I look over the pile remaining and see the one reel I wanted still there, so I join the bidding. I drop out at 40 but the guy doesn't choose my reel. I'm back in again, but for some inexplicable reason the bidding goes up to 60. Weird. This guy also chooses another reel from the one I want. I bid again, and lo and behold, I win at 40. I quickly pluck the minty L.W. Holmes fly reel in a leather bag from the table and show the auctioneer my number. If I am patient, I could pick this reel up in this condition for $60-$70 on eBay, so I come out ahead. I'm going to fish this reel. Buckley tells me I've done good, so I'm happy.

Two or three tables full of stuff go quickly to the rabid collectors in attendance, but I refrain from bidding as although there are many nice reels, I am holding all my cash to take a run at a Talbot. Besides, I'm not a good reseller. I buy reels to resell, take them home, start to like them, and … well, that's how you get a basement full of reels.

About an hour in I am staring at a reduced pile of reels, when I see a rather amazing sight. An item I figured would have gone for $100 on choice is still on the table. I impulsively decide that although it wasn't something I marked, I'm going to try and pick it up. I get in at the bidding and there is not much interest left. I win at $25, and cackle as I take away a Heddon Spin Pal first model box. I am sure people were put off by the fact that the wrong reel was in the box, but the first generation boxes are super, super rare. I know I can pick up the proper reel for about $25, and Ben Wright has the combo going for $200+ on numerous occasions, so I know I've done well. Neil Kauffman, who has the best collection of Heddon reels this side of anywhere, says I have done very, very well.

I do the same thing again when I see an item I was sure would be gone sitting on the table. It's an Airex Spinster Deluxe kit, and I jump in impulsively and excited by the auction atmosphere, keep bidding beyond where I should have. I end up going $20 over what I wanted to, and pick up the combo. The main reason I wanted it was that it has a Sears sticker on the side of the Mark 5 Bache Brown reel, which I've never seen before. Afterward, Bob Halver the Airex expert tells me it's only the second Airex "trade" reel sticker he's seen, so although I probably overpaid for the set I did get a rare if not very desirable trade reel for my collection.

Finally, the table lot with the Samson Utica reel comes out and is quickly depleted by bidders. Not surprisingly, the Samson is still there. I don't want to pay a lot for this reel, and am afraid the auctioneer will drop the ball and auction the remainders off in one lot. But I get a lucky bid accepted at $15 – I think the only time the auctioneer dropped below $20 on choice all day – and come home with it. I am very happy.

The heavy hitters come out next. A hush comes over the place as the Meek #2 hits the auction block it comes in at $900, which is a solid place. The Crowe estate is going to do well today. I had the pleasure of having Talbot expert Randy Anderson help me to identify which Talbot reel to go after; it's #28 on the list so I have some waiting to do. A nice Talbot #3 ($1100) is followed by a B.C. Milam Frankfort #4 ($900) and Talbot Niangua ($700) and B.F. Meek & Sons #3 ($700). A Meek #3 Freespool ($675), Talbot Niangua ($350), and a B.F. Meek & Sons #25 Louisville ($450) hit the gavel before the first big surprise.



It's a Kentucky Line Dryer in a two-piece box from Shelbyville, Kentucky, and I am a bit shocked it goes for $500. A Meek & Sons #25 ($300), Horton Meek #4 ($375), B.F. Meek & Sons #4 ($350), Bluegrass Reel Works #3 ($700), and Bluegrass Reel Works #4 ($600) finish. One of the best reels in the auction, a B.F. Meek & Sons serial number #2039 ends at $700. It's a nice deal.



The belle of the ball comes up in the form of a Talbot #2 (Serial #145) tournament special. It has the tournament handle but also the original handle. It attracts a lot of interest before ending at $2300. The new owner is happy and deservedly so – it's a rare, rare reel and a great buy. I'm very happy for him.

More reels hit the gavel: Milam & Son Rustic ($150), Meek Bluegrass #33 ($125), Meek Horton #3 ($200), B.C. Milam #3 ($400), Meel Bluegrass Reel Works #3 ($300), Bluegrass Reel Works #3 ($275), Bluegrass Reel Works #3 Jeweled ($400), South Bend 1131A ($75), a B.F. Meek #5 ($900), and somewhat surprisingly, a Gayle brass fly reel for $125.



It's time. Lot #28 comes up, my German Silver Talbot Star. The bidding starts at $50 and I'm in from the beginning. By $100 it's me and one other bidder. I have silently told myself I won't go past my predetermined limit for it, and my heart begins sinking as it begins to reach that number quickly. The bidder in the back goes right to the edge of my limit. I sit and think for a second before raising the bid $10. Nervous silence … and it's mine! I ended up paying about retail for it, but unlike eBay I was able to hold this one in my hands, and have it checked out by others, too. It's all original which is important to me, and runs like a fine watch. I am super happy.

After a weird Pflueger Skilcast ($45) is sold, we come to the most interesting reel of the Crowe collection. It is a tournament casting reel that has everyone baffled. I spend a lot of time looking it over, and conclude it has the end plate of a Meek bait casting reel, but the front plate and internals are familiar but not easily placed. It's clearly been put together by a supremely talented reel maker. I figured it would bring $200 but the bidding pushes it to $650 before the lucky winner gets it. I get a chance to see it again and while kibitzing Neil Kauffman exclaims, "This is an early Jack Welch!" He's absolutely right, of course. It all falls into place. There was something very familiar about the workings of the front plate, and as Neil points out all the Heddon hallmarks it becomes clear this is a reel made by Welch after he left Meek for Heddon (and took a bunch of parts with him), which explains the Meek end plate. The lucky buyer (you make your own luck in this game, folks) has gotten the true bargain of this auction. It's just an incredible reel, and I'm super happy for him for recognizing the quality before the identification came through. Properly identified, who knows what this would have brought?

We end this auction with a Talbot Star with the wrong handle ($200), a Meek #2 ($350), two tiny Dillenders from Lexington ($60 each) and a Bourne & Bond in an unmarked box ($90). All in all not a bad day.

I get up to pay for my four items and am very happy. I got my Talbot, got a chance to spend the morning with a bunch of old friends, and got to see Ray Crowe's estate do well with his tackle. Not a bad auction after all!

-- Dr. Todd

Monday, August 18, 2014

In the News: A Museum Display of Tackle


I am always excited when any museum puts a display of vintage fishing and tackle items on display. Thus when I get a news alert like this one for the Morristown Gateway Museum of New York I am excited. Organized by museum trustee Gary R. Alford, he put the display together because he "believes that the antique fishing gear demonstrates the creativity, craftsmanship and culture of the region, with many of the lures being everyday items in a fishing tackle box 100 years ago."



To read more about it you can click here and here. Anyone who gets a chance to visit, please drop us a note!

-- Dr. Todd

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday at the Beach with Dr. Todd E.A. Larson: The Bobbit Worm




Is there anything more full of wonder than a child at the beach? Underneath the waves is an entire world waiting to be discovered. Join us every Sunday for a day at the beach, and learn more about the aquatic world!

The water world is a brutal one; every angler has a story about how they have pulled a small fish toward the boat only to have it struck by a larger one on the way in. It's a fish-eat-fish world out there.

It's also a worm-eat-fish world, too. Enter the Bobbit Worm, a nasty ocean bottom dweller that grows to NINE FEET in length and with a mouth so powerful it can snap a fish in half. And it's a better angler than you are!



It's a monster from a science fiction tale, that's for sure. In 2009, a British marine museum was alarmed by the disappearance of fish and the fact that coral was being sliced in half. They could not find the culprit, so they drained the tank and started to dismantle it when they ran across this:



A Bobbit Worm (only four feet long). They named it Barry, which seems oddly appropriate for a killer fish-eating worm. Anyway, you can read more about the Bobbit Worm by googling its Latin name Eunice aphroditois. And try not to have nightmares when thinking about it!

-- Dr. Todd

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Art of the Lure with Elissa Ruddick: Redin Minnow


James “Jim” L. Donaly, from Newark, New Jersey, applied for a patent for his “Redfin” Minnow on January 7, 1911, and patent number 1,093,980 was granted to him for the “Redfin” on April 21, 1914. Although the patent was not granted until 1914, Donaly made and sold them as early as 1912, and most probably even before.



The “Redfin” Minnows were adorned with three small rounded triangular-shaped metal flasher blades, usually made from aluminum and sometimes brass, that were strategically placed on the front (as a weedless feature), and on the rear and the underside of the lure to mimic tail and anal fins. The 3-1/4”, ¾ ounce “Redfin” Minnow could be ordered with treble hooks or with a “Jersey style” three-point hook configuration. Sporting beautiful round glass eyes that were set inside the dished out face, the wooden bodied “Redfin” Minnows were available in three brushed-on-by-hand paint colors; No. 27, white body with red band; No. 37, green back with white belly; and No. 47, white body with red stripes. The two piece cardboard boxes that the “Redfin” Minnows were packaged in show a beautiful drawing of the lure, depicting a pointier fish-shaped body more closely resembling the original patent drawing than the rounder faced lures that Donaly actually produced.

From ingenuity, to the drawing board, to the end product, the “Redfin” Minnows are true hand-made folk art lures that were designed and produced by Jim, then hand painted by his wife and daughter, and then each assembled by Jim inside their family home. It is really cool to think that the lure in this photo, as well as every other “Redfin” Minnow, was actually hand-made by the inventor, James L. Donaly. Now that’s quality control at its finest!

If you have any questions/comments, Elissa Ruddick can be reached at elissaruddick AT aol DOT com.

-- Elissa Ruddick