Friday, January 19, 2018

The Friday Funhouse

The Video of the Week

If you have about 50 minutes you need to watch this beautiful movie by James Prosek, as he retraces the steps of Izaak Walton. Really well done.

10 Thing I Would Buy If Only I Could Afford Them

This 1930s Wilson fly rod from Oregon is very rare.

Well this Rick Clunn belt buckle is a super cool piece of bass fishing history!

You don't see many glass fly rods reach this high of a level like this Payne Glass.

Of the contemporary makers, is there a classier maker than Jan Cummings?

This Clark Bros. Make-Em-Bite is a classy bait.

This Rhodes Kalamazoo 3-Hook Minnow is amazing.

LOVE this Paw Paw Crippled Minnow, such a pretty bait!

Edward vom Hofe 9/0 Model #621 is a great add to an ocean reel collection.

This is a very nice and early Heddon 150.

You don't see many of these Valentine fly reels around, but they are cool and pretty rare.

This Winchester 9205 is a nice find.

A CCBC Fintail in the box with papers? Hell yeah!

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

-- Dr. Todd

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Sneak Peek At the Upcoming FISHING FOR HISTORY Magazine!

Here’s a sneak peak … of the relaunch of the Fishing for History Magazine! Here’s a look at the contents in this issue (adding more every day). Going live February 15!

Bill Sonnett on Virgil Ward’s First Bait • Matt Lollman on Bert Winnie’s Stump Dodger • Tom DeLong on the Fuerer Bros. #202 Flip Reel • Dixie Carroll on Joe • Dr. John Elder on the First Big Game Cradle Reel • John Etchieson on Abbey & Imbrie’s Earliest Fly Line • Finn Featherfurd on Newspaper Tackle Ads • Michael Hackney on the World’s First 3D Printed Spinning Reel • Dr. Todd E.A. Larson on Part One of a Corporate History of James Heddon, 1950-1984 • Tom Jacomet on the Roller Flasher Bait • Matt Lollman on Mosquito Dope • Classic Outdoor Writing: W. Wallace Ham • Kevin Virden on Part One of the the Inner History of the Fred Arbogast Company • Emil Polansky on the Fred Nichols Lure Company • and Much More!

-- Dr. Todd

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Friday Funhouse for January 12, 2018

NOTE: Guess what? I’M BACK BABY! Yes, I’ve got time to restart the Friday Funhouse and the blog again. It’s been some time but I’m happy to be back in the swing of things. I’m partnering with my man Matt Lollman over at Fin and Flame so check back for some cool happenings in 2018!

The Video of the Week

I’m a sucker for Hemingway. Not only was he a great writer, his love of fishing knew no bounds. For those who haven’t, pick up a copy of The Old Man and the Sea. You won’t be disappointed!

12 Things I Would Buy If Only I Could Afford Them

This Julius vom Hofe Perforated Fly Reel is incredibly rare, even missing an end cap. How rare? One in the box went for 25k in a past Lang’s Auction!

You have got to love this Manitou Minnow.

Pflueger Atlapacs in the carrying case are super fun reels.

This CCBC Striper Pikie in Blue Head is very rare.

When’s the last time you’ve seen a Union Hardware reel get this much interest???

Instant Collection Alert: Storm Wiggle Warts from the pre-Rapala era. Remind me to tell you about Rapala’s purchase of Storm some time!

Spears are always fun collectively and this Brainerd, MN made Lewis Gaustas model is pretty great. …

An early Heddon Zaragossa in the box is a great classic bait.

Been busy laying out an Al Foss book so this cardboard Little Egypt intro box was good to see. Predates his tin boxes.

This Penn Model 420 Spinster is a reel with a fascinating history — made in Japan, and rejected by Penn. It was never sold commercially.

Any W.D.Chapman Spinner is a nice find.

The Salties out there love these Devonshire Surf Plugs.!

And it feels good to say once again, have a good weekend, and be good to each other and yourself.

— Dr. Todd

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The World's First 3D Printed Spinning Reel!

My friend Michael Hackney, author of the great The Reelsmith’s Primer and other works on making fishing reels, is always on the cutting edge.

He wrote me recently about making the first functional spinning reel with a 3D printer. I believe this is the wave of the future, and not surprisingly, Michael is right on the edge. Here’s what he wrote:

I’ve now finished the first functional prototype of a 3D printed spinning reel. It is loosely modeled off the Illingworth second model. It is fully functional, completely 3D printed spinning reel that I believe is a "first". The reel features a bail-less line retrieve with a low friction pulley, an oscillating spool to smooth the uptake, a click check, and an adjustable friction spool drag. This is the very first functional prototype. It is still a little crude but that will be addressed in the next few iterations. The reel currently has 13 printed parts. The finished reel will likely have 17 parts. There is no other hardware, it's ALL plastic!

For more photos and a video of it in operation Click Here.

Thanks, Michael, for sharing this with us!

— Dr. Todd

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Southern Fly Anglers Please Vote In New HOF Balloting

My friend Don Kirk sent this to me to remind people they still have time to vote for the Hall of Fame members for the Southern Trout Hall of Fame. To vote make sure to visit the Southern Trout web site by http://southerntrout/.

It's a great project so let's all support it by going and voting!

-- Dr. Todd

Friday, September 9, 2016

I Will Miss You, Mom

After a short but ferocious battle with cancer, my mother Taeko Arai Larson peacefully passed away today, surrounded by family. She was an angler in her younger days and put up with a crazy fishing family of boys for over six decades. I can't remember ever having cross words with her. I will miss you every day, mama-san.

-- Dr. Todd

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Fishing Lures I Have Known, Vol. II: Riding the Devil's Horse: Smithwick's Legendary Lure

Today we launch the second edition of the new series Fishing Lures I Have Known, and it is available to read, download, and distribute for free! Rather than let vultures copy-and-paste the text from the blog, I've made this is a static .PDF file which everyone should be able to open and read or save right from their browser.

This edition is entitled Riding the Devil's Horse: Smithwick's Legendary Lure and it details the history of one of the great topwater fishing lures of all time. I hope you enjoy it. Feel free to share via Twitter, Facebook, email, etc. But please don't add/delete anything from the file if you do. You can also send people directly to this page so they can download it directly from the server, too. Whatever works for you!

Read about (or save to your device by right clicking) the Smithwick Devil's Horse by CLICKING HERE.

-- Dr. Todd

Friday, June 24, 2016

Voices from the Past: The Death of Ed. K. Tryon Jr. (1894)

The following obituary for Edward K. Tryon, Jr. comes from the September 29, 1904 issue of Iron Age magazine. It gives a brief overview of one of the most important men in fishing tackle history. It was under Ed. K. Tryon Jr.'s watch that the firm that carried his name became the largest fishing tackle wholesaler in the nation. His impact on the tackle trade cannot be overestimated; Tryon is a major reason so many tackle firms succeeded, from Hendryx to Penn. At their peak the Tryon tackle catalog was 400+ pages. It's an amazing legacy, and he appears to have been a decent human being, too.


EDWARD K. TRYON, JR., senior partner of the firm of Edward K. Tryon, Jr., & Co. of Philadelphia, died suddenly at his home at two o'clock on Monday, September 19, from appoplexy. Mr. Tryon had been ill for about two weeks, but had shown such marked improvement that his physicians had given every assurance of his speedy recovery.

Mr. Tryon was in his sixty-first year, having been born in Philadelphia April 14, 1844. He received his education in Friends schools and the Germantown Academy, but at a very early age he entered the employ of the Tryon firm, then composed of his father, Edward K. Tryon, and brother, George W. Tryon, Jr., who were established in business at 625 Market street, and also at 220 North Second street, the site of the original establishment, which was founded in 1811 (The Sign of the Golden Buffalo). In 1863 his copartnership was dissolved, the senior Tryon retiring. Edward K. Tryon, Jr.. and his brother forming a partnership under the name of Tryon Brothers, which partnership continued in existence until 1868, when George W. Tryon, Jr.. retired. The firm then changed to Edward K. Tryon, Jr., & Co., which name the copartnership retains at the present date, Edward K. Tryon, Jr., having remained the senior partner until the time of his death, the firm now occupying the premises at 10 and 12 North Sixth street and 611 Market street.

While Mr. Tryon was still a boy the family moved to his father's country place. Pittville, near Germantown. where Mr. Tryon spent his boyhood days, which property has been purchased by the United States Government and is now one of the national cemeteries. Mr. Tryon had been in active business all his life, but about ten years ago relinquished part of his business affairs, determining to devote the time thus gained to charitable and philanthropic work. At the time of his death he was a member of the Board of Directors of the Home Missionary Society of Philadelphia, a director of the Evening Home and Library Association for Boys, of which institution he was one of the founders and for a number of years its president; a member of the Board of Directors of the Women's Medical College and Hospital, a director of the Trades League of Philadelphia, a member of the Academy of Natural Sciences, a member of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and a trustee of the "First Unitarian Society of Philadelphia."

At the time of the battle of Antietam, when President Lincoln issued his call for 75,000 men, Mr. Tryon enlisted and served a short time with the Pennsylvania Volunteers. He Is survived by a widow and two children, and his surviving copartners in the firearms firm are Edward B. Mears, Jr., Evan G. Chandlee and Charles Z. Tryon. In the death of Edward K. Tryon, Jr., the community loses a clean man, one whose voice was always for right methods in business, and whose integrity, fidelity and honesty endeared him to his many friends, who profoundly mourn his loss.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Ben Wright Memorial Spinning Reel Report for May 2016

As many of you know, our dear friend Ben Wright passed away two weeks ago. I have no doubt he was hard at work on the Spinning Reel Report up until the very end. I've hosted his Reports here on the blog -- with the exception of about ten months -- for almost a decade. It's like an old friend. When I wasn't posting anything else I would always post Ben's column.

Seems a shame not to have it, so I put one together myself. If anyone out there wants to take over/help with the Ben Wright Memorial Spinning Reel Report, please drop me a line. 

We miss you Ben, but we won't ever forget you.


Cardinal 3 Black IB 135.50
Cardinal 44 First model IB 117.00 Seems like a good buyer’s price?
Zebco Cardinal 4 Ex 99.00
Cardinal 854 Level Drag Ex 79.50


Fin-Nor #3 in Ex $279.00 Seems like these are gaining in price of late.


Mitchell 440 Auto IB 229.50
Mitchell 300 Pro Series IB 173.00
Mitchell 308 IB 172.00
Mitchell 408 IB 163.00
Mitchell 308 UL  IB 160.00
Mitchell 308Z IB 151.80
Mitchell 909 Lefty Ex 140.50
MItchell 4896 HS IB 114.48
Mitchell 302 NM 109.50
Mitchell 306 Cut-Away Display 104.73 Hard to tell if this was original or done in home shop.
Mitchell 308 NM 90.89


Dam Quick 330 IB 119.00
Dam Quick 1202 IB 110.00 This was a pretty reel.
Dam Quick 1000 IB 88.00


Cargem 44/M in Exc  $266.00 That’s a solid price for this!
Holiday 30 239.00
Alcedo Mark IV Ex 175
Orvis 50A 144.49
Orvis 350 UL VG+ 124.23
Orvis 75A Ex 150.00 A high price on this one.
Orvis 51A VG 89.06
Zangi V3 VG+ 130.00
Linea Tubertini NM 100.00
Cargem Mignon Ex 106.99
Alcedo Micron IB 102.50


Marine Record IB 120.00
Record Spinning IB 98.87
RU Recordette IB 95.00


Ilingworth No. 3 Ca. 1914 175.00


Luxor 1st Mod. Ex 99.99
Centaure Pacific 5 VG- 100.75
Centaure 600 IB 99.99


Airex Apache IB 86.00 A very good price for this
Penn 706 Spinfisher Green Ex 160.00
Penn 706 Spinfisher Green Ex- 160.00
Penn 7500SS High Speed 99.99
Penn 9500SS High Speed Ex 125.00
Penn Spinfisher 716 UL IB 114.48
Luxor A2 Half Bail Ex 125.00
Pflueger Pelican IB 95.00
Can City 350 IB 94.00


Shimano Baitrunner 6500B Ex 98.88
Shimano Sustain 6000FB Ex 124.88
Daiwa Gold GS-9 IB 120.00
Browning Mitchell 908 UL Ex 113.50

Monday, May 16, 2016

Fishing Lures I Have Known, Vol. I: The Palsa -- The Unoriginal Finnish Minnow

Today we are excited to launch a new regular series on Fishing for History. I am calling it Fishing Lures I Have Known, and it is available to read, download, and distribute for free! Rather than let vultures copy-and-paste the text from the blog, I've made this is a static .PDF file which everyone should be able to read, open, and save right from their browser.

This edition is entitled The Palsa -- The Unoriginal Finnish Minnow and it covers the history of one of my favorite obscure imported fishing lures. I hope you enjoy it. Feel free to share via Twitter, Facebook, email, etc. But please don't add/delete anything from the file if you do. You can also send people directly to this page so they can download it directly from the server, too. Whatever works for you!

Read about (or save to your device by right clicking) the Palsa Minnow by CLICKING HERE.

-- Dr. Todd

Friday, May 13, 2016

Lang's ORCA Reel Auction Catalog is Now Live!

Cool news for you reel hounds out there! Lang's is running a special time auction of 57 lots of nothing but reels, with a portion of the proceeds to benefit ORCA! How cool is that? We get a shot at some killer reels and ORCA gets some sheckels thrown in for good measure. Damn fine idea, if you ask me!

You can check out the auction (and learned what a timed auction is) by CLICKING HERE.

-- Dr. Todd

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A Short History of the Rubber Worm

While doing some research on a project dealing with Texas history, I ran across this really great article on Nick Creme, inventor of the modern plastic worm, which had the accompanying video below. It's an easy read and a reminder that even something we don't consider very collectible -- rubber worms -- have a great history behind them.

-- Dr. Todd

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Mystery of Toledo's Buddy Reel Company

Researching tackle companies is tricky under the best of circumstances. Mostly, it’s an exercise in futility. This is especially true when one considers a company like the Buddy Reel Company of Toledo, Ohio, whose existence (as far as I can tell) comes down to a single advertisement run in a single month.

The ad in question, pictured below, can be found in two slightly different styles. The top one is from the August 1922 issue of Popular Mechanics and the bottom one is from the August 1922 Elks Magazine.

These ads were run in a variety of different magazines, including (but not limited to) Hunter-Trader-Trapper and American Legion Weekly, among others.

What’s interesting, and strange, about this advertising campaign is that it was run mostly in large circulation national magazines not specifically aimed at anglers. It was a very ambitious plan that put the Buddy Reel Company in front of millions of potential buyers.

The reel itself is a mystery. It certainly looks like a simple nickle-over-brass Montague or Shakespeare trade reel, and the price of $2.65 was right in line with that style of trade reel.

The ad raises many, many questions. Were these reels marked “Buddy” or “Buddy Reel Company”? Who made them? Why did the firm disappear so quickly, as the only known ads were run in August 1922, when the fishing season was mostly over? Who was behind the Buddy Reel Company? It’s slightly depressing we may never have answers to these questions.

There are hundreds if not thousands of companies like the Buddy Reel Company. We may be able to find information on 10% of them, but that doesn’t keep us from trying to find information on them.

So who has information on the Buddy Reel Company?

— Dr. Todd

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Ben Wright's Spinning Reel Report for April 2016

APRIL 2016


Featured Reels:
Abu Garcia (444) pearl blue e+wb @ 158.05

Cargem 44/M majestic gold color slight wear @ 518.85

Centaure Pacific 5-500 nib @ 226.50

Dam-Quick 330 E+WB @ 115.00

Heddon spin pal 240 mpu nib @ 199.50

J C Higgins 306-39990 by Bretton nib @ 77.49

Mitchell rare first version paint wear @1495.00 NOTE "RNM"

 more mitchell:
300DL slight wear w/box @ 1594.00
508 combo both exc+ box top missing @ 555.37
510 special ewb @ 577.76

Penn 716 slight wear w/box @ 235.00

Aimsa slight wear @ 256.00
Sagarra blue color some wear @ 466.00
Viper paint wear @ 490.00

Esquire ewb @ 274.06
Record recordette 21 aqua nib @ 288.00

A few reel deals:
Crack 300 mpu exc @ 18.00
Quick Hobby exc @ 12.00
shakespeare 2065 nib @ 17.50
606 w/black side plate exc @ 9.95
707 slight wear @ 6.76

More Reels:
222 first version some wear @ 188.88
505 scf nib @ 38.60
suveran s4000m exc+ @ 271.18

Apache exc @ 31.75
vic green some wear on cup @66.00

Arjon sweden all cf
500 nib @ 48.66
555 e+wb @ 81.83
600 nib @ 31.33
666 exc @ 33.18

Dam Quick:
2011 minor wear w/box @ 89.00

English Hardy altex no 1 mk V slight wear @200.00

Crack 100 fb nib @ 70.50
300 mpu some wear w/box @ 104.00
Dopper exc @ 305.06
Fraser saumon mer slight wear @ 120.00

German Atlantis nib @ 82.31

Heddon 190 cf spin cast nib @ 54.88

Alcedo micron curved leg nib @ 126.49
    "           "       Deluxe ewb @ 220.50
    "      2001 nib @ 226.50
Cargem 66 sea megnum gray needs cleaning @ 500.00
 Holliday 40 slight wear @ 202.50
      "         60 exct but small chip in foot @ 227.50

Aqua-spin x15 nib @ 25.00
Satelite x17 nib @ 25.00

Mitchell, garcia
300 6th version exc w/leather case @ 178.28
304 s/n 1163470 minor wear @ 99.99
304 cut-a-way exc @ 157.50
306 cut-a-way exc @ 104.72
508 combo both exc @350.00
510 combo both exc @ 241.50

Pflueger 1000 nib @ 40.00

705 second version slight wear w/box @ 150.00
710 green ewb @ 85.00
712 ewb @ 88.00
720 second version nib @ 75.00

Shakespeare sigma 2400-034 exc+ w/rough box @ 81.00

record 600 cf nib @ 80.00
700 scf e+wb @ 52.07

55 cf ewb @53.80
1970 ewb @ 225.00
cardinal 3 second version ewb @ 143.50

LAST--- A SEAMASTER with some scratches sold @ 2850.00
Note there was also one listed at Crossroads Angling Auction 4/24
with some wear on the foot.
email them to find out if it sold and for how much