Friday, October 24, 2014

The Friday Funhouse


The Video of the Week

This brief 1920s film clip from Hardy’s is beyond awesome.



Well, it’s that time again — Lang’s time! Oh that joyous semi-annual time when collectors rejoice, for treasures await to be delivered by the USPS. And our semi-annual tradition of picking 10 unbelievable items that we cannot afford but want with the burning desire of a dying sun is upon us again. It’s the hardest thing, picking just ten items … but here we go.

12 Things I Would Buy If Only I Could Afford Them — Lang’s Edition

GRANDADDY OF THEM ALL! Oh. My. God. This is what fishing history looks like, folks. A George Snyder Kentucky reel.. The place where it all began. Best reel ever, or BEST REEL EVER???



This is one of the most beautiful reels ever made, the Meek #10 Saltwater. Just everything you’d ever want in a fishing reel. So pretty …



Can’t love this Henshall Van Antwerp reel enough. So pretty!



A J.B. Crook pre-Civil War ball handled reel is always awesome.



This is an incredibly rare Philbrook & Payne (not Paine) marbleized fly reel.



A Hardy “Club” Fly Box just screams class.



This Bimini King is all the proof you need of why people go insane for Tycoon rods.



Nothing to see here — just a Creek Chub prototype Shrimp.



A Shakespeare Rhodes Wooden Minnow is a great piece.



As this Bateman Frog came to light on Joe’s Board, I’m fascinated to see what it brings.



A Heddon Florida Special is super rare.



A Thoren Minnow Chaser is a great find, especially in the box.



Talk about your Gopher problems!



You can view the Lang’s on-line catalog yourself and pick your own Top 10 by Clicking Here
.
— Dr. Todd

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Fishing Advertisement: Pabst Blue Ribbon (1950)


This is one of my favorite fishing advertisements. It features famed actor Douglas Fairbanks Jr. fishing for marlin and tuna off the legendary Catalina Island with a huge Penn Senator (14/0 or 16/0) reel. It's got everything you would want in a neat ad, especially a celebrity angler like Fairbanks. The son of his legendary namesake father, he was in over fifty films and was a decorated veteran of World War II. He loved to fish off California's waters, and was a frequent visitor to The Tuna Club. This 1950 advertisement for Pabst was run in both color and black-and-white.



-- Dr. Todd

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

An Epistle on Why There is No Advertising on this Blog


Ah, the internet. As someone who’s been producing content used on the internet since … well, pretty much the beginning of the internet. But I never really understood the incredible levels of desperation many advertisers have to find a targeted market until I began the Fishing for History Blog around seven years ago, about the same time I took over the Classic Fly Rod Forum (historically one of the largest fly fishing web sites on the internet).

One of the things I decided early on was that I would not take advertising on either one, despite the fact that it is a nearly daily occurrence to be contacted from companies seeking to advertise their wares on both. I never mind the tackle industry folk; after all, these are fishing sites. But they make up about 5% of the advertisers who want to promote their products on my sites. It’s rather remarkable the array of companies willing to shill products to you while your going through the Friday Funhouse or reading the latest from Elissa Ruddick. Everything from male enhancement to weight loss to condo buying, I’ve seen them all come through with their pitches.

And I’ve turned them all down. Why? Do I feel like I’m too good for it, that I am morally superior to them? Not really. I just hate advertising, especially where it’s not needed or wanted. Besides, if you had to watch an ad every time you tried to read something here, I would guess you’d come by less and less. So I keep it ad free. Would I ever take on an advertiser? Who knows? All I know is that I’m happy with the way things are now.

John Oliver is a brilliant British comedian with a funny Sunday night TV show. He recently took on the subject of internet advertising, and in so doing, outlined the myriad ways in which I hate on-line advertising. Take a moment and watch it, and ask yourself, is this what you want to see here? On Joe’s Board? On the Fly Rod Forum?



It sums up my feelings exactly.

— Dr. Todd

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Voices from the Past: Remembering Oliver Prouty's Trout (1906)


The following article came from Edward A. Samuels' "Fish Chat" in the April 7, 1906 issue of Forest & Stream. It references a famed fishing tackle man, Lorenzo Prouty, formerly of Bradford & Anthony and later of Prouty & Appleton (which became Appleton & Litchfield soon after it was formed in 1882). Here we learn of Prouty's great reverence in the fishing world. Here we remember Prouty's contribution to fish culture.

In the early '60s there was a gentleman named Prouty, who was a fishing tackle salesman in the establishment of Martin L. Bradford, of Boston—later Bradford & Anthony. He was a genial soul, kind-hearted and generous to a fault, and I verily believe that he did more at that time than any other man in Boston in the way of helping out anglers, both young and old, in making up the kits for their outings, and in giving the advice which was almost always asked of one who occupied a position such as his.

He was an ardent fisherman, and was familiar with the various localities in New England to which anglers resorted. His advice, therefore, as to choice of flies, tackle, etc., for any given waters was accepted as dictum without hesitation.

He had a little homestead near South Canton, Mass., and in a field not far from the house were several springs of considerable volume, which by little brooklets united into a small brook, which flowed down to the Canton Fowl Meadows, finally emptying into the Neponset River.
The water in these springs was as clear as crystal, and even in midsummer was almost icy cold. The lay of the land was such that by erecting a dam at the lower end of the little field, which was almost bowl-shaped, the water could be held back and a pond of several acres in extent could be flowed. After devoting considerable thought to the subject, Mr. Prouty decided to erect the dam and start a little trout pond.

The work was finally accomplished, the pond was made, and eventually it was stocked with fingerling trout. How, when and where he obtained these fish I never ascertained. In those clays trout breeding establishments were not as abundant as they now are; but in some way he obtained them, and hundreds of them, too.

I often visited his little fish farm, and felt almost as much interest and satisfaction in watching the troutlings as did he. They were very tame and accepted food from his hands. Those little fish grew apace, and as the months went by and a year had passed, attained a length of six inches, and Mr. Prouty's undertaking seemed an unqualified success. But, alas! fatality came, and in a spring freshet of unexampled height and force, the dam was carried away, and the pond, together with its valuable stock of trout, were swept down the former bed of the brook and soon disappeared into the river. At that time the Neponset was the abiding place of great numbers of pickerel, huge fellows, too, some of them were, but any and all of them were large enough to pouch a sixinch trout, and without much effort, too; and it was decided by all who knew of the accident, that Mr. Prouty's fish had become victims of the merciless "shovelsnouts."

But one day, greatly to my surprise and satisfaction, I discovered that all the trout had not become food for the pickerel. I was snipe shooting on the Fowl Meadows on a morning in September following the accident, when, as I was moving along by the side of a large brook which emptied into the river some three miles or more below Prouty's stream, I saw what was unmistakably a trout dart up the brook and disappear below the shelving edge. I was greatly surprised at this discovery, for never before had I known of a trout being seen in that brook.

The stream was, in most places, nearly six feet in width, and was full of deep holes and excavations in the banks of a foot or more in depth. It was by all odds the largest brook that emptied into the Neponset anywhere in that neighborhood, and it was of no mean dimensions for a length of several miles, and took its rise, I think, somewhere in South Dedham. To make assurance doubly sure, I followed the bank of the stream a considerable distance, stamping heavily on the sward as I moved along, and it was with no little gratification that I succeeded in dislodging from their lurking places .1 half dozen or more of the trout, which darted up the stream and hid themselves from view. It is hardly necessary to state that, armed and equipped with rod and creel, I hurried to the brook on the following morning, and before the shades of evening fell, I succeeded in picking out a dozen or more of Mr. Prouty's trout, and on several occasions afterward made two or three more catches of quite satisfactory dimensions.

Now, that these fish should have run the gauntlet among voracious pickerel through three or four miles of river, and succeeded in finding and establishing themselves in the onlybrook of considerable size and purity of water there was for miles in any direction, and that, too, under the most adverse circumstances possible, for the meadows had been heavily flooded by the spring freshet that swept the dam away, seems to me a remarkable instance of the adaptability of this species to a complete change of conditions and environment.


-- Dr. Todd

Monday, October 20, 2014

In the News: Rattlesnake Rods?


I am always a sucker for a custom rod company story, so when I saw this feature flash across the news wire I knew I was hooked. MaryLou VandeRiet of Dallas, Texas is making custom fishing rod with rattlesnake and copperhead skins.



It’s a fascinating story and one that starts with a woman in her 50s who had never even been fishing before. A fortuitous set of events occurred and she entered the rod business about 20 years ago, and has been making high end rods ever since. They are really interesting, as is she!



Snakeskin rods from Texas seem so fitting it’s natural, but I’ve never seen one before this. Fortunately, the amount of snake skins needed wouldn’t put a dent in the snake population (which, I might remind you, is in crisis right now).

So keep on keeping’ on, snake rod lady. I may just have to get one of these myself!

— Dr. Todd

Sunday, October 19, 2014

1000 Words: Hollywood Goes Fishing


In this week's Hollywood Goes Fishing, we feature a publicity still from 1981 featuring actress Lauren Hutton. If you've been living under a rock the past four decades or so, Hutton was a supermodel-turned-actress best remembered (cinema-wise) for her roles in movies such as Once Bitten and American Gigolo. This photo dates from 1981 but I'm not sure what it's for.



-- Dr. Todd

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Art of the Lure: The Fred Arbogast Big Tin Liz


This 1 oz. chunk of colorful fish shaped metal was designed to fish for pike and musky by the Fred Arbogast Company of Akron, Ohio. The BIG TIN LIZ was offered in either standard or weedless configurations, and was regularly offered in the two following colors; Red Side Chub and Silver with Red Head. This 1930 box, often referred to as the “John Field” box due to the photo on top showing John Field holding his 35 lb. musky that he had caught on a BIG TIN LIZ minnow, is one of the scarcest Arbogast boxes to find. The “Big Liz” (1 oz.) had been offered as a choice alongside the “Regular Liz” (5/8 oz.) and the “Baby Liz” (1/2 oz.) before the John Field advertising box came out around or after May of 1930, so it is my opinion that Arbogast was trying to sell more of their 1 oz. sized Tin Liz lures by using the John Field advertising on top of the large size box, as well as their advertisements featuring John Field in sporting magazines beginning in May, 1930.



Hmmmmm … they must have had a time machine in order to get the ad completed and off to the magazines, and for the magazine editors to get the ads to the presses before printing their May editions, which I am assuming came out before Mr. Field supposedly caught his musky on May 28th!!!! Well, I guess they could have meant May 28, 1929 … And it’s a good thing that the lure in the photo was never cast out into pike or musky waters, as the person who owned it had it rigged all wrong for keeping those toothy fish hooked!



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

— Elissa Ruddick

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Friday Funhouse


The Video of the Week

This 1950s video of tarpon fishing in Boca Grande Pass is really cool.



12 Things I Would Buy If Only I Could Afford Them

This Heddon Black Sucker is super nice.



A Heddon High Forehead 150 is amazing.



Like this Heddon Basser in Blue Scale.



A Meek #3 Bluegrass is a nice find.



This Heddon River Runt is pretty tough.



A 4 Brothers Neverfail Underwater Minnow is very nice.



This Shakespeare Wonderod dealer display is superb.



A Moonlight Zig Zag in the box can be tough to find.



This Gold Keeling Expert is really clean.



Despite the incorrect historical information this A&F Passport is still a rare rod.



Ans. B. Decker baits in the box do not come up often for sale.



Man, this A&F Montague is exploding.



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

— Dr. Todd

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Fishing Advertisement: 7up (1964)


When I was a kid, 7up was the drink of adults. It was also the drink my mother gave me when I was home sick from school. Thus, when Sprite arrived on the scene during my childhood, I gravitated towards it. After all, it had youthful advertising behind it, immediately became widely available, and I didn’t have to drink jt only after I had thrown up. 7up quickly disappeared from my life.

One day in my adult years, I asked for a Sprite from a friend of mine and he gave me instead a 7up. Not having had one in about 20 years, and not having great memories of it, I turned my nose up. But given the alternative, I decided to bite the bullet.

Guess what? I discovered that 7up really is better than Sprite, at least to adult me. No wonder this 1964 ad touts it as “the man’s mixer.” Now I wouldn’t mix it with a double finger of Lagavullin … but it definitely beats Sprite hands down.

I like that the image the advertisers chose to attach to 7up was big game fishing. It’s a cool ad from the Mad Men era of Madison Avenue.



— Dr. Todd

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Voices from the Past: Musky Fishing in Clayton, New York (1860)




Gary Miller sent in this blurb to me some time ago and I am just now getting around to posting it. It’s from the July 31, 1860 New York Times, back when the Gray Lady was just one of a couple dozen daily papers in NYC. It features a lovely account of musky fishing in Clayton in the days of Gardiner Mills Skinner.

This fishing is peculiar in its character. Your landlord engages your guide, with boat and tackle, for one dollar and a half a day, to serve you from dawn to dark if you wish to fish as early and as late. Two rods, supported entirely by the boat, one reaching out upon one side, and the other upon the other, with lines attached about 100 feet long, with spoons or decoys, and a drag-line from the stern about 150 feet in length, comprises the tackle. A seat is provided for the sportsman, which is generally a cushioned chair in the stern-sheets of the boat, and he sits face to the guide. In this luxurious and easy position he can amuse himself when the fish are not active in smoking, reading, viewing and admiring the quiet scenery of the beautiful islands surrounded by the crystal waters, or, if he so inclines, can sleep, relying upon his guide to wake him when he has a strike. The guide rows you over the best ground, if you are not personally acquainted with it, and the most uninitiated are enabled to tell when a fish seizes the decoy. Then hand over hand with the line, slowly, till Mr. Fish makes his appearance near the boat, and the great skill is in landing him safely. A large one requires the gaff; a smaller one is seized just back of the head with the hand, and a smaller one still is jerked in unceremoniously. A good day's sport gives so many that at night a true sportsman feels ashamed to look upon such murder.

The muskallonge vary in weight from 15 to 65 pounds; the pickerel from 2 to 20 pounds; the black bass from one to four pounds. It is not uncommon to see little boys and girls in skiffs rowing about the river trolling. One day last week a small lad was thus engaged in the bay near the vessels lying at the wharf, when he "fastened" (a local term) to a muskallonge. Being alone in the boat, with no implements to secure him or kill him, and the fish being about as heavy as the boy, it was a fair and for a long time seemed to be a very doubtfully-resulting fight. The lad, however, had the advantage; for while the fish was being weakened by the struggle, the boy held his own. The boat swayed round and round as the muskallonge struck out right and left, till at last the lad succeeded in getting Mr. Muskallonge's head over the gunwale, and by one sudden convulsion of the fish in he came with the boat. And now the reader may suppose the fight was ended. Not so: for it had but just begun, for the boats sit low upon the water, and these fish, averaging about five feet in length, will go overboard, if not prevented, quicker than they come in. The little fellow let go the line, and seized Mr. Muskallonge around the body, and a rough and tumble scuffle ensued upon the bottom of the boat, the fish being first uppermost and then the boy; but he held on, and hollowed stoutly for help, when one of the guides, seeing his condition, shot out with his boat from the shore, and towed in the contending parties. But the little fellow never relinquished his hold till the club was applied to the muskallonge's head, when it was ascertained the fish weighed 48 1/8 pounds. Mr. JOHNSON, the proprietor of the Walton House, sent the fish to the proprietor of the Everett House, in New-York.

-- Dr. Todd

Monday, October 13, 2014

In the News: The International Fario Club


The International Fario Club was founded by the legendary Charles Ritz back in 1958 to bring together people from diverse backgrounds all of whom had a passion for fly angling. Every year, the annual event culminated with a distinguished dinner at the Paris Ritz hotel followed by test casting “Ritz” fly rods on the Tir aux Pigeons ponds, designed by Ritz himself.

In 1996, after lying dormant for some time, the IFC was relaunched in the U.K. with a Trophée Charles Ritz in honor of its founder in 1996. Sponsored by the famous Farlow’s tackle company, the casting contest was recently held and won by Frenchman M. Laurent Sainsot.



As I am partial to Ritz its rather nice to see this contest getting the proper coverage it deserves.

— Dr. Todd

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Art of the Lure with Elissa Ruddick: Heddon’s “New Big-Six”


What’s not to love about a six-pack? Six-pack abs, a six-pack of your favorite beer, and Heddon’s “New Big-Six”!!! What a great way to sell more lures as well as teach fishermen how to use each lure so they’d keep coming back for more. Not only is each lure fun to look at in their own little unique display case, but the graphics inside the box lid is a work of art on its own. Dealers could order a variety of “six-packs” that Heddon offered in their dealer catalogs. The 1929 dealer supplement of Counter Display Boxes states, “This Modern Merchandising Method Shows the Baits and Sells them. Heddon's Display Boxes of one-half dozen baits are extremely attractive and convenient. These bright-red boxes, with color reproductions of fish on the inside, catch the eye and arouse interest. Many dealers are selling a whole box of six, instead of just one bait, because of the attractive display and expert selection, and the convenience of the boxes. It is commonly known and conceded that goods well displayed are half sold.”

A great idea by Heddon to sell more lures back in the 1920s … and a smorgasbord of art for collectors to look at today.





Courtesy of J. Pettis ... note the different configuration of the six lures.


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

-- Elissa Ruddick

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Friday Funhouse


The Video of the Week

This is an awesome Johnson motors promotional film from the 1950s on fishing in South America.



12 Things I Would Buy If Only I Could Afford Them

This Hardy Jock Scott reel is really great.



This Seamaster Mark III is really incredible.



This is a really great old wood lure.



This Rebel Pop R set is really causing a ruckus.



A Heddon Crazy Crawler in Chipmunk is beyond cool.



A Pflueger Medalist #1392 is a nice find.



Truline rods are always popular.



The Winchester 2640 is a great find.



This Arbogast musky Jitterbug is incredible.



This Slope Nose is really awesome.



An Outing Getum is a great and unique lure.



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

— Dr. Todd

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Fishing Advertisement: Baker's Breakfast Cocoa (1924)


Baker’s Breakfast Cocoa, as seen in this charming 1924 advertisement, was long a staple in American cupboards. Interestingly, the firm was one of the first to be sued for false advertising, having claimed that it was processed to have “treble the strength of cocoa as usually prepared” and “has more than three times the strength of cocoa mixed with starch, arrow-root or sugar.” The state of New Hampshire investigated the firm and found that Baker’s, in the first case, was lying, and in the second case were misleading. The report concluded “The sample is further misbranded on account of the claims for solubility.”



Regardless, this is a cool ad, and one that represents a lost time and place — who today would let a child swim unsupervised?

— Dr. Todd