Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Fishing Advertisement: Massachusetts Mutual (1961)

The following advertisement for the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. of Springfield features a classic line art drawing by the great Norman Rockwell. I have been thinking about Rockwell since last week my good friend Buckley gifted me a vintage cup and saucer with a Rockwell fishing scene on it. Rockwell, of course, was best known for his Saturday Evening Post covers, some of them fishing scenes. He seemed to like above all else the "barefoot boy with cane pole" motif in his paintings, like the drawing here.

-- Dr. Todd

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Fishing Miscellany with Gary L. Miller: Fish Catches Man

The following article was found in the Lacrosse Tribune for January 11, 1951 and outlines the absurdity of angling.

Fish Catches Man

Edwardsburg, Mich. A man got caught by a fish here.

And David Quinn, Jr., has a leg full of teeth marks – and two witnesses – to prove it.

Quinn and two friends, James Bigelow and Richard Howard, were ice fishing on Eagle Lake Monday. Quinn speared a four-pound pickerel.

Suddenly he burst from his shanty with a yelp.

The pickerel had embedded its sharp teeth in Quinn's leg and was hanging on with an iron-like grip. It took several minutes to pry its mouth open with sticks.

"First time a fish ever put the bite on me," Quinn chuckled. "But I got even. I put the bite on him for dinner."

-- Gary L. Miller

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Voices from the Past: A Bait that Kills (1917)

Not long ago I heard a discussion between a couple of collectors about why some of the older baits they found had red thread tied to their treble hooks. The following article, from the September 1917 Forest & Stream, details why this became a popular trend.

A Bait That Kills

A couple of trailing streamers of red flannel will accomplish wonders at times, if inserted on the hook. Often big clumsy bits of this cloth look queer on the spoonhook lure, and yet they work wonders in attracting pike. The addition of this red flannel is often the means of contriving a capture when other methods have failed. See that they stream in the water: when they produce an undulating motion they are the most attractive.

It is said that red acts on preying fishes much as it does when flashed in front of an angry bull. This is the reason why so much red is used on artificial minnows, bucktails, etc. And no doubt it fulfills a purpose, for red seems to be without any doubt a winning coloration in the eyes of the fish.

As for the strips of flannel attached to the spoonhook, I think it is chiefly the undulating motion and apparent animation that creates in the water that arouses the fish to strike. This I have proven by using white cloth strips with good success.

You will, likewise, have agreeable luck if you attach a pair of small red trailers to your plebeian pork rind lure; some use red yarn. These threads have a peculiar motion in the water that arouses curiosity in the fish and adds animation to the lure.

In using pork rind lures it is a singu larly good idea to have a spinner up ahead of the rind. Hooks with these spinners already attached are to be had in many forms on the market. The glitter and the pork rind form a double attraction. My best results have been had with the spinner in collaboration with the rind.

It is wrong to believe that the larger the lure the more attractive it is. Rather it can be said that the smaller, lighter lure has many points to its favor that the large lure has not. This has been evidenced in the smaller artificial minnows that are being put out by all the manufacturers. In fact I have come to believe firmly that a too large artificial rather frightens than causes a bass to be attracted to it to strike. This may be said to be especially true where the waters are very clear. I do admit there is a place for the large artificials, and that is where the waters are murky, or not out and out clear, or when the day is cloudy. But when the day is sunshiny and the waters are clear I would, on all counts, recommend for use the smaller sized minnow. Also in murky water, as after a rain, the pure white minnow is best seen, and the drabcolored minnows will not be seen.

The best minnow that the bass fishermen in the south can use is the white colored one, since much of the water in the south is not too clear.

-- Dr. Todd

Monday, July 21, 2014

In the News: Fly Fishing on the Rise

The following article comes from ICAST and deals with the subject of the growth of fly fishing. Yes, fly fishing is on the rise again, after a precipitous drop after the turn of the century (a natural decline that came after a decade of growth inspired by the movie A River Runs Through It). It would seem that the big box sporting goods stores all have taken notice and stocked nice fly fishing sections. These stores in the Cincinnati area where I live have always had decent fly fishing stocks, but that's because the city is a hotbed for fly angling.

It will be an interesting story to follow …

-- Dr. Todd

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Art of the Lure with Elissa Ruddick: Vim Wood Minnow

Manufactured in about 1907 for the Vim Company by the Joseph E. Pepper Company, Rome, NY, is this wonderful five hook underwater minnow and picture box combo. Vim was a general merchandise company located on 68 Lake Street, Chicago, Illinois in the early 1900s. Joe Pepper produced trade minnows for several companies, and distinguished his minnows from other makers of the day, by hand painting them with reverse gill marks, and when using glass eyes, they were normally forward facing. The twisted wire through-body hook hangers and line tie, tube-type “bow tie” props, milky yellow egg-yolk glass eyes, and hand painted body all lend a true “folk-art” feel when gazing at this lure from any angle. The printing on the right hand side of the box top pretty much sums it all up for me, stating, “You Will Like It.” And indeed I do!

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

-- Elissa Ruddick

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Friday Funhouse

The Video of the Week

This is a pretty neat 1930s Cascade fly fishing home movie.

12 Things I Would Buy If Only I Could Afford THem

This is a really nice collection of Shur Strke lures.

You don't find these boxed Pflueger lines very often.

An Iver Johnson trade rod by Thomas is a nice find.

This is a really pretty Bagley.

This Gregory Cleopatra is unreal.

This Milam #5 is as good as it gets.

Winston fly reels are really nice fishing machines.

Wow, this is a great Howe's Vacuum Bait!

This is a clean Shakespeare B No. 3.

A 9/0 Penn Senator in a lighthouse box is fantastic and reminds me that the Penn book is due out in a few weeks!

LOVE this Shakespeare Super Reel Model 1975.

As always, have a great weekend! And be nice to each other, and yourself.

-- Dr. Todd

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The FIshing Photographer with Doug Bucha: The Gulf Shores

While living on the Gulf Coast of Alabama this winter, I decided to check out the local museums in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. I found that both museums have nice comprehensive displays of commercial and recreational fishing.

Of course, I was interested in the recreational fishing. Christie Shannon and her staff at the Gulf Shores museum have put together a fine display of both. Over at the Orange Beach museum, Gail Walker Graham and her staff have gone beyond the common display. She and her staff have developed one of the finest presentations that I have viewed. Gail's museum also has a fine display of the influence of the Native American cultures on the area. If you ever get a chance to become a Snow Bird and visit this area, please take the time to visit and enjoy both museums. It is time well spent.

-- Doug Bucha

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Voices from the Past: Samuel Camp (1909)

The following piece by Samuel Camp, noted outdoor writer, entitled "The Reel and Its Handling" was published in Outing Magazine for April 1909. Its subject was the multiplying reel, which by this point had become commonplace. It's a neat overview of the outdoor writing style of the day.

Contrary to the ideas of a good many anglers the speed of a quadruple reel is strictly not for the purpose of getting in the line as speedily as possible, thereby endangering tackle and courting the loss of a hooked fish, but merely to facilitate casting. The gearing of the reel, four revolutions of spindle to one of handle, is such that, in practiced hands, long casts are easily made. In the handling of the quadruple reel the most common mistake is to keep the reel constantly in an upright position. The rod should be so held that, in casting, the sides of the reel are almost parallel with the water, the rod being turned in toward the angler. In this way the reel reaches its highest efficiency and, too, the friction of the out-running line against the rod is reduced to a minimum. The quadruple reel most suited to baitcasting is long in the barrel and of small size. When choosing a reel of this sort it should be remembered that, for casting purposes, only very fine lines are practicable, "tournament," size H, or the very largest line that will give good results and the one most used in fishing, size G. So the reel, to hold fifty yards of regular casting line, need be no larger than the size known as "sixty yard." The use of a small reel is very desirable since it tends to lighten any outfit, and it is especially desirable for use on split-bamboo casting rods under six feet in length, since these rods are usually of very light weight. The angler should bear in mind that a good quadruple casting reel is built like a watch —watchmakers made the first Kentucky reels and their descendants are still at it— and that while it will indefinitely stand intelligent use, it will most certainly not stand abuse. The reel should be oiled at intervals, but only sparingly so as not to flood the mechanism. Also it should be kept clean outside so that small particles of sand or other matter may not work in; and at times, the inside mechanism should be cleaned, but this should be delegated to the maker or some professional—the average amateur has mighty little business with the "insides" of a casting reel. German silver is the most satisfactory material, and it is preferable to have a casting reel of solid metal. For the single-action click reel, german silver and hard rubber is recommended; the metal being placed in the form of a band around the outside of the reel plates to guard against cracking the rubber in case the reel is accidentally dropped.

The uses of the double-multiplying reel are many, and the average fisherman, who is neither a bait or fly-caster, usually employs this sort of "winch." It may be used to advantage in worm fishing for trout with a regulation bait rod, that is, a rod with reel-seat above hand-grasp, and also in still fishing for bass or other fishes. For trolling purposes the double multiplying reel is preferable to the four-multiplier, for the reason that as you increase the speed of a reel there is a resultant loss of winding in power. The chronic bait- or fly-caster is usually too nervous and restless, as a consequence of the activity of his favorite angling methods, to be a good still-fisher; and so, when casting the minnow, artificial bait or fly fails to interest the fish, he generally resorts to trolling. The retrieve of the single-action reel is much too slow to handle efficiently the usual long line used in trolling.

-- Dr. Todd

Monday, July 14, 2014

In the News: The Fort Wayne NFLCC Nationals

I have quickly fallen in love with Fort Wayne. It's a lovely town, and the venue for the recent NFLCC Nationals is terrific. I really enjoy not only the Hilton hotel but the friendly staff and the well-run show. There was a lot of good press like the articles here and here and here and here and here.

To be honest, I was a bit reluctant to go this year, as there was so much negativity leading up to the show. However, I can say for the first time in half a decade or more, I actually left the show more hopeful than when I arrived. While I can say that no substantive changes were made to some of the more glaring problems facing the show (it was a ghost town on Friday this year and Saturday was a negative void) there was at least hope that some change would be made for the future.

And besides, those who were around had a very successful show. Everyone I talked to sold a ton of tackle -- one long time member, for example, said he sold more at this show than he had in 20 years. Several others echoed the same sentiments.

Besides, it's always good to catch up with old friends, although I am still reeling from news of the death of Michael Koller. More on that this week … but the launch of Bill Sonnett's new book went well and the casting demonstration was a blast.

I was on the fence about Springfield but have decided to go due to my positive experience at Fort Wayne, and for that, we owe all the credit in the world to the show hosts Dave Saalfrank and Bob King. Great job, guys.

-- Dr. Todd

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Friday Funhouse

The Video of the Week

Rick Clunn gives a really interesting history of the long glass casting rod.

12 Things I Would Buy If Only I Could Afford Them

This is an awful nice 1912 Heddon "00".

Van Staal reels are well made machines!

This jointed Musky Vamp is damn fine.

An Arbogast Sunfish is a heck of a find in the box.

Hi-Tails have been on fire of late.

EVH reels like this are a prime candidate for a good cleaning!

This South Bend 1250 is breaking some records!

A Milam No. 2 is always in demand.

This Sila-Flex boron is one of the few borons to survive to the present.

Old Fighters are neat lures.

A Peter's Special is always nice.

This is a nice old Shakespeare in need of hooks.

Love this Bronson saltwater reel!

Don't know anything about this lure, but it is really pretty!

Have a safe and fun weekend, and be good to each other, and yourself!

-- Dr. Todd

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Come See Me At NFLCC Nationals!

Come see us Friday at the Whitefish Press / Tycoon Tackle table at NFLCC Nationals! Pick up the new book from Wild Bill Sonnett! We are at 42 Green .... -- Dr. Todd

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What to Do With A Fly Rod when the Water Is Too High to Fly Fish

What to Do With A Fly Rod when the Water Is Too High to Fly Fish
Northern Wisconsin has been absolutely inundated with rain. Just lambasted, to the point that the waters I fish are at least 18" to two feet higher than they were at this time last year. High water always makes fly fishing very difficult. So what do you do when the water is too high to fish topwater bugs on a fly rod?

A beautiful three piece eight foot 3/4 weight Tycoon Tackle glass fly rod.

Well, you can always nymph and streamer fish, which I decided to do.

This is one gorgeous rod, that casts as good as it looks.

The problem with this kind of fishing at this time of year is the fact that there are literally clouds of baitfish -- perch and sunfish -- which clog the waters and make it nearly impossible to get a nymph or streamer down to where a nice bass or pike would see it. I despaired ever getting into bigger fish -- and I had a job. I was being tasked with testing a new Tycoon Tackle Co. fly rod.

D*** perch. Hate 'em! Even switched it up here to a vintage glass rod with no effect.

With options for fish running out, I turned to my brother in desperation. The new graphite fly rod manufactured by Tycoon Tackle is called the Martha Ann, named after the mother of Tycoon's owner Tim O'Brien. It's a beauty of a rod, that casts a fly line like a cannon, but I needed to get into some big fish to see how it handled. A fly rod that casts well but can't handle a fish is like a car that runs perfectly only in straight lines.

By the way, the rod is also a fund raising rod for Casting for Recovery. Pretty classy move by Tim and the Tycoon folks.

Enter my brother. He's always loved fly rods, and his particular skill is attaching ultralight spinning reels to them and fishing deep water for big walleye and pike. So in order to test the backbone, I turned it over to him, and he put on a reel and tied on a huge Husky Jerk. Within minutes he was into a 17" walleye. The rod performed like a champ.

Soon we were into bigger fish. Again a rod designed for trout was absolutely crushing big walleyes, the biggest of which (pictured below) came in at 24". It even got an eight pound pike that threw the hooks a few feet from the boat. It's a honey of a rod and strong to boot.

So I proclaim this amazing rod a success. If it can handle a big northern or walleyed pike in open water, what do you think it can do for a trout in a middling sized stream?

-- Dr. Todd

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Voices from the Past: The Tarpon (1905)

The following selection is from the March 1905 Outing Magazine, and features the great Tarpon -- one of the cagiest and most powerful saltwater game fish of all time. It was written by Edward H. Hudson and was entitled "The Giant of the Mexican Gulf."



A dozen years ago our stock of knowledge relating to the tarpon, or tarpum as it is sometimes called by sailors, was very limited, and practically nothing was known of it as a game fish. It is only within the past five years that close, accurate and systematic study has been made of its nature and habits, and even yet our knowledge is far from complete; there remain some doubts to be cleared away concerning its winter habits and home; and there are some disputed points to be settled among anglers in regard to the most successful and sportsmanlike manner of taking.

Tarpon fishing had been engaged in to a limited extent in the waters of the Florida shore for a number of years in a precursory way, but it remained for Mr. E. M. K. Green to conceive the idea of organizing a Tarpon Club, making original investigations and giving the tarpon its deserved place on the list of game fish.

The site chosen for the club house was the little island of St. Joe, which is thirty miles in length and in width varies from one to three miles, being off Rockport's eastern shore is washed by the Gulf of Mexico and its western beach is swept by the swift and treacherous currents of Aransas Bay — a narrow strait separating it from the mainland of Texas.

It was stated in a book on fishes published in New York in the year 1884, that no man was strong enough to hold a tarpon unless provided with some kind of drag or buoy attached to a hand line. In the light of recent accomplishments in tarpon fishing this statement appears to have been made without much observation or foresight. A tarpon over six feet in length has been taken at the Texas Club by a boy under thirteen years of age, and another as large by a woman weighing less than ninety pounds. Mr. Robert Grant, in 1896, said that no less than one hundred tarpon had been taken with rod and reel. So we see that tarpon fishing was yet in its infancy in 1896. In the "Encyclopedia of Sport," published in England in 1897, it was stated that at that time something like two thousand tarpon had been taken, the largest of which was 7 feet 2 inches. During the first season at the Texas club, according to its official bulletin for the year, two hundred and forty-two tarpons were landed by members and guests of the club. The catches to date number 2,961. The shortest time made in a catch, according to the records, was ten minutes, and the longest six hours. The largest catch to date was made by Mr. C. W. Dawley, of Dallas, Texas: it measured 7 feet 10 inches and weighed 175 pounds, girth 42 inches. The smallest catch was in length three-fourths of an inch and weighed 17 grains.

-- Dr. Todd

Monday, July 7, 2014

In the News: Fishing Pole Connects to the Past

Outdoor writers often write of the past; few have done it so well as Tom Stienstra's really beautiful piece Fishing Pole A Present Connection to the Past. It details a story of his brother and a fishing rod long lost, and how it affected his brother. It's definitely worth the read and one of the best pieces I've read this year.

-- Dr. Todd