Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Review of the March 2007 NFLCC Gazette

Since this blog is read by ORCA members who are not members of the NFLCC as well as a number of people interested in fishing history who do not belong to any organization, I thought I would begin reviewing the major journals so people will have an idea of what is currently being published.

The NFLCC Gazette Vol. 31, No. 111 (March 2007)

The first thing one notices about the new changes to the Gazette is that the actual words "NFLCC Gazette" do not appear on the cover. The second thing one notices is that the cover is now in color, part of a full 16 pages of color in it. The color section used to be in the center of the magazine and was normally reserved for articles where the pictures would warrant having color printing; moving the color section to the front, however, means the Editor's Corner, President's Page, and Secretary/Treasurer's Report is now printed in color, which seems a bit of an overkill to me. Just my opinion.

The first major article is a nifty four-page article "Grand Rapids Fishing Lures, Part I: Pierce, Hill and Hibbard Spoon Baits" by Michigan writer Terry McBurney, whose work has graced the pages of the Gazette on a number of occasions. This well-researched and written article, as all of Terry's work is, centers on the Pierce, Hill and Hibbard spinners of Michigan. These lures are important nineteenth century developments in fishing lure history, and show the genius of tackle making reached far inland from the stronghold of New York City. The subject had been broached before in Bob Groter's article "Early Fishing Lures of Western Michigan" (NFLCC Magazine, June 1995) and in Arlan Carter's seminal work Nineteenth Century Fishing Lures, but Terry's research clearly shows that there is much more to be learned on the subject. It is well illustrated with seven clear B&W photos.

The second feature article is Eric Borgerding's "This Place Was Once Called Eden: A Brief History of the Late 19th Century Fishing and Fishing Lures of Madison, Wisconsin." McBurney's article is what we call revisionary scholarship; this is taking previous research and adding significantly to the story. Borgerding's work is what historian's call original scholarship, a pioneering work that covers material not widely available in print before (Bob Slade does mention Madison fishing a bit in his work on Wisconsin fishing tackle). This nine page article details a number of tackle manufacturers never before covered in depth, including Fritz Huels and Sumner & Morris. The photos are detailed and useful for identifying variations in the styles of these overlooked spinners. It is one of the most important articles published in the Gazette in the past three years.

In addition to these two excellent feature articles, there are also some shorter articles as well. One of these is by Ray Thomas of White House, TN entitled "Gene Bullard: Father of Modern Rod Making." It is a neat little two-page article covering a brief history of this important rod maker. An important one-page feature by Dan Ross of Cincinnati entitled "Be Prepared" outlines how all of us can help ensure the survival of our sport and hobby by working with local Boy Scout troops to promote a fishing tackle collector's badge. Jim Freeman of Leeds, AL wrote a one-page article on the Leonard Self Wind-Up Plug. Finally, the Rev. Reed Stockman, a regular contributor, penned a one-pager "The Mysterious Little Craw Lure" that covers this intriguing Tango-style bait (although the article was printed with a very bizarre drop cap first letter). There is also a two-page section on Ken Haggard creels that is unattributed (perhaps penned by Jim Fleming, the Gazette's editor). It shows models of these gorgeous creels in full color.

Finally, professional bass fisherman and collector Bernie Schultz contributed a nice biography of NFLCC member Henry Hoellman, the man who served as the basis for the character Henry Blake in the hit book, movie, and TV series M*A*S*H*. First posted on the internet on Joe's Chat Board, it is a moving testimonial to a collector who touched many people's lives.

Coming in at 40 pages this issue offered some interesting information and I would consider it a step forward in the effort to revise and update the Gazette.

--Dr. Todd

1 comment:

Abe Housihoots said...

I do not really see the greatness of the Gazette as others see it. I believe the Gazette should be a venue for current and upcoming news of the Club. When my issue shows up, some of the shows have past, the ads are stale, and pics are marginal at best. Why is the Gazette trying to be the Magazine? I am very dissappointed in the numerous typos, spelling errors, omissions, overuse of too many different types of fonts, and just general clashing of styles used throughout the Gazette. Larry Smith was the last excellent Editor and the professionalism has steadily decreased since.