Monday, December 31, 2007

Dr. Todd's Top 20 Fishing Related Stories of 2007

Today we look back at the year in fishing, and I respectfully offer up my top twenty stories of the year. Now, mind you, these may not be the most important, interesting, or even relevant, but they were the twenty that I liked the best, for various reasons. Enjoy!

#1: American plan to undermine Iraq’s infrastructure by secretly stocking sharks in inland rivers. Shark caught over 100 miles from sea in Euphrates River near Nassiriya, Iraq; Americans blamed. Seriously. “75% chance Americans put the shark in the water.” Because, as we all know, a significant part of rebuilding the country’s infrastructure is to release live sharks in inland rivers. This is clearly the story of the year.

#2: Radar O'Reilly is a fisherman. The NFLCC's Robbie Pavey reports that Gary Burghoff--Radar O'Reilly on M*A*S*H--invented and patented an improved rod butt handle and a chumming device for baitfish. Oh, he also has a son who is a professional bass fisherman . registration may be required.

#3: Homeless Man Fishes Year Round. Be honest: you've thought about quitting everything and just fishing. Well, homeless Florida keys fisherman happier than you are fishing the Keys, living out of his 1985 Toyota truck and bathing at Circle K.

Homeless fisherman Jay Grant is living the dream--if your dreams revolve around fishing all year round and living off food stamps

#4: Bass Sign Drives Local Non-Fishing Politicians Loco. When is a bass too big? The Louisville Courier reports on moronic local officials persecuiting Pepper's Bait Shop for having a fiberglass bass they want to define as a "nonconforming" sign.

#5: Redefining Fluke--Woman's Record Fish Disallowed. New Jersey woman who caught world record fluke denied world record by IGFA on a technicallity, loses hundreds of thousands of dollars in endorsements and prizes. The New Jersey Star-Ledger will now have to find something else to write about. Or maybe not.

The definition of fluke

#6: U.S. Soldiers who fish in their down time. The New York Jewish Times reports on Camp Taji, Iraq, where battle-weary U.S. soldiers can wet a line.

#7 Play Fantasy Fishing On-Line, Win A Cool Million Bucks Ever played fantasy football? Well, the richest prize in the history of fantasy sports (a cool million) has been offered for...fantasy fishing?

#8: Politically infighting splits Australia's fishing party: Bitter political rancor splits Australia’s fishing party; splinter Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party emerges from the ashes. No, really. They now have TWO political parties catering to the fishing life.

#9: Insane anglers shark fish from a kayak. London's Daily Mail reports on insane fishermen who catch sharks from their kayaks. I'd actually prefer gator fishing.

#10: Spiders May Just Make Your Next Fishing Line. From Japan comes news of a new, super thin "Spider Silk" from Japan that may revolutionize fishing.

#11: A Fisherman's Bizarre Dying Request. The British press reports on a terminally ill fisherman who wants to be cremated and have his ashes ground into chum for his fishing pals. Even Keith Richards thinks this is a bizarre idea.

#12: Septagenarian Texas Cowboy Fisherman Could Probably Still Kick Your Ass. 77 year-old Texas cowboy catches then lasso's 100-pound Alligator gar with the anchor rope. Proceeds to rip its still beating heart out of its chest and eat it raw while lamenting the unmanly state of modern American men.

#13: Man catches 85 pound Blue Catfish, but still isn't the best fisherman on his block. From the Keeping Up with the Jones File: The Godfrey News-Democrat regales us on an 85 pound Blue Catfish caught in the Mississippi, but then blithely reports it is not even the biggest blue catfish caught by a resident of Godfrey, population 16,000 (world record holder Tim Pruitt is also from this town). Complete with world's smallest internet photo.

#14: Amphibious RV's make fishing while driving easier. Amphibious RV allows anglers to fish while driving. Still wouldn’t be as dangerous as teenage girls driving while text messaging…

#15: Idiot Bass Pro Employees Arrested for Manatee Fishing. DUMB: Two really, really stupid South Florida men are arrested for fishing for Manatee. DUMBER: They posted video of their stupidity on YouTube. DUMBEST: They work for Bass Pro Shops.

#16: Collector and pro bass fisherman Bernie Schultz gets profiled. NFLCC member, Joe’s Board denizen, and top flight Bass Pro Bernie Schultz is taking us to school on bass fishing .

#17: Wade Boggs fishes; is also a Jerk. Baseball hall-of-famer Wade Boggs is a bad fisherman and, astoundingly, an even worse human being.

#18: California Collectively Loses Its Mind. California declares war on immigrant Northern Pike by using 17,000 gallons of poison. Locals burn 13-foot pike in effigy. Midwestern stereotypes over insane Californians increases.

#19: Russian Leader Vladimir Putin Fishes, Drives the Russian Girls Crazy. Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Seems Vlad caused a bit of a stir when he posed for pictures that showed off his physique. All I thought of when I saw the photo was "what kind of spinning reel was his using?"

Ivan Drago says "I will break you."

Putin fishing with Prince Albert II of Monaco on the Yenisei River

#20: Yale Profiles Fishing Tackle Yale's Peabody Museum and its new fishing exhibit gets some more press.

Have a safe and happy New Year's Eve!

-- Dr. Todd

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Friday Funhouse

Even eight inches of snow and impassible highways can't keep us from our duties! Here is The Friday Funhouse, a bit late but in all its glory.

The Friday Funhouse

Video of the Week

Last week I showed a big fish being released. This week, a REALLY big fish being boated.

Things I Would Buy If I Could Afford Them

This Ambassadeur 5000 is going to break someone's bank...

This is a super rare Fred Paulson Combination Minnow new in the box.

Bronson Invader reels always bring top dollar, but this trade model for Ward's is heading towards the stratosphere.

Few Crazy Crawlers that aren't musky or flocked bring the kind of bidding that this Glow Worm Crazy Crawler has inspired.

A nice Strike Master Surface Killer in the box should make someone's New Year happy.

Just your ordinary, run-of-the-mill 5-Hook Pontiac Radium Minnow!

If you don't own the Art & Scott Kimball book Early Fishing Plugs of the U.S.A. you are missing out on one of the great books written on fishing history.

Fly Rod lure collectors are salivating over this Moth-Oreno Fly on the card.

This is a rare Pflueger lure: The Pflueger Magnet.

Have a safe and happy New Year!

-- Dr. Todd from Snowy Wisconsin Dells, WI

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Review of Doug Carpenter's There's Something About A Jinx

A Review of Doug Carpenter's There's Something About A Jinx

Many collectors and historians are so preoccupied with the big boys--the Heddons and Pfluegers and Shakespeares--that they often overlook the mid-sized tackle companies that often sold their wares for decades. These companies and their histories are largely unknown; indeed, the fact that we know as much as we do (and it isn't a lot) is due mainly to the NFLCC Magazine and its sister publication The NFLCC Gazette.

A Classic American Bait: The Rinehart Jinx

The Fred Rinehart Tackle Company of Newark, Ohio (and other, later addresses) is just such a firm. They produced a huge number of lures in a bewildering variety of styles and colors over a long period of time, yet little is known of the company's history and production. Fortunately for us, Cecil Douglas Carpenter has penned a great new work entitled There's Something About A Jinx: The Fred Rinehart Tackle Company (Self-Published, December, 2007) that fills in many of the gaps in the history of this interesting firm.

Fred Rinehart fishing tackle was manufactured from approximately 1937 to 1962, and as the reader will discover, the company had a very distinct periodization. Many might be surprised to discover that the company had its start making a line of foam rubber fly rod lures called "Naturalife." By 1940 or so, Fred launched the lure that would make his name famous: the Rinehart Jinx. This lure was eventually manufactured in three sizes and over 100 colors, making it one of the most popular and collectible of lures from the plastic/tenite era. Other Rinehart lures followed in the wake of the Jinx, including the Buzer, Chief, Toper and Chuby, but they never quite achieved the popularity of the original. The company was sold in 1957 and moved to Gahanna, Ohio, then sold again and moved to Marietta, OH where it was finally closed in 1962 a quarter century after it began.

After some limited background history, the book hits its real strength, which are the hundreds of full color photographs that show the design permutations, color schemes, and other details of the various Rinehart lures. The number of colors that the Jinx was available in is almost unbelievable, yet nearly all of them are clearly distinguishable as a Rinehart product once one knows what to look for (as if the distinct Rinehart profile was not enough of a hint).

The book has many merits, and the crisp and clear color photography is right at the top. Almost every known catalog, box, brochure and advertisement has been included, and offer greater depth to the Rinehart story. It is difficult to imagine a more complete overview of design changes and colors could ever be compiled. The only detraction is that the history is a bit scant; while most people will probably buy the book for the impressively complete color codes, there are parts of Fred Rinehart's story missing. I had been working on a short biography of Fred Rinehart when I met Doug at the Cincinnati show last September, and unfortunately was unable to provide this information to him before the book went to press.

The 300-page softcover book is full color throughout, and was printed in a very limited run so anyone who desires a copy will definitely want to reserve one ASAP. It is definitely the kind of book you will regret not owning in a year, or two, or three, and as a copy recently sold for over 50% list price on eBay, you will definitely pay much, much more for this work in the near future--if you can even find a copy, that is. Don't forget the hard lesson learned from Mitchell reel collectors, who regularly have to pay $500 or more for Dennis Mitchell's history of the firm.

Hopefully this work will spur others with similar knowledge of mid and smaller-sized tackle companies to compile the information in book form. There's Something About A Jinx is among the most comprehensive histories of a medium-sized tackle company in recent memory, and well worth the price.

-- Dr. Todd from Otter Tail Lake, Minnesota

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Voices from the Past: Clyde Ormond

Clyde Ormond wrote a column entitled "Roamin' East Idaho" for a number of years, and this is one of my favorite pieces I have of his. It dates from 1965.

What do you take on a fishing trip?

by Clyde Ormond

Some anglers simply grab a rod and reel, a can of worms, and are off. Others take everything; except the kitchen sink.

The Fred Arbogast Fishing Tackle Company recently made a study of what they figured a fisherman should take along. It goes like this:

"License, rods, reels, baits (surface, medium depth, and bottom), jigs, spinners, pork rinds, extra spools of line, leader materials, wire, leaders, swivels, gaff and stringer."

Then, in a second column, they continue: "Creel, net, line dressing, rod repairs, reel oil. soap, insect repellant, first aid kit, sunglasses, suntan lotion, canteen, ice chest, opener, rain gear, and bobbers."

This, naturally, Isn't enough. So a third column is added: "Scales, fish sealer, pocket knife, pliers, screw driver, reel wrench, nail clippers, flash light, life preserver, wife (they put a question mark after this item), hooks, waders, sinkers, and bobber-stops (whatever they are)."

Now, many a westerner doesn't take all this much gear. Excepting a rod and reel (which holds the line), about all some take is a book full of flies and spinners.

Don L. Smith, the Salmon River outfitter, once assured me that all the "tackle" (besides rod and reel) a guy actually needed to fish the Middle Fork for trout, could be carried in a shirt pocket. Indeed, I once floated ninety miles of that fine trout stream with him, and the only "tackle" I used on that trip was a single old Gray Nymph. It caught and released trout every day, for ninety miles, and by golly, I had the good luck not to lose that fly for the whole trip.

Another time in British Columbia, Dalziel, another bush pilot and outfitter, and I took fifteen big Arctic grayling, In fifteen counted casts. We would each take a cast with the lone fly rod. and every cast took a fish. The only fly we used on that occasion was a No. 10 Sandy Mite. That was the only "tackle" except for the rod reel, and line.

Once upon a time, as Hawthorne would put it, I got the notion of stashing all necessary tackle in in a light fishing vest (except rod and reel of course). Then, any time I wanted to drop work and take off fishing, all that was necessary was to grab the rod (with reel already on it), and the vest; and be off.

Fishing tackle, like hash, accumulates. The notion was a good one until the vest gradually got so heavy with tackle I couldn't lift it. So it was necessary to start all over again. In considering the Arbogast list of what a Fisherman SHOULD take along, I can't forget a certain fishing hip, again down the Middle Fork with Don Smith. He'd wanted to go light, and I guess I really did take along too much tackle, gear, and duffel.

Don didn't say a word against it, until the trip was over. Then, looking at my big pile of gear, said, "Well, come again, and we'll do it some more. And if there's anything else you've got on your acreage over there, bring it along, too."

-- Dr. Todd

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

An Angler's Christmas

My apologies to Clement Clark Moore for butchering his classic, but I could not let the holidays pass without a shot at rewriting his beloved poem, with a fishing theme...

An Angler's Christmas

butchered by Dr. Todd

'Twas the night before Christmas and all across the lake
Not a creature was stirring, not even a snake
The stockings were hung in the cabin with care
In hopes they'd be filled with bugs made of deer hair

This angler was nestled all snug in his bed,
While visions of Pfluegers danced in my head;
Shakespeares and Heddons both old and brand new
All served to disrupt my long winter's snooze,

When down on the dock there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Worried about my Big O's in mint silver flash,
I tore open the door to investigate the splash.

The light reflecting from the nearly full moon
Gave the lustre of mid-day to my Dardevle spoons,
When, what to my shock down the hill should appear,
But a Skeeter bass boat filled with reindeer!
And a portly old fisherman, so lively and quick,
I saw it was the angler we knew as St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his reindeer disembarked,
And he whistled, and shouted, their names he did hark:
"Now, Bagley! now, Paw Paw! now, Norman and Zebco!
On, Arnold! on Rebel! on Jamison and Nebco!
To the top of the steps! to the end of the dock!
Then on to the shore, my grazing herd flock!"

As dry flies that before the stiffest breeze fly,
When they meet with the wind and blow in the sky,
So along the dock the bounders they flew,
Followed by the boat full of tackle, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the shore
Their prancing and pawing and reindeer like roar.
As I drew in my breath, and was turning around,
Up the steps St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in B.A.S.S. gear from head to foot,
And his Ranger Boats cap was blackened with soot;
A bundle of rods he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a trout bum just opening his pack.

But his eyes, they twinkled, his smile was so merry!
His hooks were all sharp, his reels were so cherry!
His Orvis fly rod was as lithe as a bow,
And his hand tied streamer whiter than snow;
A piece of his leader he held tight in his teeth,
And the rest of his line lay coiled like a wreath;

St. Nick the Angler adjusted his belly,
And it flubbered around like a worm made of jelly.
But despite his big girth he could handle a rod
And he had taken his share, in spite of his bod
He slipped in the house with nary a word
As I stared in disbelief at his grazing deer herd.

St. Nick got to work, and with a nod of his face
He gave his approval of my piscatorial cache
He spoke not a word, and went straight to his work,
Filling the stockings with baits made to jerk,
Arbogasts, Helins, Spoonplugs and Skinners
Bass Pro, Cabelas, and multi-blade spinners
The stockings were soon just bursting with treasure
And he threw in a Winston, just for good measure

Then laying his finger aside of his head,
He gave me a nod, and down the steps he fled;
Into his boat he jumped, with its promo decals
And he puttered off out of sight to fish with his pals

But I heard him exclaim, as he trolled out of sight,
"Good fishing to all, and to all anglers, a good-night!"

Dan Basore posted this great image of the South Bend factory workers sitting down to a holiday meal. As Dan noted, I hope everyone has as joyous a holiday season as these ladies seem to be having!

Merry Christmas!

-- Dr. Todd from Snowy Duluth

Monday, December 24, 2007

News of the Week, 24 December 2007

A million dollar fantasy fishing on-line game...the "grandmaster" of angling speaks...handlining for Michigan walleyes...the kiwis love their snappers...two new books for the fishing fanatic...One word: Mako! must be...the news of the week! And even fifteen inches of snow cannot stop it from coming your way!

The Big Lead: Ever played fantasy football? Well, the richest prize in the history of fantasy sports (a cool million) has been offered for...fantasy fishing?

The Stamford Advocate on how to hook kids on fishing.

The Tuscaloosa News warns us to restock the tackle box for the new year.

Words of advice from the "grandmaster" of angling, Steve Collins.

Tampa Bay On-Line reports that nighttime fishing is the best kind of fishing.

Hand-lining for Michigan walleyes has a rich history.

One Wisconsin family has found a new hobby: making fishing seats.

The Trenton Times tells us to avoid technology for a purer fishing experience.

A new book for the bookshelf: Angling and War: The Collision of Big Game Fishing and WWII by Mike Rivkin.

Fred Buller--of big pike fame--has an unexpected best seller.

The Oshkosh Northwestern reports the sad news that custom rod maker August F. Hager has passed on.

The Daily Camera reports on the most amazing fishing book ever.

One word brings a chill to all saltwater fisherman: Mako!

This week in Know Your New Zealand Fish: The Shapper.

The Youngstown Vindicator warns us to pay attention to fish hooks...

Finishing with a Flourish: The Billings Gazette warns us all to not sacrifice our hunting and fishing heritage in the name of energy.

Merry Christmas to all!

-- Dr. Todd from Snowy Duluth, Minnesota

Friday, December 21, 2007

Friday Funhouse

The Friday Funhouse

Video of the Week

Everyone loves a big fish video, but damn, this is one big catfish!

Things I Would Buy If I Could Afford Them

This CCBC Shur Strike gar minnow is not your ordinary trade minnow.

Tournament reels are always popular, but few are as neat as this Talbot No. 54 Tournament caster

In light of the recent article on Weber fly rod lures, these Weber flies have attracted some attention.

Spinning reel collectors seem abuzz about this Dam Quick Royal MDS 3500

The Heddon of the Week is this nice Heddon Giant Jointed Vamp in Alleny Stripey in the box.

This is a nice Moonlight Seagull in the box.

Another great bait is this Moonlight Pikaroon in the box.

We don't often opine on vintage outboard motors, which is a bit of shame. Here is a neat Firestone 3.5 HP motor.

Commemorative reels are a bit overrated, in my opinion, but one can find little to fault in this 1982 Gold Anniversary Hardy Fly Reel.

Spook collectors can rarely find a bait as pristine as this Vintage Pumpkin Spin in Blue Chrome in the box.

With the number of fishing history books increasing, it would be a good bet to stock up on these titles while they're still available. Otherwise, you'll be paying blood, like the high bidder for this copy of Martin Keane's classic fly rod book will end up paying.

Have a safe and happy weekend! Be good to each other, and yourself.

-- Dr. Todd from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Review: The NFLCC Gazette, December 2007

Last week also brought the latest NFLCC Gazette, Vol. 31, No. 114 (December 2007) and it did not disappoint. The oldest fishing history journal in America, it has a number of interesting articles and features.

The first article is by Bob Guist, entitled "Phantom Devon & McGinty Minnows." It is a nice overview of these popular baits from the author of a book of the best book on the subject.

There were some nice retrospective features this issue. One by Spencer de Vito of Soldotna, Alaska entitled "Straight Copper and a Pflueger #4" was an interesting piece (I thought I'd read it someplace before but can't recall off hand where). The jewel of the issue is Jack Looney's hilarious "Uncle Norton" which made me laugh out loud. Jack's pieces are among my very favorites.

Marc Dixon offered a couple of pieces, "Boundless Opportunities" and "The Top 12 Undervalued, to Buy Now Sleepers." Ken Bernoteit penned a nice article entitled "Make Your Own Picture Display," complete with diagrams.

Dan Basore's columns are always welcome, and he did not disappoint when he wrote "Carl A. Johnson: The Lure Making Dentist." It covers the background history of the great Johnson Automatic Striker. Basore is one of the best in the business, and I wish The NFLCC Gazette would offer him a regular column so we could read more of his historical tackle research heretofore reserved, sadly, only for subscribers of Midwest Outdoors.

Another interesting article is by Lee Bontrager and is entitled "Delbert Fowler 'Bus' Pealer--Fisherman/Hunter." It covers the history of Bus Pealer lures, which I hate to admit I had never heard of before.

Finally, my own small contribution is entitled "Mr. Shakespeare Goes to Washington" and covers the role William Shakespeare played in helping craft the NRA Codes for fishing tackle manufacturers in 1933. I penned it in honor of my late, great friend Harvey Garrison, who passed away one year to the day I received this issue in the mail. Harvey, you are still missed by all of us.

All in all a good issue--not a great issue but definitely a good one. And Jack Looney's piece is one that should not be missed.

-- Dr. Todd

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Discourse on Trade Tackle

I posted this little blurb a couple of years ago on Reel Talk, but felt it was worth revisiting as it is a subject poorly understood by most collectors. I revised and updated it for the blog.

A Discourse on Trade Tackle:
The Structure of the Pre-World War II Fishing Tackle Trade

by Dr. Todd E.A. Larson

Nothing confuses people more than trying to figure out which company was a manufacturer, a wholesaler, or a retailer. Hopefully this little discourse will help you to better understand how the fishing tackle you so greatly covet made its way from a factory (or a basement) into the fisherman's hands.

The structure of selling for the pre-WWII tackle trade (like many others) was approximately as follows:

Manufacturer -- Wholesaler -- Jobber/Distributor -- Retailer.

This little graph begs a few questions. The first is what is the difference between a wholesaler and a jobber? Think of it along distribution lines. A Wholesaler was a BIG company whose buying power allowed it to purchase huge loads of goods (read TACKLE) cheaply from manufacturers. Then the wholesaler would sell at true wholesale prices to a number of other distributors, called Jobbers or Distributors, who then would mark up the goods and sell to a number of retailers in their local region. Thus three people had profited from your fishing tackle before it ever got into a retailer's hands, who would then profit from the mark up to retail price. In other words, four people sometimes made money from the same piece of tackle. The bigger the retailer (think Target or KMart here) the more likely they could cut out the distributor or even the wholesaler and buy direct from the manufacturer.

Let's confuse things even more. Some wholesalers sold directly to retailers, cutting out the jobber. Most of these Jobbers advertised themselves as wholesale houses but in reality they were one step removed from wholesaling, as they were distributors. Some jobbers became wholesalers, some wholesaled in one field and distributed in another. Some wholesalers set up distribution networks (think Marshall-Wells Associate Stores here). Large wholesalers controlled the means of manufacturing for many items (think Diamond Manufacturing Company, both an actual manufacturer of items like Keen Kutter axes and a distributor of fishing tackle under the same name).

Let's not forget that many manufacturers sold directly to the trade; why do you think catalogs were so important in the tackle industry? Far greater profit was made when you ordered from Heddon or Shakespeare than from selling to Shapleigh at wholesale prices, and watching three other people make money from your Kazoo Trolling Bug. Further to confuse things, many manufacturers also acted as distributors--look at early Shakespeare catalogs and find, in horror, Heddon fishing tackle.

How does this affect fishing tackle? Take for example a Montague reel marked Marshall Field Conway. Clearly made directly for Marshall Field and a true "trade reel." How about a Montague reel marked Rainbow? Defiance? No trade name specific to one company, these reels show up in both wholesaler and distributor catalogs. These "generic" trade reels as they were called, were often bought in huge numbers by wholesalers like Simmons who would then sell them to Jobbers/Distributors throughout their region, which explains why they show up in every one else's catalogs. Confuse the issue even further, because Montague retained the right to sell these "generic" trade reels directly to the public--a little known fact is that Thos. Chubb was Montague's retail outlet. So a Defiance reel is both a trade reel and a true Montague reel at the same time!

I would argue true trade tackle is imprinted with a specific trade name, usually a registered trade mark or the name of the firm, of the company for whom they were made. Sometimes this trade tackle was sold to jobber/distributors, but they remain trade tackle only if sold with a unique wholesaler trade name (Bingham's Uncle Tom, Shapleigh's Diamond, etc.) and NOT OFFERED for sale under that name by the manufacturer. In other words, a reel marked in such a way that they can be traced back to ONE source. Initerestingly, this does not always mean a wholesaler; true trade reels were also made for distributors (Morley-Murphy e.g.) and retailers (Marshall Field, Klein's Sporting Goods, etc.).

So in my humble opinion here are your categories of trade tackle:

True Trade Tackle (made specifically for one company for retail or distribution and marked with a unique trade name specific to one company)

Generic Trade Tackle (imprinted with a generic name like Defiance intended for wholesale or retail by manufacturer, wholesaler, jobber, and retailer)

Blank Trade Tackle (trade reels made with no identifying mark and purposely left blank to facillitate sale on every level. Sometimes these are found in boxes that identify mftr, wholesaler, distributor, or retailer which would then make them Generic Trade Tackle).

Unique Trade Tackle (made by a manufacturer on contract to commemorate events, advertise something, for fishing clubs, etc. Very rare as they were cost prohibitive.)

The next time you get a piece of marked trade tackle, try and place it within the framework of the pre-World War II structure of the fishing tackle trade!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Voices from the Past: Fred Davis

Here is a neat article from The Syracuse American and its outdoor editor Fred Davis, dated 1981. It details the changing nature of fishing tackle at the beginning of a very tumultuous time in fishing tackle history.

Outdoor Insight

by Fred Davis

Louisville, Ky.--At the recent 54th Annual Conference of the Outdoor Writers of America. four spokesmen for the fishing tackle industry gave their viewpoint on tackle trends. John Marsman of Heddon Fishing Tackle Co.. Dick Kotis of Arbogast Co.. Rex Gerlach of Daiwa and Joe Hughes of Rebel Lures told the gathered writers how they saw changes occurring in the fishing market.

Marsman said firmly. "There is no doubt that graphite as a rod-building material is here and it will continue to grab an increased share of the market."

In the blending of glass and graphite, depending upon the amount of each material used, products can be constructed to accommodate many kinds of fishing. Blending allows you to make a rod stronger with more glass than graphite, and lighter and faster if the materials ratios are reversed.

Heddon says a mix of 65 percent graphite and 35 percent fiber glass is perhaps the best formula for most fishing rods. They are experimenting also with a magnesium fiber glass and that they have high hopes of blending it with the graphite.

One of the major purposes of mixing the two materials is to produce a less expensive rod, since graphite is considerably higher in price.

"Boron," Marsman feels, "is not a real factor in the rod market and probably won't be for years."

He also indicated that fly fishing is on a decided upswing and that as the numbers of participants increase (and this is expected over the next few years) that more rods from various manufacturers probably will be made available to that market.

Dick Kotis is perhaps the main spokesman in the fishing lure industry. Arbogast Lure Co., of which he is president, is the world's largest manufacturer of fishing lures.

Of interest was his opening statement, "The natural finish plugs that have been so popular the past several years have stabilized and there will be a stable demand for them. Chrome finish lures seem to be more popular again."

Kotis also indicated that for perhaps two reasons there seems to be a trend toward smaller rods and line test as improved fishing lines have allowed anglers to use lines considered to weak or light just a few seasons ago.

"More people are fishing and this has put more pressure on the streams, lakes and ponds," he added. "Fish simply are getting harder to catch and it calls for more sophistication. The smaller lures are easier to cast on the lighter tackle and they seem to fool fish better."

So far as the lure business is concerned, manufacturers have become aware of specialized markets and are building lures just for those areas. Lake Erie walleye fishing has been superb, and it has sparked interest in walleyes in other areas as better lures and developed to catch them. The landlocked striped bass industry has spread across the country, and the manufacturers are not making specific lures to be used for them.

Rex Gerlach, who represents Daiwa, world's largest fishing tackle manufacturer, made an interesting point. Gerlach said that most major advances in fishing tackle have resulted from discoveries or breakthroughs in other industries.

The French textile revolution made possible braided lines, while the plastics industries discoveries gave us fly lines, monofilament and fiber glass fishing rods. "Developing technology in other areas has allowed us to produced startling new fishing tackle," he said.

He emphasized a trend that started some years ago and seems to be continuing — the use of lighter and smaller lures. In the 1950s, the standard bass lure weighed 1/2 to 5/8 ounce. By the 1960s, the average weight averaged 3/8 to 1/2 ounce. Today, lures continue to get smaller and many fishermen are casting smallmouth bass lures that weigh only a 1/4 ounce.

Joe Hughes of Rebel Lures who enjoys his trips to Oneida Lake and looking forward to see what his lures will have on the Lake Ontario salmonid fishery, said that an in-depth survey of Anglers showed that many (about 40 percent) of all lures are purchased because of peer influence — a friend suggest the lure. "What surprised them" Hughes said, "was that about 30 percent of all lures are sold because of recommendations of outdoor writers, TV broadcasters and magazine articles."

Hughes also said that he sees about the end of the flippin' era, a method of vertically fishing a lure around obstructions for bass. Striped bass continue to increase in numbers and size as they are stocked in lakes in every part of the United States, and Rebel will be developing lures for these markets.

In a roundtable discussion, it was brought out that the numbers of fishermen had leveled off for several years, but suddenly has began increasing. Kotis felt that a salt water license will have to come to all coastal states if we are to have the money to managed this resource properly. There was general agreement that today's tackle is better built for the same comparable price and that tackle probably will continue to improve even though it seems the end of a new lure configuration is near.

Each agreed when the industry thought they had answered all the tackle buyers wishes and had no more ideas for a new lure, a Texan invents the spinnerbait and that's set the tackle world reeling again with all sorts of variations of the hairpin-style bait from bass to walleye and even trout fishing.

-- Dr. Todd

Monday, December 17, 2007

The News of the Week, 17 December 2007

A revolutionary new spinning reel?...kleptomaniac caught with a reel in his pants...Vince Wilfork terrorizes quarterbacks and fish...a huge tuna...the end of the Irish Rapala...Gary Loomis is a great guy...who sells your used fishing tackle?...The kiwis love their lemonfish...a fishing rod saved Eric Clapton's must be THE NEWS OF THE WEEK!

The Big Lead: Doug Hannon promises to revolutionize the spinning reel with his Wave Spin Spool...

From the What Was He Fishing For File, a.k.a. Is that a reel in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? The Herald Mail reports on a man caught in a store bathroom with a $700 reel stuffed down his pants.

The New York Post reports that New York Anglers are reel losers, at least when it comes to quotas on flounders. And football.

The North Carolina Aquarium is holding a fishing school.

Iowans Celebrate: The First Ice Walleye is here!

The Jacksonville Daily Progress find the best xmas gift ever.

The Republican Herald reports that Dick's Sporting Goods is given away thousands of dollars of tackle for the fisherman.

The Herald Tribune opines on a Jack Attack. profiles Vince Wilfork, badass defensive star for the New England Patriots, feared pass rusher, and fisherman.

Ron Schara of the Minneapolis Star Tribune opines on internet fish stories.

Holy mackeral! Sign On San Diego reports on a
massive yellowfin tuna
. You stay classy, San Diego.

From the Better Start Grabbing Them Now File: The Irish-made Rapala is a thing of the past as Rapala closes their factory in Invernin.

From the Don't Leave Your Tackle Lying Around File: Poor pooch gets hooked in nose by Mepps Spinner.Thank goodness he's OK.

Ice Fisherman: Learn the "reel weeds structure on a string" method and you'll improve your catch.

The Register Guard details the conservation efforts of famed rodmaker Gary Loomis.

Michigan Ice Fishing is locked and loaded.

Southern Oregon Mail Tribune shows us how to become outdoor women.

The Wall Street Journal details the truth about the used fishing tackle market: "85% of used metal baseball bats are sold in stores, while 94% of used fishing rod-and-reel combos are sold by individuals, either on Web sites like eBay or Craigslist or at venues such as garage sales, according to the NSGA."

This Week in Know Your New Zealand Fish: The Lemonfish.

Finishing with a Flourish: How a fishing rod helped save guitar legend Eric Clapton's life.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!

-- Dr. Todd

Friday, December 14, 2007

Friday Funhouse

The Friday Funhouse

Video of the Week

Anderson Cooper from CNN wants to go Noodling...

Things I Would Buy If I Could Afford Them

Your Heddon of the week is this unbelievable combo

Has there been a nicer fly reel on eBay than this 1906 Hardy Perfect Special?

One of my all-time favorite lures: The Pflueger Maybug.

Nat Uslan is one of my favorite rodmakers, and here is a nice example of his five-sided work.

This Lurette Living Bait Lureby the Canadian Needle & FIshing Tackle Company (CN&FT) is a very rare Canadian lure.

Here is a nice Shakespeare underwater minnow in a beat-up box.

These CCBC side-hook Sarasotas do not come around very often.

River Runt Spooks are always popular, particularly when they are in Yellow Water Wave...

This is only the second Freeport Hook in the original wooden box I have seen.

Have a safe and happy weekend!

-- Dr. Todd