Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dr. Todd's Mailbag: 22 October 2008

Dr. Todd's Mailbag

It's been some time since I ran the mailbag, and it's not because of lack of questions. Lots going on so some things have to be put on the back burner, but I will try and make it a monthly feature as it is a lot of fun. Here it is:


I seen the guys talking about Hi Quality Montague on ORCA and always wanted to know about this one like Year? Rare? etc any help would be appreciated. It has the little oval with fish and Montague OFFSHORE written in oval.


Dear Bruce,

After having consulted with my great friends, the esteemed Montague historians Jim Garrett and Skip Brooks, I think I can give some information on this reel.

There are two possibilities with this reel. First, it may be a very late Montague/Ocean City reel dating from 1932-1934. When Montague discontinued their trade line in 1930 they inaugurated a series of reels marked with this same Montague oval and using traditional Montague fishing rod names (Fishkill, Rapidan, etc.). This was continued for a short time after Ocean City purchased the firm in 1933.

The second option, and far more likely in our opinion, is that what you have is a hybrid saltwater model constructed after Ocean City had purchased Edward vom Hofe in 1940. Garrett and Brooks have seen other reels with similar vom Hofe-type footplates as this, but clearly an Ocean City product. That they would use a traditional Montague rod name is not surprising; what is a bit of a shock is that they put the name Montague to it as well. I believe this is what this reel is.

-- Dr. Todd

Dr. Todd,

I hope this note finds you well. I was watching eBay the other day and saw a Johnson reel marked "Shy Poke" sell for a lot of money. Do you have any information about this trade name? Thanks! T.B.

Dear T.B.,

I saw that auction as well, and the one that followed it showing a Bronson baitcaster marked Shy Poke. Both listed it as coming from a Minneapolis/St. Paul area distributor, and the Johnson was additionally marked "S.M."

I regret to inform you that I don't know who sold Shy Poke tackle. I do know it was available in the late 1950s and 1960s in many, many retail stores in the WI-MN-IA region, so it is likely the distributor was based in the Twin Cities. It was advertised in a number of small retail and department stores in a wide variety of newspapers, including the following ad from The Waterloo Daily Courier on 24 April 1958.

What is known is that Shy Poke was used on rods, reels, and tackle boxes, and likely a host of other items. Anyone with any information on Shy Poke please drop me a note and I'll post an update.

By the way, a Shy Poke is a colloquialism for a Heron--which is why the Shy Poke logo was a circle with a heron in the middle.

-- Dr. Todd

I saw that your poll indicated the economy has not slowed down most collectors in their search for tackle. Do you think this will be true a year from now if the economy keeps tanking? Thanks.

Dave T.

Dear Dave,

An interesting question, but one that requires a huge amount of speculation. I think the majority of collectors love this stuff, and are going to keep collecting regardless of the state of the economy. Of course, it might make you rethink that $5000 purchase, but collectors are a smart group and can make up for it in other ways. I believe we are already seeing the reemergence of the good old-fashioned swap/trade. Many collectors who have never sold a thing are now moving some tough pieces in order to add other tough pieces to their collections. All of this means that tackle that has never been on the market before is now available for the first time.

The bottom line is that tackle collectors will collect tackle, even in tough times.

-- Dr. Todd

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