Wednesday, April 30, 2008

More Paul Young

It seems there has been a virtual explosion of information on Paul Young of late. Not only did the two-part article on Young, South Bend and the Comfo-Grip controversy generate some interesting information, but a new thread on Clark's board penned by Young's granddaughter may very well turn what we know about Young and his rodmaking venture on its ear. You can read the whole thread (in particular page 2) by Clicking Here.

In the meantime, Jack Bright sent me this fascinating anecdote, as he knew the Youngs personally.

Young and Southbend (SB), you opened a window in my past: When I was 12 yrs. old I bought my first fly rod from Paul at his neat little store, corner of Grand River St. and Vicksburg, Detroit in May 1934. My parents had surprised me that past Christmas with a new beautiful bike, but six months later without their knowledge, after being infatuated with fly fishing at 10 years old, by my uncle in Traverse City, I was hooked on the sport. Had been to Young`s store many times, we were 'buds' of a sort along with his neat wife Martha Marie, so I sold my bike for $12 and bought a South Bend 8 1/2 footer from the Young`s. Always was puzzled in later years about SB being at the Young store. NOW I know, and thanks.

Selling bike almost got me whacked, but Mom stepped in and said, 'he`s safer fishing that riding around these busy streets' --- Thanks Mom!

A great tidbit of Young history.

-- Dr. Todd

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Voices from the Past: Cal Johnson

Cal Johnson was one of the leading outdoor writers in America, having been named editor of Outdoor America, the magazine of the Isaac Walton League, in 1926. He was a prominent musky fisherman as well, holding the world record for a short time with a massive 67 pound fish. Here is one of his many articles, taken from The Frederick Post, 12 June 1925.

-- Dr. Todd

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The News of the Week: 28 April 2008

A Jaws-like hunt is on for a killer Northern Pike...the return of a tackle box restores one woman's faith in humanity...confessions of a fishing tackleaholic...Rapala makes a move that has Wall Street's attention...Striper Wars...the ugly truth behind Cabela's...five legendary fishing lures...rodmaker Todd Ushijima gets must be THE NEWS OF THE WEEK!

The Big Lead: A Jaws-like Northern Pike haunts the waters of this British canal, eating ducks and terrorizing the local angling populace.

The South Bend Tribune reports on a bass class that hooks students

The Detroit Free Press tells us this Pflueger patriarch is worth the money.

Foster's Daily Democrat poses the age old query: Daddy, can we go fishing?

Apparently, it's time to break out the fishing poles.

Missing, the return of her fishing tackle restored her faith in humanity. Fishing there anything they can't do?

The Utica Observer-Dispatch declares jigging can produce tasty walleye.

This Costa Rican adventure yielded the first Pacific sailfish.

This Canadian fishing pro is living the dream.

From the Psychological Angler Files: Confessions of a Fishing Tackleaholic.

Why Tarpon Time is a serious time for anglers.

Fish are practically jumping into boats in Tennessee now.

Striper Wars: An American Fish Tale.

The Arlington Daily Herald opines on five lures that made a lasting legacy.

Rapala begins the long road towards buying back its own shares.

A profile of a fishing knot: Vic Dunaway's uni-knot.

From the Headline of the Week Files: "Bus Route Blow for Angler's Shop."

The Virginia Fly Fishing Festival is profiled, along with fly tier Shane Buckner.

The ugly truth on how Cabela's works.

Sam Cook on the Muskies of Lake Vermillion.

The legendary Detroit River walleye run.

The Kane County Chronicle, you know--the small Chicago daily that still covers outdoor sports, gives you 11 lures to put in your tackle box.

Finishing with a Flourish: The Vallejo Times-Herald profiles rodmaker Todd Ushijima.

-- Dr. Todd

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Lang's Auction Live Blog Part 2

Yesterday was a blast--got a lot of emails and a few posts about it. Looks like today should be a big day, with many premium items coming up for sale. I will be in and out all day but I'll leave the blog "live" so people can post messages. Of course, they have to wait until I can approve them and submit them, but don't let that stop you!

-- Dr. Todd

Friday, April 25, 2008

Lang's Auction Live Blog

Lang's Auction Live Blog

I'm going to try something new today--live blogging. Hope it works!

By the way, apparently this only works with Explorer 6.0 or Firefox 2.0...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Lang's Week Part 3

Today, we finish the panel of experts up with the last two, Jeff Kieny and Richard Lodge. Then I get my chance!

Richard Lodge is not only the editor of four New England newspapers, he is also the editor of The Reel News and the author of the seminal work on raised pillar fly reels. Here is his list:

Besides the wealth of great Ernest Schwiebert artwork and books, and the fabulous rare flies by such legends as Reuben Cross, Art Flick, Herm Christian, The Dettes and even a Theodore Gordon fly, there are quite a few things that caught my eye:

1286: Early English Brass Spike Foot Trout Fly Reel. How often do you see a reel that just screams "I'm older than dirt!"? This is a cool old English reel from the days when you either clamped your reel on the rod or poked the reel's spike through a hole in the rod butt. This one will definitely go above the $300-400 estimate.

874: Early Metal Tackle Shop Fish Sign. This is a great piece of American folk art and would look great in any collector's display room. Hey, the catalog says it might be "an old repaint." Maybe that will keep bidders away so I can take it home!

And finally, 1252 Meisselbach Amateur No. 2 Horizontal Trout reel. This looks like a hybrid that I can't find in Phil White's excellent books on Meisselbachs. A sidemount Amateur with BOTH a front click and a finger brake? Talk about prototypes, this could be one of 'em.

1252: Meisselbach Amateur No.2 Horizontal Trout Reel

Jeff Kieny is one of the world's foremost experts in hooks and harnesses and folk art baits. Here are his great chocies:

No. 597 -- 1810 Book; Strutt - Sports of the People of England. What a great winter fireside read. While I'd be tempted to read the fishing section first, this is the type of book I'd happily read cover to cover...

No. 1427 -- Rare Patent Model Stuart Marked Reel and Rod ca. 1865 in it's original case. If a tackle collector were limited to only one object in his collection, this piece would make a great choice. What age and character. It's hard to imagine a more interesting or unique antique tackle item.

No. 1693 -- Oscar Peterson Fish Plaque. Wow, amazing detail and personality in evidence. Lots to study and appreciate. I just know I would never tire of it.

No. 1854 -- Adirondack Pack Basket. I've always loved to pick up interesting "go-with's". This basket has great color and a warm patina. It definitely ranks high on the go-with scale - even though my display area is limited, I know I'd find a place for it.

The panel of experts have weighed in with some inspired choices. While I do not claim the same expertise, I will weigh in with my eleven choices on what I found neat and interesting in this auction. They follow in no particular order.

741: Collection of Original Louis Rhead Ephemera. I love Louis Rhead and his work, and this is a neat compliment of his books, magazines, and original ephemera.

752: 1887 Thos. H. Chubb Fishing Tackle Rod Catalog. While most eyes will be following the 1907 Heddon catalog, it is this 1887 Chubb that has my attention. Well before the catastrophic fire that precipitated the sale of the company to Montague, this is Chubb at his height--one of the leading rod makers in the world. Plus the cover has that awesome Henshall-Van Antwerp Reel on it.

1204: Scarce Leonard Marked Bi-Metal Trout Fly Reel. One of the most coveted fly reels of all time is the Bi-Metal Leonard Trout reel. This is a beauty as it is uncleaned and unpolished. This is one of the 10 greatest reels ever.

1235: RARE Coin Silver Bradford, Boston Trout Reel. Coin silver reels are very rare, but add the Bradford & Anthony, Boston stamping and you get something really, really special. What a wonderful reel this is.

1282: McCulloch NY Nickel Plated Trout Fly Reel. Very little is known of James McCulloch of Rochester, New York. This makes this one of those trade reels that hopefully will spur the new owner to do some research and flesh out the history of this trade house.

1444: B.A & W Marked Brass Ball Handle Reel. This is an exceptionally rare Barton, Alexander & Waller trade reel from New York state. Someone will be going home with a truly rare trade reel.

1633: Rare Antique 9 1/2' Charles Wheeler Trout Fly Rod. Charlie Wheeler is one of the most overlooked of the great Maine rodmakers. This 9 1/2' model has wonderful eye appeal, and is the kind of rod you can only truly appreciate if you hold it in your hand.

1593: Rare Orvis Presentation Rod Owned by Clark Gable. I am not a big believer in "celebrity" fishing tackle, but I love this presentation set by Orvis not for its Clark Gable pedigree but for its incredible style and beauty.

1839: 2 Large Unknown Tuttle Musky Spinners. Of all the many Tuttle items up for sale, I found this incredibly scarce Musky spinners to be the ones I would go for.

2072: Charles Kellman Flyrod Minnow Lure. There is some incredible fly rod baits up for auction, but my eye was drawn to this little masterpiece by one of the all time greats: Charles Kellman of Detroit, Michigan. What an incredible piece.

2196: Empire City Top Water Bait in Box. This Abbey & Imbrie Empire City brand Decker-style bait is a tough one, especially to find in the box. A nice combo at probably an affordable price!

-- Dr. Todd

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Lang's Week Part 2

Lang's Week Part 2

Continued from yesterday, we have a whole new slate of expert opinions on the upcoming Lang's auction.

We start of with James K. Garrett. Garrett is one of the short list of collectors who is extremely knowledgeable in multiple areas of collecting. Here are two of his choices:

1) 1427: RARE Patent Model Stuart Marked Reel and Rod This Wm. M. Stuart item is one of the weirdest tackle contraptions I have ever seen, and I didn't fall off the tater truck yesterday. It looks like either an early fire hose nozzle or some form of Victorian Colonic hygiene device. However it is actually the earliest and rarest rod reel combo ever constructed. It was patented August 29th, 1865, just months after the end of the American Civil War, and comes with its original velvet lined wood box. In the much loved and respected works of Steve Vernon and Marry Kelly, careful notice has been taken of this historic item. I suspect it is vastly undervalued at the estimated value of $5-$7K. If there was ever an item that would be the center piece of an early tackle collection, this has to be it.

2) 1428: Shakespeare Hoosier Indiana Style Reel. Collectors who are drawn to Indiana style reels invariably put two models somewhere on their A-list. The first is usually the CCBC Wawasee, one of the few reels ever offered for sale by the company. The other is the Hoosier, from the Shakespeare Company, which produced literally hundreds of reel models ranging from fly to casting to salt water. However, the Hoosier was a unique style and name and was offered for only a very short period. It can be found in three varieties as I recall. The reel is harder to find than the estimated value ($100-$150) indicates. I have seen them offered in the $300-400 range and easily sell. What is especially fetching on this reel is the intact under spool line guide (which many fisherman removed) and the often missing spring wire spool latch.

L.P. Brooks is likewise a multi-threat collector with broad knowledge in many areas. Here are his choices:

1) 1431: 2 Vintage Boxed Go-ite Casting Reels A pleasant break from chasing the heavy hitter items is this nice pair of boxed Goite reels. Always an interesting design item. You seldom run across a pair, boxed, with original paper. This lot provides a unique opportunity to quickly plus up your Goite collection without breaking the bank at Monte Carlo.

2) 1436: A. Clerk & Co. NY Brass Ball Handle Reel This super ball handle reel brings with it a sense of reel collecting history. A Clerk & Co, were the predecessors to Abbie & Imbrie and provided a fine line of quality products for the discerning fisherman of that era. Although not perfect, it a fine example of the reels of that era and would be an A+ addition to any collection.

Gary Smith is not just the assistant editor of the NFLCC Magazine and the reason I start reading every edition from back-to-front, he is a dedicated collector of many things including carded flies. Here are his inspired choices:

I don't believe I've seen everything listed in the Lang auction because, as usual, it's a bit overwhelming and I tend to get sidetracked clicking on individual lots for a better look. Excuse me if my choices are a bit vague, but I find it impossible, at least at this point, to narrow them down. You'll see....

1) Just about any of the 240 Ernest Schwiebert Items There are so many things listed that belonged to Schwiebert, and I'm torn between the flies he tied and some of his original artwork. This is a rare opportunity to pick and choose between personally crafted items by a true legend. I'm tempted to place a handful of bids and hope that at least one hits the mark. It would be an honor to own, and cherish, something that was a part of his life.

2) Vintage Canoe Seats The canoe seats are terrific. I don't have room for an honest to God old, original canoe, but a vintage seat would display nicely in my fishing inner sanctum. What a neat visual of an earlier, slow-paced and carefree time!

3) The Tuttle Items. This must be a record for sheer volume of Tuttle items listed. I love Tuttle bugs and I especially like the handsome, early two-piece pasteboard boxes. Talk about display appeal!

4) 1700: Oscar Peterson 9" Pike Fish Decoy Oscar Peterson pike decoy. I'm not a spearing decoy collector, but to me, Peterson decoys are in a class all by themselves. I am enthralled with the sweeping contours, the instantly familiar style and find the paint enormously appealing. There are two listed in this auction and I like both of them.

In my dream of dreams, I attend a Lang's auction just after cashing in a mega millions lottery ticket. And what's the fun of living if we can't dream?

Chris Labuz, the Horrocks-Ibbotson king, weighs in on his choices from the catalog and comes up with the following pics:

1) 384: Exceptional Mead Tied Praying Mantis Fly Of the 10,000 or so flies in the catalog, #384 Exceptional Hand Tied Praying Mantis is just a small work of art. Just wonderful detail.

2)1427: RARE Patent Model Stuart Marked Reel and Rod My fascination with all antiques and gears leads me to this item. The imagination and talent that went into this 1865 classic is remarkable.

3) 885: Early Blown Glass Fish Egg Hatchery Jar. How to have fun serving drinks at your next party when your "favorite" guest is drinking out of a glass used for fermenting salmon eggs.

Patrick Garner is in recovery right now, having just finished his epic book Playing With Fire: The Life & Fly Rod of Eustis W. Edwards, due out at the end of May. He came out of hiding just long enough to send the following choices:

Couple favorites (or eye-catchers)...

1) 51: Ernest Schwiebert Original Art for Trout Fishing. Schwiebert sketch of rods by Thomas, Edwards & Payne.

2) 326: Exceptional Framed Dettes Fly Collection. The Dettes have always been my favorite Catskill tyers.

3) 800: Fly Rod Maker H.S. Gillum Ephemera Pinky Gillum ephemera, including letterhead etc. The most exciting item in this group is his salesman's bamboo rod section, a further indication that he actively solicited rod sales!

4) 1545: 7' Carlson? Mount Carmel 5 Sided Fly Rod. A 7' Sam Carlson "Mt Carmel" 5-sided trout rod, no doubt a tribute to his original days w/ the Edwards.

That's it! My thanks to everyone for contributing. Tomorrow I get my shot at dissecting the Lang's catalog.

-- Dr. Todd

Lang's Week Part I

Once again, it's Lang's Week here at Fishing for History! The auction catalogs are out--and they are worth every penny, as I stated last week. Here is a copy of the Lang's ebay catalog on-line, all 2297 items.

 With the greatest fishing tackle auction in the world set for Friday and Saturday, we thought we'd return to a very popular feature from the fall auction: surveying knowledgeable collectors and asking them to pick out the items of note, interest, or historical relevance that caught their eye. They had two provisos--not to choose an item they were going to bid on (duh), and not to worry about choosing the most expensive item.

The panel of experts picked some fascinating choices, and then explained why. As always they are divided up by individuals. We'll run the first group today and the second tomorrow. You'll have to wait until Thursday to see my choices, and then Friday and Saturday I hope to do some "live" blogging.

Dean Smith is as his name implies, a dean among collectors. With 30 years of collecting knowledge behind him, he has pretty much seen it all. Here are his choices:

#1228: Unmarked 1874 German Silver Click Reel. I'm a sucker for reels with inscriptions and this one, dated 1874, is a beauty. My pal, Tony Flynn, owned this reel some 20 years I've seen it and know it's a nice reel.

1247: Scarce Conroy, Bissett & Malleson German Reel. Conroy, Bisset & Malleson reels are pretty rare ...and finding a small one in such nice shape, well, that's as good as it gets.

1427: RARE Patent Model Stuart Marked Reel and Rod: This one may be a one-of-a-kind and is worthy of centerpiece status in the best of collections.

1434: RARE Fasoldt NY Brass Ball Handle Reel. Just look at it...reels don't get much cooler.

1596: Ultra Rare 6' Edwards "Quadrate" Fly Rod. I'm not a rod guy ...but if I was, a 6' Edwards Quad would do the trick!

91: Ernest Schwiebert Original Art for Trout Fishing. I like most all of the Schwiebert sketches, but this one, of Thaddeaus Norris is something special. A sketch of the father of fly fishing by a master of fly fishing.

1884: Rare Early Fishing Tintype in Case. For me, the best item in the whole dang auction is this diminutive and wonderful tintype of some old time anglers and their gear. Please don't bid on it. Thank you.

Jack Bright, Michigan State booster, contributor to this blog, and one of the most informed collectors around, sent us this neat list of choices:

If, IF I had the extra bucks, etc., three things I'd go for

1. 1203: RARE Leonard Marbleized Trout Fly Reel.

2. 304: Original Lee Wulff Painting 1958 Atlantic Salmon

3. 369: Shakespeare President II Model 7590 Fly Reel.

The newly engaged Robin Sayler's collecting knowledge belies his age; don't let the fact he is an undergraduate at Michigan Technological University fool you. He knows his stuff, particularly Pflueger reels.

1352: G.W. Gayle & Son No.3 Kentucky Casting Reel. I always like these. Kentucky style reels are my favorite and this one is
one of the best looking in my opinion.

1364: Rare Worth Enterprise Mfg German Silver Reel. The Worth is not a particularly rare reel but they don't show up in this
style very often. This is an early and hard to find version.

1205A: RARE Julius Vom Hofe Perforated Rim Trout Reel. I don't know very much about Vom Hofe reels but this one is great looking. I think it is one of the best looking fly reels I've seen. I could probably make room for it in my collection if it didn't cost as much as my car.

1399: Pflueger Buckeye Casting Reel in Rare Box. Just like the worth mentioned above, the Buckeye is a common reel but the box this one comes in is hard to find. They don't show up with labels this crisp.

1405: Four Vintage Casting Reels. I'm a hoarder of parts reels and here's a chance to get some hard to find parts. There's a couple nice reels in there and whether you need some of the parts to fix a reel you have, or you have the parts to fix one of these it would be worth it. They should stay relativly cheap.

Robert A. Miller needs no introduction to collectors. ORCA's Pflueger Pfacts columnist for the past ten years, he is the author of a number of seminal works on Pflueger reels, including the forthcoming history of the Pflueger Akron and Summit reels. Here are his choices:

Several items that caught my attention:

1) 1364: Rare Worth Enterprise Mfg German Silver Reel. A first Enterprise (Not  E.A. Pflueger) Worth in beautiful condition. Only sold for one year (late 1913 to late 1914). Probably tougher than E.A.'s Worth. His has WORTH in block italics. Enterprise's WORTH is in script.

2) 1399: Pflueger Buckeye Casting Reel in Rare Box. Box tougher than reel!

3) 1344: Early Kopf Freespool Raised Pillar Casting Reel. Any Kopf reel is a find!

More picks from top collectors tomorrow!

-- Dr. Todd

Sunday, April 20, 2008

News of the Week: 21 April 2008

A pro bass angler has his favorite swim baits flown to him during tournament at cost of $7000...a tournament for returning vets...longshoreman breaks world misses Ohio state walleye record by 1/4 Saddam's palace grounds...sneaking up on fish with new trolling motor invention...custom rod maker and outdoor personality Ralph Knisell passes away...a profile of bamboo fly rod maker Jesse must be THE NEWS OF THE WEEK!

The Big Lead: Bassmaster Elite Series pro Kotaro Kiriyama pays $7000 to have his favorite lure flown in from Japan during a bass tournament.

UPDATE: Tournament pro, noted collector, and all-around good guy Bernie Schultz writes to inform us that Kotaro did NOT have to pay these expenses himself, his sponsor had them flown in by courier. Thanks for setting the record straight, Bernie, and keep pullin' in those big ones!

This annual outing is designed to attract children.

Black Drum bring the fight to you.

These G.I.s set up a fishing tournament for returning veterans

The Green Bay Press Gazette takes a break from mourning about the Favre retirement to decry spring fishing as a freezing experience.

The one drawback of owning a successful bait shop: no fishing for you.

The Anniston Star reports giant catfish abound in Alabama, if you know where to find them

Indiana angler breaks Pennsylvania state record for Golden Rainbow Trout with 13.75 pound monster.

Longshoreman catches world record Yellowedge Grouper.

Massive new "Sportsman's Island" opens in Charleston, South Carolina.

While some parts of the country struggle with falling water tables, Colorado's booming reservoirs promise a great angling season.

Massive 16.13 pound walleye misses Ohio State Record by 3/100th of a pound.

30-minute battle on the Mighty Mississippi ends with a 76-pound Blue Catfish.

The Independent reports how fishing has returned to Saddam Hussein's palace grounds

The Kane County Chronicle tells us how new lures will hook fish, you

How kids can learn to think like a fish...

New invention allows you to better sneak up on fish with your trolling motor.

From the Tougher Than You File: The Duluth News-Tribune's Sam Cook reports on an 83-year old angler who survived a fall into the Brule River, 35 minutes in the chilling water, and a resultant heart attack.

British anglers are catching carp over 100-pounds.

From the Hope for the Future File: Even nuked coral reefs can come back, if we leave them alone. Just don't eat the coconuts.

Scientific America on the science of catch-and-release.

The Morris Daily Herald declares the right rod makes all the difference.

The Orlando Sentinel profiles ice decoy carver David Perkins.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports the sad news that Ralph Knisell, outdoor writer and custom rod builder, has passed away at 83. More on Knisell's life and career here

From the Spring Break Files: College students lands 7.5 pound, 27-inch Palamino Trout

The Cadillac News philosophizes that not all of fishing is catching fish.

Blue Ridge Now interviews bamboo fly rod maker Jesse Connor.

Finishing with a Flourish: The best outdoor writer in America, Sam Cook, gets one of his classic stories "the Old Man and the River" reprinted.

-- Dr. Todd

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Fishing for History Has Gone Global

Thought I'd share this with everyone, as I found it to be pretty cool. My little blog has now been read in over 80 different countries, but I thought I'd show you a recent two hour block from last Wednesday to give you a bit of a visual:

We've definitely gone global--20 different countries represented in just a two hour span! One of the things the sitemeter allows me to do is to see where visitors come from, and interestingly enough, most foreign visitors come via Google. Many of them stay and explore the site, and hopefully return again at a later date.

So to all my foreign visitors, welcome! I suggest if you are interested in the subject, you should explore the many links to the right, like Joe's Message Board and ORCA's Reel Talk, where you'll come across a ton of interesting information on fishing, fishing history, and collectable fishing tackle.

And no matter where you are, be good to others, and yourself.

-- Dr. Todd