Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dr. Todd's Mail Bag

Dr. Todd's Mailbag

Well it's been too long since I've opened the Mail Bag, but here is a sample of some of my favorite questions from the past couple of months:

Happy New Year Dr. Todd,
I wasn't going to email you direct but another Joe's board member authorized the harassment. Ha Ha! Anyway is a spinner stamped Old Reliable Fluted Bait Boston January 1902 common? The swivel on the bait looked similar to a McHarg but with larger rings attached to the brass swivel and it was stamped size 8. It sure looked like a common Skinner fluted bait. I came across one today and wasn't sure it was worth a chance so I passed on it. I collect early Canadian metal as it is more readily available up here in the north country and at times I pass on stuff I am unsure of. I might be able to pick this one up if there was any interest or if you know anyone that collects these.

All the best for the new year and keep up the great work on your Blog.
Jason H.


Well, I've got good news and bad news. The bad news is that Old Reliable 1902 fluted spinners are fairly common--usually in the $10-$20 range. The good news if the #8 is the largest and most difficult size to find, so it increases value (in good condition) to around $20-$30.

They were sold by H.A. Whittemore of Boston, who also by the way were sole distributors of G.M. Skinner baits. So it is likely they were made by Skinner as well.


Hy Professor Tod, First I want to give my congrats for you excellent page about Fishing´History. My name is Walter from Argentine. I have a Supersonic Heddon year 1958 aprox and I want to know something about the history this lure, samething date, history will be gratefull with me.

Dear Walter,

Thanks for writing! The Supersonic is a larger version of Heddon's popular Sonic lure, which was profiled in an article from a few months past.

Basically, its history follows closely the regular sonic, although it did not last as long in the Heddon catalogs. It was made in a bewildering number of colors and is a popular collectible. I have heard that certain colors, like Crystal Shad, were quite good fish catchers in s\altwater regions around the Gulf Coast.

-- Dr. Todd


I have a Johnson fishing reel (model johnson princess 100a) This reel is in a pink ,white ,black and box. The reel is pink and black. In the box is the paper work,parts list and use instructions. With the reel in the box I also have the rod  just says Johnson on it  model  2c56p. Someone recently told me there are not many of these out there and I wondered what the history is about this rod and reel. The rod and reel appear to never have been used and even the box and paper work are like new. I was willed this rod and reel along with 5 large tackle boxes full of lures ,reels and gagets ,some of which  I have never seen before and I concider myself a fisherman!!! Thanks for any help you can provide. Doug G.

Hi Doug,

You have a good one there. They generally sell anywhere from $75-$125 in the box, depending on condition. I think the Johnson rods have also become more collectable and could also bring a nice price for you.

The Johnson Reel has an interesting history, having been formed not too far from where I grew up in Mankato, Minnesota. Along with Zebco, they are the original closed-face spinning reels. The Pink Princess was made in order to tap into the female market.

More information can certainly be gleaned from Vintage Johnson Reels, a web site dedicated to Johnson reel enthusiasts.


Prof. Larson,

I picked up a South Bend Oreno 1165 fly reel recently. Is there anyway the production date can be determined? It has a pawl drag system, has the oval South Bend Bait company logo stamped into the aluminum body, and was patented.

You were able to identify the South Bend production date of my Model 29 earlier this spring- about 1941-1942 vintage. Would this reel been paired up with the rod? Thanks for your assistance in advance and have a Happy New Year.

Regards, Fung C.

The South Bend 1165 was one of a number of models introduced in the 1940s and 1950s that included the 1155, 1165, the 1185 and 1190 (Steelhead models), and the SA 1195 and 1196. Of these only the 1165 had any real longevity, lasting until the 1960s. It is a serviceable and useful reel that would pair nicely with one of the mid-range South Bend bamboo fly rods.

Well that's it for this mail bag! Thanks to everyone who continues to write in questions, which I will answer as time permits.

-- Dr. Todd

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