The mails brought the latest NFLCC Magazine, and after reading it I spent a good 20 minutes trying to decide if I'd ever read a better issue in the long and illustrious history of this publication.
It had something for everyone.
It started with a moving editorial by Dudley Murphy about the loss of his dog Little Red. As I just recently acquired a rescue dog -- "Gandhi" we call him -- it hit me hard. Wonderful writing.
The features in this issue were exceptional, in my humble opinion.
Jerry R. Martin, who keeps writing one exceptional piece after another, changes pace from his normal fly rod lure history and gives us an overview of the famed Decker vs. Jamison fishing contest. A neat piece of fishing history, well covered by Jerry in this article.
Doug Bucha, another fine author, gives us the skinny behind a tackle box find, asking the question of "where did this come from" which we often forget.
A really detailed feature article came courtesy Marie Munson, who has spent seven years diving headfirst into the early history of South Bend. "The History of the South Bend Bait Company, the Early Years: Frank G. Worden" gives us, for the first time, a detailed look at Worden and his place in the tackle world. Nicely done, with lots of pictures of rare early pieces. If this is exemplary of her work (and I'm confident in saying it is), we will all be blown away when the South Bend history she has been working on comes to fruition.
Brilliant is the only word for Bill Sonnett's "The Search for Mr. C.C. Shaffer." Sonnett digs through the incredibly complex morass of early wooden minnows to give us this gem which helps to unravel the veritable Gordian Knot that lay before any researcher hoping to make sense of all of this. As someone who's tangled a bit with it on the subject of Pardee and Friend, I can say without hesitation this was an unbelievably difficult task. Anyone interested in this era of collecting will have to memorize this article.
My own contribution was "Hook, Line & Sinker: What's Your Line, Part 1." It is an overview history of fishing line and its manufacture in America, profiling the largest and most important makers of fishing line and showing around 40 different line spools that represent their history. Like the two-part history of fish hooks that ran previously, this will be concluded in Part 2: The Nylon Revolution next issue. My hope is that when John Etchieson (who as always, was a great help) publishes his book on fishing lines, this article will help us all be ready for it!
As always, we end with Gary Smith's article. Well, I should admit, as I have in the past, that I usually read The Magazine back to front, starting with Gary and ending with Dudley's epistle. This is my favorite Smith article of all time, detailing the Victorian "Frog Lure" I fell in love with when it was pictured in Chris Sandford's wonderful The Best of British Baits. Gary keeps getting better.
So there you are. It's my nomination for the best issue in recent memory, and one of the best of all time. Folks, we are living in a Golden Age of fishing history. This issue illustrates why.
The NFLCC Magazine is an official publication of the National Fishing Lure Collector's Club, and is ably edited by Dudley Murphy, with a capable assist by Gary Smith.
-- Dr. Todd