Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Voices from the Past: A Tippy Canoe by Edward Seymour (1883)

A friend of mine recently regaled me with a tale of woe in which he had tipped his canoe while on a fishing trip to Quetico and sadly lost much of his fishing gear. I've had this happen to me twice, and neither time was it any fun. The conversation reminded me of an anecdote I had read years before by Edward Seymour, who had a similar situation occur while fishing the Rangeley Lakes of Maine in the early 1880s. The following excerpt is from his seminal article "Trout Fishing in the Rangeley Lakes" (1883). It was reprinted in the book Sport with Gun and Rod in American Woods and Waters, edited By Alfred Marshall Mayer.

The "Spirit of Mooselucmaguntic"

by Edward Seymour

Apart from the risk of losing your trout because of the difficulty of landing him while the boat is tossing on the waves, this fishing in rough water has its perils, which add to its excitement if they do not increase its pleasures. One bracing September morning, I was industriously casting my fly from my boat, which was anchored three or four hundred yards from the sand-spit at the mouth of Bema Stream. The "Spirit of Mooselucmaguntic" (an effigy which the ingenuity of some of the campers had constructed from the gnarled roots which the waves had cast up on the beach and worn into incredibly fantastic shapes) looked upon the scene with a grin which foreboded some dire disaster. My guide, in despair at the determination which persisted in casting a fly in such a gale, was fishing from the bow of the boat with a drop line. A sudden exclamation from him, a start and a sharp twitch, indicated that he had hooked a large fish. I turned to see him pull a beautiful three-pounder over the thwart, which he had depressed to the level of the water to save the trouble of using the landing-net.

But our triumph was of short duration. No sooner had the victim been deposited in the boat than we both, in an instant, found ourselves pitched out of it and struggling in the water of the lake. Unnoticed by either of us in the excitement of the moment, our boat had swung around into the trough of the sea, and a huge wave had dashed in, completely filling it, and tipping it so nearly over that as the water came in we went out. Confident in my own swimming powers, I called to my guide, as soon as I came to the surface and grasped hold of the boat, that I could take care of myself, and not to be alarmed on my account. But a desperate series of flounderings on his part indicated to me what I had never before suspected, that, notwithstanding the fact that he had been a guide upon these waters for thirty years, he could not swim a stroke.

His frantic efforts to insure his own safety quickly tipped the boat bottom-side up, and again sent us both under. When I came to the surface, he was seated astride of the bow in comparative safety, while the second submersion had so water-logged my heavy winter clothing that I found it impossible to do more than hang on to whatever part of the slippery bottom of the boat I could best clutch. Then it began to look as if our strait was desperate. The anchor-rope held our boat with the same firmness upon which we had before congratulated ourselves, and I fear that it would never have occurred to either of us to cut it and let the boat drift ashore. Fortunately, however, another boat happened just at this crisis to be starting out upon the lake. By his vigorous yells, my guide attracted the attention of those in the other boat, and in a few moments it was alongside. My guide easily stepped from his place of refuge into the rescuing boat, nearly upsetting that in his precipitancy, and then it came to my relief. But I could neither lift myself over its side, nor could those who were in it pull me in without imminent risk of capsizing.

There was no other way but to tow me ashore ingloriously. As soon as my feet struck bottom, I waded to the beach, and then for the first time realized how completely my strength was exhausted, and for how short a time, in all probability, I could have sustained myself in the perilous position from which I had so happily escaped. A blazing camp-fire and a dry suit of clothes quickly restored my equanimity, which was, however, completely destroyed again by the reflection, which in an instant burst upon me, that my three rods, including a new split bamboo, together with a carefully prepared box of fishing-tackle, which contained my fly-books, were at the bottom of the lake and in water at least twelve feet deep. At first, it seemed as if my sport for that trip at least had been completely and disastrously terminated.

One of our guides, who was an expert swimmer, comforted me by the assurance that he could easily recover the more important articles by diving for them, and for a time it appeared as if this would be the only chance, until it occurred to us that one of the most enterprising and ingenious of our party had a day or two before constructed a square box with a pane of glass in the end, with which, after the manner of the sponge and pearl divers, he had been studying the bottom of the lake to discover, if possible, the localities which the trout were the most likely to frequent. Taking this out with us the next day, we found that the contrivance worked to a charm. Thrusting below the ripple the end of the box which contained the glass, and excluding the light as far as possible from the other end, every object on the bottom of the lake, at a depth of even fifteen or twenty feet, could be clearly discerned. A little patient labor with this and a large landing-net with a handle of sufficient length was finally rewarded with the recovery of every article of any value. The fly-books, however, were both destroyed, and part of their contents were seriously damaged; still, these were trifling offsets to my own fortunate escape and that of my guide.

-- Dr. Todd

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ben Wright's Spinning Reel Report (Summer 2009)


Ever wonder where some sellers get their information? I do
A Herters model 63 exc.+, seller was told that it was possibly made by Alcedo (of Italy) funny thing was that the large medallion on the reel was marked "JAPAN" it sold @26.00
Now here is a good one---- listed as an antique 1950 Cardinal fishing reel Don't know if it was Abu or Zebco?
was listed as NIB never used with an extra spool. (no model number given?) seller also stated that one of these without the box all sratched up sold @600.00 on the bay in Aug. and that there were only 300 made B/4 the Factory abruptly closed for good (SAY WHAT?) fact is the the Abu Cardinal series was first intoduced in 1965 and the Zebco series was introduced in 1967. did I email the seller with this info? heck no!!!! first listing started @275.00 with no bids was listed again with no bids and is listed again with a starting price of 169.00
A French SK with large spool exc @ 4,271.71 holy moly
an early Mepps Vamp exc- @2,873.37
A Lasso w/single handle knob e-wb  @719.83
A Garcia Mitchell 408DL NIB @ 1,291.00
A German Triplex Elite 11 exc- @ 229.48
A Hardy Altex no.1 MkV NIB @ 610.00
A Spanish Centurion w/mpu exc  @ 1,124.06
A Hardy Exalta mk11 e+wb @ 444.00
An Abu Cardinal 54 NIB @  325.82
A Mepps Baby Vamp first version e-wb @ 323.51
An Illingworth no 3 e+w/case @761.00 gold band on spool?
An Abu Garcia Suveran S3000M NIB gold Box @ 412.57
these sold new in 1999 @ 199.00
Abu Cardinal 44 re-issue re-pro nib @ 309.00
A Cargem mignon 33 with both reg and clear plastic side plates ewb @ 307.00
A WHITE Crack 400 exc @ 356.78
A common Alcedo 2C/S e+wb @ 200.00
An Abu Garcia Cardinal 33CDL Repro NIB @ 356.99
A Box ONLY for a Garcia Mitchell 300X @ 282.00
A Penn 706Z NIB @  315.00
And A Zebco model 33XBL CF marked with number 1484
exc. @ 247.17 WHY so much? per Dick Braun THAT -ZEBCO-GUY The reels that have a silver plate with black letters and are also marked with a number were from the first day, first production run. all reels after the first day have a black plate with silver lettters and have no Number marked on them. Thanks Dick for this most interesting information.
check out some of these prices---------------
Early Junior w/FB exc- @ 529.26
Super w/line counter paint wear w/box @ 136.72
model 1000 nib @ 159.20
Super 270 w/MPU (MPU was sold as a field conversion kit) exc+ @ 625.42
model 1001 nib @ 294.45
model 220-N nib @ 147.25
model 110-N nib @ 147.25
model 5000 nib @ 368.61
model 441-N was listed as a model 141-n nib @ 335.67
model 1000 nib @ 346.48
model 330 nib @ 144.95
Finessa 280 nib @ 174.99
and a 220-N nib @ 144.99
Cargem 44 super dark green exc- @ 325.00
Zebco Cardinal 4 6th version ewb @ 172.49
Torino 11 by Zangi paint wear @ 325.00
Hardy Altex no1 mk 4 exc-w/case @ 280.32
Olympic 85 exc- @ 96.10
Abu Cardinal 55 nib @ 171.44
Ted Williams 500 nib @ 77.00
Penn 710 green e+wb @ 71.00
Alcedo micron bent leg e+wb @ 157.50
Flo-Line with papers exc- @ 152.50
Penn 704 second version ewb @ 87.00
Fin Nor no 3 nib w/case @ 475.00
Alcedo Micron later version w/curved leg nib @ 225.00
Zebco Cardinal 3 second version nib @ 321.00
and a Seamartin Monarch ewb @ 92.00
Bache Brown Luxor A3 e-wb @ 202.50
Abu Cardinal 4 Tan/black second version exc @ 240.00
common Garcia Mitchell 300 nib @ 162.50
French Takerfish e-wb @ 244.00
Zangi Audax exc- @ 414.00
Penn 706Z nib with custom drilled cup @ 277.00
and a book- Mitchell Collectors Reference Guide By Dennis Roberts # 246 @ 169.50

REEL DEALS--------------------
Kinda rare Abu Garcia Cardinal C33 exc+ @ 32.50
early Line caster exc @ 27.34
Penn 430 special CF exc+ @ 40.05
Acme Tool (same as Feurer Bro's flip reel 202exc @18.50
Black Penn 710 exc @ 71.00
A most interesting Quarter ----------------GO YANKEES

-- Ben Wright

Monday, September 28, 2009

News of the Week: 28 September 2009

A maestro is also a bamboo rod maker...a feature on the Ambassadeur reel...finding an angling life on the Channel to become a Lure lures make fish hungry...7'8" man is tallest angler...Malaysians net monsters...bungling tackle thieves...Van Dam wins 5th angler of the year award...a celebration of Tycoon Tackle man needs a fishing rod and a bassoon...comedian Billy Connolly is an avid must be THE NEWS OF THE WEEK!

The Big Lead: Joseph Scheer, the "fishin' fiddler" concertmaster of the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, now makes Bamboo Fly Rods.

Collector's Weekly features the Ambassadeur Reel.

Tackle Day at Lake Isabella near Cincinnati is October 10th.

In the Channel Islands--the only British territory occupied by the Nazis in WWII--an Alderney angler seeks a new angling life.

Hoe to become a Lure Doctor.

How the next generation of lures induce fish to eat.

A 7'8" Rochester man is perhaps the tallest angler on earth.

In Malaysia, the problem is in netting the monster.

Bungling thieves botch a robbery in a British tackle shop.

Basszone gives us the top six lures of 2009.

This is no fluke: the giants are in.

Kevin van Dam wins his 5th Angler of the Year title.

Eviction looms for a pier bait shop owner in Flagler Beach.

Remembering the Tycoon Tackle fishing rod.

This is an Arkansas fish story.

Why one man needs a fishing rod and a bassoon, stat.

Catching muskie on ultra lite gear.

The virtues of the simple fish reel.

ABU is back with the hot new 706 reel.

Finishing With a Flourish: Brilliant British stand up comedian Billy Connolly is also a dedicated angler.

-- Dr. Todd

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Thousand Words

A Thousand Words

How do you not like a fishing image with a boat named "My Pal?" Courtesy Doug Jobe (naturally).

-- Dr. Todd

Dealer Display Cards, Part 11

Dealer Display Cards, Part 11

This week Colby Sorrels has sent in another nifty one, this one for the great Jensen Frog Legs Kicker lure. This would be a great one to find!

-- Dr. Todd

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Deconstructing Old Ads with Bill Sonnett

Deconstructing Old Ads with Bill Sonnett

Right in the middle of pages featuring fishing tackle in the May 1914 issue of The Outers Book is this advertisement for what appear to be a typical tackle box of the day. But wait, this is not a tackle box but and early cooler designed to transport the days catch home in good condition. I have never seen this advertisement anywhere else and wonder if anyone out there has ever seen one of these. An even better question would be: If you have seen one did you have any idea what the darn thing was?

-- Bill Sonnett

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Funhouse

The Video of the Week
Airfare to remote fishing destination? $750. New fishing gear? $600. Guide and boat? $450. Getting your prize fish stolen from the net by a sea lion? Priceless.

Sea Lion Steals Man's Fish - Watch more Funny Videos

Things I Would Buy If I Could Only Afford Them
Marty Keane's Classic Rods and Rodmakers is a true classic itself.

This is a fabulous Julius vom Hofe German Silver fly reel.

This Moonlight Ladybug Wiggler is a fine old lure.

This Swedish Tournament Record Flyer 3000 with leather case is a gorgeous reel.

A Hardy Bros. Wallis-Tournament reel is one of the most expensive reels you'll come across.

This Jim Pfeffer Sunfish has attracted a lot of talk on Joe's Board.

The Florida Shiner in the box is a true classic bait.

While the Thoren Minnow Chaser isn't exactly reel, it is very desirable, especially in the box.

This is a really pretty Pflueger Monarch.

A Fenwick FS88C continues the glass revolution.

Holy Hula Poppers, Batman!

This is a nifty British metal bait--the Humphries Lightning spinner.

Isn't Bar Perch just a lovely color?

Don't know much about Endicott-Wilson reels, but it looks like an interesting story.

This Heddon Big Hedd is in a flashy and bizarre color.

Fly Rod Lures are great, but especially when -- like this CCBC Fly Rod Dingbat-- they come in the box.

This Geo. Lawrence leather tackle box is pretty darn awesome.

Arbogast Sunfish are truly works of arts.

Instant Collection Alert: 4 Alaskan Salmon Plugs.

Gotta love this Bud Stewart spearing decoy!

I have never seen a CCBC Husky Musky in Rainbow Fire!

As always, have a great weekend, and be good to each other, and yourself.

-- Dr. Todd

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Review of Adrien Delbasty's Collector's Guide to Louisiana Lures, Vol. 3

A Review of Adrien Delbasty's Collector's Guide to Louisiana Lures, Vol. 3

I just received in the mail the third volume in Adrien Delbasty's continuing efforts to chronicle the history of fishing tackle made in Louisiana. The Collector's Guide to Louisiana Lures, Vol. 3 (Self-Published, 2009), unlike the earlier Vol. 2 Update, is a full book in itself, coming in at 103 pages plus about 34 pages of updates to earlier companies.

This volume chronicles a lot of more recent tackle firms, including some recently minted ones. It's a refreshing change of course from traditional tackle histories and as times goes by, will certainly be very welcome. I have constantly counseled that the best time to write the history of a tackle firm is while it is still in existence.

43 new resesllers and manufacturers are covered. Most interesting to me was to read the section on the famed E.H. Peckinpaugh, the legendary Tennessee firm that moved to Louisiana in 1969 when it was purchased by Jim's Bait Co. Peck's lures continued to be manufactured for three decades afterward. At the last Cincinnati Tackle Show, I purchased several large carded weighted Peck's flies with the Louisiana address.

There is much to like about this book. I always enjoy supporting labors of love such as this, and it's clear Adrien--who is also a lure maker--has a deep and abiding passion for the subject. Taken as a whole, it would be hard to imagine anyone doing a more comprehensive study of Louisiana lures than he has. Wherever possible, Delbasty has interviewed the people involved, which makes this a neat piece of oral history as well.

The book comes in a 3-ring binder on heavy stock white paper with all but a few pages in black-and-white. While others may decry the lack of color, the prohibitive cost of color printing likely made this decision. Since the book was self-published, many of the things that I would normally comment on in a review -- structure, layout, grammar -- don't necessarily apply in cases like this.

The bottom line is this: the book is interesting and contains lots of information that you simply will not find anywhere else. I often hear from people who bemoan the lack of a tackle guide for x, y, and z (you can fill in the gaps because I've heard it all, from Alabama to West Virginia). Louisiana lure fans are one of the lucky ones, for Adrien Delbasty has taken on the largely thankless task of chronicling their tackle history. Even those of us who don't collect Cajun tackle should support him in this endeavor.

The book costs $40 and is available directly from the author at

-- Dr. Todd

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Ozark Rod Makers School by Dave Bollinger

The Ozark Rod Makers School

by Dave Bollinger

I just returned from Mountain Home, Arkansas and want to say a good word about my experience at the Ozark Mountain Rod School. Over the course of five and a half days I made a 7 ft., 4 wt. rod from "scratch."

Bollinger covered with dust after planing a rod.

We flamed and split the bamboo culm, roughed the strips out, planed them by hand to precise tapers and then glued up the sections, wrapped guides and installed handles and reel seats and varnished two coats. There were four of us in the class and we all came out with beautiful split bamboo fly rods.

Harry Boyd and Bob Nunley's expertise was simply incredible. Their good humor and excellent teaching capabilities guided us through the week on to the completion of our rods. I cannot express how well this class was run and the excellence of the information imparted by Harry and Bob.

Harry Boyd checking guide placement.

Bob Nunley inspecting a rod.

If anyone is interested in learning how to make a fine split bamboo fly rod, they should contact the Ozark Mountain Rod School. By the way, the fishing in the White and Norfork Rivers is about the best I have ever seen. Big rainbows, browns and cuthoats. Catch one and hold on!

Here is a view of the four completed rods. The other students were Bob Gustafson, Dan Boeh and Ron Klatt. My rod is at the bottom of the four. All of them are beautiful split bamboo fly rods. Really special.

Thanks for the great article, Dave! Really neat stuff. If anyone would like more information on Harry and Bob's Ozark Rod Making School, Click Here.

-- Dr. Todd

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Voices from the Past: Fishing by Moonlight (1901)

Today we feature a poet by Charles Davis Pratt about a distracted pair of anglers and a moonlit night. Quite a charming little piece, if you ask me, and we might even forgive them for not catching fish. After all, the fishing IS better over at Long Pond.

Fishing by Moonlight (1901)


Charles Davis Platt

WE went a-fishing t'other night, 

Two of us in a boat;
The air was cool, the moon shone bright, 

In sooth, it was a lovely sight, 

As we sat side by side, a-float,

Two of us in a boat.

We flung our lines and watched a-while.
But soon forgot to look 

For fish, and the moon began to smile

To see us fishing in such style;
Said the moon, "They'll never hook
A fish, unless they look."

The waters rippled all around,
The fish came swimming by; 

They saw our lines together wound—

Said they, "What is that gentle sound ?
Is that a fishing-smack ? O fie!"
And they went swimming by.

We didn't catch a fish that night,
But over on Long Pond 

They caught a-plenty by the light

Of the same moon that shone so bright
On us two happy lovers fond
Who fished upon Green Pond.

And if you ask me to explain
Why, over on Long Pond,
They caught a-plenty, while in vain
We threw our lines, we lovers twain—
'Tis simply this, that down beyond
It's better fishing on Long Pond.

-- Dr. Todd

Monday, September 21, 2009

News of the Week: 21 September 2009

Crafty old man shatters club angling record...Lang's is auctioning toys?....tarpon time...more on the Kurita bass...squid = tuna....reaching down a shark's throat...gar fishing (again and again)...the bass and blues are blowing in...Eddie Bauer returns to its movie features tackle shop owner...more on the Derby...a man lands a vintage must be THE NEWS OF THE WEEK!

The Big Lead: Crafty old man shatters club fishing record with his secret bait.

A new Lang's Auction this Sept. 19...of toys?

It's almost tarpon time.

A Tadworth thief steals tackle, trousers.

A new fishing tackle shop in Filey and Hunmanby will be serving local anglers.

Everybody's writing about the Manibu Kurita bass...

First you get the squid, then you get the tunny...

Aussie angler and tackle shop owner wins big tourney.

Rescuers reach down a shark's throat.

Want a challenge? How about fishing for gar?

The East Hampton Star sees the bass and the blues blow in.

Eddie Bauer to return to roots with new line of hunting and angling clothes.

One to scatch off your list: catching a musky.

Central character in new kids movie "Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs" is the son of a fishing tackle shop owner.

The BBC goes fishing for prehistoric quarry.

Jim Casada has finished his magnum opus: Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The Martha's Vineyard Times updates us on the Derby.

Finishing With a Flourish: One man hooks and lands a vintage rod-and-reel.

-- Dr. Todd