Voices from the Past: Ray Bergman (1927)
One of my all-time favorite fishing writers was Ray Bergman, author of numerous best-selling fishing books including Trout and Just Fishing and for many years the fishing editor of Outdoor Life magazine, back when the journal was a leading light in the outdoor world. Born in 1891, he spent much of his life in Nyack, New York--home to the artists Edward Hopper and Mel Graff (a friend of Ray's) as well as Hollywood silver screen legend Helen Hayes. Bergman ran a sporting goods store there in the 1910s and sold flies, snells, hooks, and line grease under the Bergman name. When his store went under in 1921 he went to work for the famed tackle house of William Mills & Son in New York City, where for the first time he had the freedom to concentrate on writing, first for Forest & Stream and later for just about every fishing and hunting journal in America.
What is often lost is that Ray penned a number of smaller newspaper articles for local papers. Take for example the following short piece from Pennsylvania's Huntingdon Daily News of October 29th, 1927. In just three paragraphs, Bergman prepares the reader for fly fishing for bass. It's a neat early example from a great writer.
Suggestions for Bass Baits
by Ray Bergman
For feather minnows I would suggest the White and Red Brown, Silver and Yellow, Red and Yellow and Orange and Black. As these lures are floaters it is well to grease the line when using them. I have given the colors in a general way, but they may be combined with other shades.
Bass bugs may be bought with the same general color combinations, with the addition of the Cahill pattern which I have often found exceptionally good. It is also a good plan to buy both bugs and minnows in trout size as many times the bass will refuse the larger ones and take the smaller size.
I have always had good luck with very small spinners in connection with a No. 6 bucktail fly. It is amazing what large bass I have taken with this lure, especially when fishing for small mouth in running water. For this reason I would include in my spinning assortmenbt some gold and nickel spinners with a half inch blade. For the next size spinner, use the No. 4 fly and so graduate the assortment until an inch and three-quarter blade is reached which will balance nicely with a large, heavy tied 1-0 fly. While it is not necessary to have the tandem spinner (two connected) still it is always good to have one or two in the tackle box, as there are times when they are most effective.
-- Dr. Todd