Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Robert Page Lincoln "Bob Lincoln" Fly

The Robert Page Lincoln "Bob Lincoln" Fly

So it's Robert Page Lincoln week here on the blog. For those who've read Bill Sonnett's great piece on the Robert Page Lincoln spoon last Saturday, you know that this popular casting spoon was named after Lincoln. As the advertising copy from Superior Door Catch noted, "no greater tribute could be paid to a fishing lure than to have it recommended by a sportsman as famous as Robert Page Lincoln."

As an aside, having grown up in Duluth, Superior Door Catch Co. was in my back yard. K-B spoons were so common you could not buy a tackle box without finding a half dozen K-Bs inside. You can find them with different stampings--for a brief time they were made in Duluth and stamped as such, and later ones are stamped Mankato--but the lure itself was made on the same stamping press. They also caught fish, which is why they are still being made today, eighty years after their introduction from old Ben Gallinger. My brother works with the grandson of the founder of Superior Door Catch so one of these days I'll get an interview with him and set the record straight about this interesting company.

But we're talking Robert Page Lincoln today. Noted collector and historian Doug Bucha sent in an email after Bill's article ran and brought up an interesting fact. Doug wrote:

Saw your clip from Bill today on items named after Bob Lincoln so I thought you might like to see one more.  Edith Nieboer was noted for the development of two flies, the Max Sandy and the Bob Lincoln.  This is a page from her 1933 catalog and a photo of one of the flies. The photo of the fly is from her MASTER FLY SET.

Edith Nieboer was a wonderfully gifted tier and probably best remembered for tying all of Paw Paw's flies, which come in the great "Indian Head" boxes. Doug recently penned a fascinating article on Nieboer in the NFLCC Magazine.

This was a popular fly for its time and its name is a bit of a play on words -- A bobolink is a common bird that is sometimes referred to as a "Bob Lincoln." It has almost receded from memory that the only google reference I could find to the fly was a lone Northwestern fly tier looking for a recipe to tie it, and getting no response.

Robert Page Lincoln is well worth remembering today as one of the leading outdoor writers in American history, and the namesake of both a casting spoon and a dry fly.

Thanks to Doug Bucha for sending in the pictures!

-- Dr. Todd




Count Bill Sonnett as another fan of Robert Page Lincoln. He sends in one of his favorite RPL quotes, from the article “Daybreak Fishing” by Robert Page Lincoln in Sports Afield, April 1945:

“Several advantages obtain to this early morning fishing. First your bass hit hard and without any canvassing as to whether the lure is 'Vittles' or hardware. Second, as in night fishing the light is poor and it is difficult for the fish to size up the lure. Therefore it strikes first, aiming to make out afterwards if it is friend or foe. Third, and most important of all, is the fact that many fish are inshore, more probably than you would dream possible. Therefore the competition is hot and heavy, the law of nature being everyone for himself, the devil take the hindmost. When you get more than one fish heading for your lure at the same time as you often do, you can rest assured you are not going home fishless.”

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