Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Voices from the Past: G.M. Skinner

This week's Voices from the Past does not have a single article as usual, but rather clips from three different articles dealing with the same subject -- G.M. Skinner. Skinner is one of my favorite tackle makers, and there are three small clippings that together give some interesting history of the man and his tackle.

The first clip comes from the 1891 article "Clayton, N.Y. as an Angling Center" by Arthur Wallace (published originally in Charles Harris' The American Angler) and gives a concise little history of the G.M. Skinner company.

Probably the most successful "spoon bait" in the market is that known as the "Skinner Spoon," manufactured by Mr. Gardiner M. Skinner, whose factory is on James Street. Mr. Skinner is always to be found at his office, and a visit to him will prove of interest, for he makes it a point to be always thoroughly posted in all matters pertaining to fishing. Mr. Skinner is also largely interested in the protection of the St. Lawrence River, and it is through the exertions of himself and his brother members that the fishing of late years has so improved.

Add to this the second clip, a letter sent to Forest & Stream's Emerson Hough and reprinted under the title "Mascalonge Teeth as Trophies" in the Nov. 27, 1890 edition. It reads:

Under date of Oct. 18, Mr. Gardiner M. Skinner, of Clayton, N.Y., well-known as the maker of the popular Skinner spoons, writes as follows: "Have you ever extracted any of the large teeth from the lower jaw of the mascalonge? It may be done with a small pair of pliers, and they may be attached to a card bearing the record of weight, size, etc. of the fish. I have several of them, and to some they prove a curiosity. An important and large one would be quite a novelty mounted and used as a scarf pin. Don't you think?"

Finally, we go to Forest & Stream again, this time to an article by the great Robert Page Lincoln entitled "Autumn Fishing for the Pike" from the October 1922 edition. He writes:

I do not think that any lure can equal the spoon-hook for muscalonge, an the nickle-plated type is the best in the long run. The way G.M. Skinner had it figured out years ago was that a spoon was needed for deep trolling for muscallonge, and so he set about producing a coloration different from the ordinary brand of copper, bronze, gold, nickel, and silver. The result was a white enameled spoon, baked on by a special process which would resist 'wear and tear.' This came in the No. 12 size. I can't say that I like it better, nor have I had more success with it than the nickel plated production.

I enjoy reading about Skinner's history, and will post some additional clippings one day soon.

-- Dr. Todd

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