Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Snarls & Backlashes with Finn Featherfurd

Today we will begin a longer series on great angling magazines of the past. In particular, I am always fascinated by the obscure, overlooked, and regional fishing magazines of the twentieth century. I hope you'll enjoy it.

Our first publication, Fishing World magazine is an often overlooked magazine that was more interested in fishing and tackle history than almost any other angling magazine of the post-war era.

November-December 1969 cover with vintage tackle.

It was founded in 1953 in the wake of the great post-war fishing boom, and at first was a slim 32-48 page volume with very few advertisements, indicating it was taking a while to catch on. It had sparing layout and the articles, ranging from "Tips on Trout" in April 1958 to "All About Shad" in March/April 1965. It billed itself as The Magazine for Sport Fisherman, and ranged at various times from a monthly to a bi-monthly.

March-April 1971 cover.

One of my favorite features in the 1960s was the Fishing Patent column, in which they would dissect an odd or fascinating tackle patent. The magazine was sufficiently interested in fishing history to hire Mary Kefover Kelly -- the legendary fishing historian -- to pen a number of important columns on the subject of fishing tackle history. These articles were collected by Dr. Todd to form a portion of Mary's great book Origins of American Angling.

1986 cover with then Vice-President George H.W. Bush.

The magazine was still around in the late 1980s but seems to have disappeared afterward. A new magazine called Fishing World is in print today, but is an Australian angling magazine with no relation to the original Fishing World publication.

I consider this magazine both a fine publication for knowledgable fishing articles, and a solid one for advertising research. It can be a tough magazine to find, but if you watch eBay you'll be able to pick up back issues at a fairly steady rate.

-- Finn

Finn Featherfurd is the pseudonym of a sad and lonely retired professor and newspaper columnist who has spent the better part of the past four decades (unsuccessfully) chasing fish in the Lower 48. A long-time collector of vintage fishing tackle of all kinds, he is currently fascinated by pre-1920 children's fishing reels (40 yards and smaller). When the spirit moves him, he will contribute occasional pieces and essays to the Fishing for History Blog. He can be reached at

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tackle Tips by Big Nemo

Display Tips volume No. 3

BY: “Big Nemo”

We have all wanted to display original tackle paper work and have struggled with the problem of how to do it. The answer is simple DON’T DO IT!

They’re much too rare to expose to objects that could harm their integrity in any way. Take your piece to the copy shop and make a high resolution copy. If it’s done right it will look as good as and sometimes better than the original. Now store your original away in a safe place. I put mine in acid free plastic sleeves and into a three ring binder, then into the safe or book shelves for storage.

Now for the mounting project. I have a little frame shop in town I do business with on occasion and they’re happy to cut Plexiglas to any size I want. I take the trimmed paper to them and have it cut to fit with a little wiggle room on the out sides. I have also had them add holes in the corners for mounting but have discontinued this as it’s not necessary. I put the paper behind the glass and secure it with four straight pins at an angle as to put pressure on the glass to hold the paper tight top and bottom.

Now if you want to add a lure or two you can do that as well. I take a lure that is the same as the one pictured on the paper work and add a tiny dab of hot glue from a hot glue gun to the back side and set in on the Plexiglas to hold it in place. I have never had a problem with this as a little heat from a hair dryer will releases the glue from the lure and glass with no damage. I use lures that are not in great condition but have a good side just to be safe. Be sure and use low priced craft glue from Hobby Lobby or a craft store, don’t use industrial glue from Lowes or Home depot as it’s too strong and not needed and may harm your lures. This is where I add my disclaimer.

“I‘m not responsible for any damage done to anything using the above listed instructions for mounting lures to Plexiglas”.

This mounting idea also works great for catalogs on your display board, this adds information and sometimes color to your display and that is always a good thing. If you don’t want to use Plexiglas just have the paper work copy laminated and mount it with two way tape. If you do this it now looks like a copy because no one would believe you were so dumb that you lamented you 100 year old paper work.

Hope this helps you enjoy you collection more having the paper work makes the display much more interesting to the non collector and seasoned one as well.

Next time will visit the right display case for your needs. Till then, remember to take pride in your collection and others will to.

-- Big Nemo

Monday, October 29, 2012

The News of the Week: October 29, 2012

Don't have time to read 50+ fishing and tackle collecting blogs and web sites? Well, let us do it for you! Follow all of the latest news, articles, and stories on our Whitefishpress Twitter account! Hint: You don't need to be a member...just bookmark the Twitter Feed Page or click on latest links to the right!

THE MONDAY 10: The Ten Fishing Stories of the Week You Need to Know

The Big Lead: The Romanian National Carp Fishing Team finds ingenious way to win the world championship.

Hardy & Grey's has gone up for sale.

God speed to those in the path of Sandy, especially the anglers.

Fly fishing guide and sunglass maker found GeoFish Films.

Salmon on the River Tyne.

Who are the presidents who were the most active outdoorsmen?

Why the good old days of fishing are now.

A nice write up of the Southern Rodmakers Gathering (SRG) at Mountain Home, Arkansas.

A "little dab'll do ya" is the winner in this week's Vintage Tackle Contest on Field & Stream.

Finishing with a Flourish: had a great opening weekend with the Theodore Gordon tackle bringing $21,000+ with buyer's premium.

Crossroads Angling Auctions

-- Dr. Todd

Sunday, October 28, 2012

1000 Words

1000 Words

This is one of my favorite pictures of "simple fishing" -- a lady, a cut branch, and a river. It's a perfect motif. This dates from the 1930s but I am not sure what the place is.

-- Dr. Todd

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Deconstructing Old Ads with Bill Sonnett: The Arbogast Sputterfuss--A Beautiful Bait --- I Can't Use!

The Arbogast Sputterfuss--A Beautiful Bait --- I Can't Use!

From the first time I saw a frog-colored Sputterfuss in Frank's tackle box about 1956, I was taken by its unique beauty. Frank was in his 70s at the time, a life-long fisherman who enjoyed sharing with an enthusiastic young boy his observations on the many bass lures in his tackle box. I only remember four lures-- a white Heddon #150, a Bleeder Bait in the box, a yellow L&S Bassmaster, and a frog colored Arbogast Sputterfuss. He told me about various fish that each lure had accounted for and that the L&S was one of the few lures that had taken any of the notoriously elusive bass in the local limestone quarries and then only after dark. About the only thing he said about the Sputterfuss was that it was suppose to be a good surface bait. That didn't seem like much of an endorsement.

The following full page color ad is from the back cover of the May 1947 issue of Outdoors magazine. Looking at those beautiful color illustrations, I am still captivated by this lure's look.

The men in the photograph are Fred Arbogast on the left and Hank Werner on the right. Hank was a salesman for Fred's company and a well known fisherman of the day. In his 1952 book Black Bass Fishing, Robert Page Lincoln wrote of his experiences fishing with Hank Werner and called him, “America's premier hazard or obstruction fisherman.” In other writings Robert Page Lincoln stated that he did not think too much of the Sputterfuss because of the need to reel at top speed to keep the 5/8 oz metal bait on the surface. Even Hank Werner stated that one needed to start reeling before the bait hit the surface. On the other hand, Lincoln recalled that he had repeatedly seen Werner catch fish reeling a Sputterfuss at such a high speed one would think no Bass could catch it. I have experimented with the 5/8 oz Sputterfuss on several occasions using vintage tackle. With the 4 to 1 retrieve ratio of most vintage reels one needs to crank at a breakneck speed in order to keep this bait on the surface. This quickly wears me out and takes most of the fun out of fishing. Hank Werner must have had a strong wrist!

Though advertising in 1947 presented the “Sputterfuss Hawaiian” as new, it has long been known that there is an earlier version. In 1993, long-time lure collector Gabby Talkington received a letter (which he has generously shared with us) from legendary metal collector, researcher, and early NFLCC President Jim Frazier concerning the earliest history of the Sputterfuss. According to the letter the first version came out in 1946 but the body shape was changed for 1947 due to the earlier body hanging upon weeds. This early version of the Sputterfuss is a scarce lure. The only advertising I have seen for it is contained in the 1946 box papers seen below. Reading the admonitions about being for “experts only” and the requirements for tackle in order to keep the bait on the surface, gives some clue as to just how difficult fishing with this bait can be.

The 1946 and 1947 versions of the Arbogast Sputterfuss

Knowing all this, I am still taken by the beauty of a clean bright Sputterfuss. I've never met anyone who liked to fish with this lure or who had great stories about the many bass they had taken with it. Maybe this is why most of the Sputterfuss's one sees are relatively clean. They did catch a lot of fishermen.

-- Wild Bill Sonnett

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Friday Funhouse

Video of the Week

Giant Black Marlin jumps in boat.

12 Things I Would Buy If Only I Could Afford Them

This is a superb Hardy Bougle fly reel.

A Heddon Top Kick is a very cool lure.

A fat body Heddon 150 is cool.

A great Houghton Lake Michigan ice fishing sign is superb!

A CCBC Dinger in frog -- yes please.

Who wouldn't want one of these Brooklure six packs?

A Smithwick Devel's Horse Stud lure is pretty cool.

A Shakespeare Alpha 1982 reel is neat.

A Bagley Catch A Lure is a new one for me.

A Paw Paw Caster in the box is superb.

A Paw Paw in fire plug would be a great one to go with the Caster.

A CCBC six pack is amazing.

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

-- Dr. Todd

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thursday Review: Crossroads Angling Auction Auction This Weekend!

Crossroads Angling Auction Auction This Weekend!

Steve Starrantino's new Crossroads Anging Auctions launches this weekend with an awesome listing of tackle. To view the online auction catalog at Live Auctioneers, and put in some bids, you can click here. The live auction itself is in Hillburn, New York. They even produced an actual physical catalog! It's super cool.

There is a TON of awesome tackle in this auction! I'm going to choose my top 10 items.

This Joe Janiciuras trout reel with leather case is flat out amazing.

An Ernest Holzman salmon fly reel would be incredible.

I love this George E. Hart Celluloid trolling reel.

A Kitchen's Trout reel is unbelievably reel.

Per Brandin is a true master, and this 702-2 is incredible.

Of all the incredible Theodore Gordon fishing tackle, this fly rod is the coolest.

This Rhead lithograph is incredible.

This Wakeman Holberton catalog is superb.

This Cabinet Card of this Pennsylvania fly tier is really cool.

An A&F mahogany tackle box like this has to be seen to be believed.

It's a really nice selection of tackle for their first offering. I will be bidding and hope that they'll do well!

-- Dr. Todd

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

F&%!@ Spammers…

F&%!@ Spammers…

Well, apparently someone used my email address to send out a spam link about 30 minutes ago. Do not open any email from Whitefish Press that says "Hi." (Trust me I'm not that friendly).

However, I'd like to take a moment to let you all know that whenever this happens, your email has likely NOT been hacked. Here is how the spammers work.

They look for a group email, or a listing of emails, clumped together. It only takes one person to send out an email blast that includes your email for you to be picked out.

What the Spammers do is utilize a third-party email program -- which is ridiculously easy to get ahold of (just type "BULK ANONYMOUS EMAIL PROGRAM" into a web search).

Such nefarious programs allow the user to send out a spam email which looks like it originates from literally any email address -- seriously. They could use if they wanted to (I hope they do and have the FBI track them down). Anyway, they put in any email address and then hit send to a thousand or more collected addresses, but in particular to the list from which they collected your email. It sucks.

So, no, when this happens, your email is likely not hacked. You just won the lottery for spamming. Lucky you, and lucky me.

F&%!@i Spammers….

-- Dr. Todd

Tackle Tips by Big Nemo

Display Tips volume No. 2

BY: “Big Nemo”

I want to start this week’s tip with a suggestion. What you think looks good and what looks good are two entirely different things. If you don’t have a 6 or larger Mega Pixels camera get one. There are several great little cameras in the $100-$200 range. Why is this important? Because you can be your second opinion with a good high resolution pic of your own displays. I have worked hours on displays only to get done, take a camera shot and see the imbalance of the display and stuff I want to change. Which can be many things that we’ll get into later? Things always look different in a photograph, but as they say a picture never lies.

We’re going to visit mounting lures in boxes and beside boxes and determine which is the right choice for your collection. I always like to lay out the whole group you intend to display in the case laying flat on a table that you can walk around. Don’t do this on a desk against a wall as your view is, what my old Granddad called, tunnel vision. You need to be able to walk around the display and view it from all angles. Always use T-Pins to pin your lures down when arranging and u-pins when you’re ready to make it permanent.

Funny story about display pins, I’m standing proudly at my table at Nationals and my old friend Dick Streater approaches my table. Dick and I go way back and have always tried to out insult each other in a humors way. We have been friends since 1977 and I want to impress him as much as anyone at the show. He stands and looks at the collection for what seemed like ten minutes and then looks up at me and says “nice display of t-pins, the lures looks ok too.” Boy was I hot. But Dick was right I had over 80 t-pins on that display and it was very distracting. So began the search for a better way.

Rule number one, never, never put a lure under a box, looks good lying flat but when you stand it up 1/3 of the lure is shadowed by the box. This is important not only for viewing but for photography as well. So, now we have laid the boxes where we want them it’s time to mount them. The best thing is a U-Pin that can be bought at most hobby stores as seen in the pic here, Take a good set of pliers’ and bend the pin flat. Now you have a flat wire that push firmly onto your board and will slide between the box top and the bottom. I just do the top myself, but top and bottom using four pins is much more secure for travel.

Now if you want to display the lure in its own box the fun starts. First take some 6X tippet fly leader or any light clear monofilament, 2lb or 4lb test is best. I used green here for demonstration purposes so you can see the line which you don’t want. Lay your open box the top labeled half first over the bottom of the box with the lure laying in it and wrap the mono around the box in two places to retain the lure and hold the lure in the box. I tie my knots on the front then slide them around to the back when I’m done and trim off the extra line. Two times is usually enough but You may need to do this three times on larger boxes like saltwater lure boxes or Musky Nemo boxes and “if you have one call me NOW!”.

OK, we’re almost done, now take the same flattened u-pins as above and put them on your board about 3” apart and slide the box over them between the top and the bottom halves. This gets a little testy on Fly Rod lure boxes so be prepared to walk away and pour a single malt beverage of your choice at your first desire to belch some two or three word profanities.

The lures now are mounted in their boxes and suspended in your display case and they can’t escape. Again, do all this while your display is flat on the table so you can move stuff around and get balance from all four sides. I have used the Boss’s dining room table longer than she would like many times because I keep coming back and making adjustments. It takes me several days but the message from the boss is it’s been there a month! WARNING” do not start this project the week of Thanksgiving as it takes the boss a week to set the table. Don’t want to interfere with the important things in life like FOOD.

After you’re all done, take your first picture, put it up on the computer monitor and look it over. You’re looking for any imbalance and all the other misgivings like the lure not lying right in the box or the mono not spaced evenly or the box is slanted and so on. I sometimes take several pics till I get the right arrangement.

The big thing you have just done is make your display non-permanent and changeable. Hope I did not ramble too long but there is not only satisfaction in this, but your display just took on its own personality and a reflection of your hard work.

Next time, we’ll mount original paper work to your display and a few other tricks. Tell then remember to take pride in your collection and others will to.

-- Big Nemo

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Snarls and Backlashes with Finn Featherfurd

Fishing for Laughs, Part IV

Well, after last week pretty much sucked the humor out of every orifice in my body, I thought it my duty to end this little series with a look at the funniest writer to ever put pen to paper about fishing: Ed Zern, author of a huge number of great articles and books.

The greatest thing he ever wrote, and by definition the funniest thing ever written on the outdoors, is his review of Lady Chatterley's Lover, the x-rated cause celebre reprinted in the 1960s. Think 50 Shades of Grey of the era. Here is Zern's fantastic review, in its entirety, of the book, published in Field & Stream:

Although written many years ago, Lady Chatterley's Lover has just been reissued by Grove Press, and this fictional account of the day-to-day life of an English gamekeeper is still of considerable interest to outdoorminded readers, as it contains many passages on pheasant raising, the apprehending of poachers, ways of controlling vermin, and other chores and duties of the professional gamekeeper. Unfortunately one is obliged to wade through many pages of extraneous material in order to discover and savor these sidelights on the management of a Midland shooting estate, and in this reviewer's opinion this book can not take the place of J. R. Miller's Practical Gamekeeping.

I award this five fish out of five for set up and five fish out of five for delivery. Zern was the absolute best.

-- Finn

Finn Featherfurd is the pseudonym of a sad and lonely retired professor and newspaper columnist who has spent the better part of the past four decades (unsuccessfully) chasing fish in the Lower 48. A long-time collector of vintage fishing tackle of all kinds, he is currently fascinated by pre-1920 children's fishing reels (40 yards and smaller). When the spirit moves him, he will contribute occasional pieces and essays to the Fishing for History Blog. He can be reached at

Monday, October 22, 2012

News of the Week : October 22, 2012

Don't have time to read 50+ fishing and tackle collecting blogs and web sites? Well, let us do it for you! Follow all of the latest news, articles, and stories on our Whitefishpress Twitter account! Hint: You don't need to be a member...just bookmark the Twitter Feed Page or click on latest links to the right!

THE MONDAY 10: The Ten Fishing Stories of the Week You Need to Know

The Big Lead: Sad, sad news this past week. Stu Lawson, legendary reel collector, has passed on. Rest in peace, my friend (photo by John Elder).

Even more sad news. Tim Mierzwa, noted collector and author, has also passed on. Sigh. I'll miss you Tim.

Tackle shop opened during Truman's presidency has closed.

Outdoor writer John Geiser has passed away.

Media goes crazy for teen shark anglers.

Fly fishing leads to uncertain situations.

Chef Eric Donnelly's epic dry fly catch.

A nice feature on the fly fishing Becks.

Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum inducts 8 into hall-of-fame.

Finishing with a Flourish: American Rod Smiths get profiled.

-- Dr. Todd