Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Voices from the Past: Dixie Carroll on the Pflueger Surprise Minnow (1919)

Over the next several months, I’m going to feature the fishing tackle writing of one of my all-time favorite writers, Dixie Carroll (Carroll Blaine Cook). These famed pieces of tackle were featured in his great book Fishing Tackle and Kits. They are fascinating write-ups of the tackle from a contemporary perspective. Below is Dixie’s write up on the Jamison Fly Rod Wiggler, one of the earliest true fly rod lures.\

PFLUEGER-SURPRISE MINNOW.- Made by the Enterprise Mfg. Co., Akron, 0 . Here is an excel- lent artificial minnow, and it is a natural fellow at the same time, it does not need a bunch of metal adornments to make it do a wiggling darting dive and the swim of a live minnow. It is of red cedar, the best all-round wood for making an artificial and it is finished in all the popular color designs with a crackerjack waterproof porcelain enamel that stands up under any kind of casting without -cracking or chipping. It is of minnow shape and what makes it do the wonderful lively swim under the water is the mouth-shaped cut or groove on the front under- side, and right where the mouth ought to be anyway. It is a very effective lure, of the semi-surface class, riding about ten to fifteen inches under water when reeled in at the ordinary fishing speed and it goes deeper if speeded up, floating when you happen to stop to untangle a backlash. A few seasons.ago I had one of these minnows along up north for a workout, it was cold and snow flurries made casting a bit of rough work. For two days the game ones had been off the strike, the pal and I had thrown them everything in the outfit without much success. I had loaned my pal the one Pflueger-Surprise minnow, a perch colored affair and that afternoon he landed a five pound fifteen ounce small-mouth bass and five others that just tipped the scale a tremble below fifteen pounds, all with this Surprise Minnow. It seemed the big ones could not keep away from it. My own string was not large enough or heavy enough· to mention that day. After a lot of coaxing, and then actually stealing this plug away from the pal, I had quite a nice bit of sport with it. It is still in my outfit a trifle battered and dinted from two years' use, but it still gets the fish when it is hard to interest them in hitting the lure. For its natural minnow-like movement in the water, the fine finish and good workmanship I commend it to the bait- caster as a rattling good lure.

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