Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Perfect $10 Fishing Outfit Ca. 1915

Larry St. John was an early (and often forgotten) fishing writer who served as the outdoor editor of The Chicago Tribune for a number of years in the early decades of the twentieth century. He is probably best remembered for authoring the books Practical Fly Fishing and Practical Bait Casting.

His weekly Woods and Waters column was a virtual "who's who" of midwestern fishing, and he often took queries from the public in his column. The following missive from May 1915 is typical of his knowledgable style.

Q: What is the best bait casting outfit I can buy for $10?

Answer: We submit the following: One number two and a half Heddon five foot rod, $2.50; one eighty yard Shakespeare "Precision" reel, $2.50; fifty yards "Chicago Expert" number five silk line, 60 cents; Decker plug (surface), 50 cents; Woodpecker (luminous), 60 cents; Coaxer, 50 cents; Dowagiac rainbow, 60 cents; South Bend combination, green back, 60 cents; fluted wobbler, 65 cents; two dozen assorted hooks, 10 cents; double pork and frog hook, 10 cents; Slim Eli spinner, number three and a half, 15 cents; Little Wonder spinner, tandem, 20 cents; red fly, 20 cents; two snap swivels, 10 cents; dispey sinkers, 10 cents.

The beauty of this outfit is that it was both affordable and useful. Does anyone think they could put together this outfit today for under $500? It would make for a fascinating display...

--Dr. Todd

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