Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Walter Brunner (1927-2007), European Master in Split Bamboo

News sometimes arrives slowly, especially from one continent to another. I recently heard that Walter Brunner, the Austrian bamboo fly rod master, passed away in early January, 2007. I thought some readers might be interested in learning about the universally acclaimed European Master of the Bamboo Fly Rod.

Walter Brunner was born on 2 April 1927 in the Tyrolean municipality of Pyburg in Austria. His father was a carpenter, which certainly helps explain his life-long love of wood and woodworking. He grew up fishing, but international politics intervened dramatically in the life of Brunner and all other Austrians when Hitler incorporated Austria into the Third Reich in 1938. Following an injury sustained at the end of World War II, Brunner returned to Tyrol to try and piece his life together again. Austria—reformed as an independent national state again in the wake of the war—was like all European states, crippled by the ravages of war. Brunner discovered that no fishing rods were available in Austria, so in 1946 he began to construct his own, mainly for bait fishing. Then one day, as Austrian fishing writer Michael Schremser noted in a moving appreciation of Brunner published on The Austrian Fisheries Society On-Line, in 1949 “he saw a distinguished gentleman who fished without floats and without worm, and at the end of his strange fishing line was a black fly, but he caught one fish after the other. This woke Walter’s curiosity…” After a long discussion with the man, Walter was hooked.

Having engaged in woodworking in Steyr, Austria, he naturally soon turned to constructing split bamboo fishing rods. His initial efforts were unsuccessful, but he soon learned from his mistakes and eventually “he built all the furnaces, milling, winding machines and tools and afterwards even manufactured his own rod cases, since Hardy did not supply him in time.” By 1958, he developed his famous Brunner Mill, the outline of which can be Seen Here.

Brunner in his workshop ca. 1965

By 1961, he had perfected the art of fly rod making to the point that he made it his occupation. In 1963 he founded the Brunner Fly Rod Co. of Austria that was so successful he was for many years the only rodmaker in all of Europe to make rods on par with the American masters. He did not take on partners, believing that “quality work can come only from him and only by his own experience, improvements, and developments.” He eventually sold his rods through Adalbert Grassmueck of Vienna, a major tackle merchant founded in 1880, who inaugurated a famous “Austria” line of Brunner fly rods.

He continued to make custom rods well into the 1990s, and never lost his passion for fishing. His motto was “fishing rods are not about catching fish, it is the fishing that matters.” Walter himself declared: “In the course of the last 50 years, I have learned to know many kinds of fish and I believe each one in its own way has a special appeal… Even if I sometimes come home without fish, every day fishing on beautiful water is nevertheless an experience and I am glad that I may experience it."

Walter Brunner in his later years still enjoyed fly fishing

In 1988, Dr. Michael Hofmaier, writing in the 100th Anniversary publication of The Austrian Fisheries Society in 1988, declared that “Walter Brunner has all the characteristics that distinguish the great master otherwise found only in fairy tales...”

Brunner had a number of fans here in America, including the unidentified author at Hipwader.com that penned the following passage:

Another one of my all-time favorite makers is Walter Brunner of Austria. Walter is now in his 80s and has been building rods for most of his life and has built some of the finest rods you will ever lay your eyes on, and he too uses machines. Everything from his rotating ring of fire for tempering the cane, to his custom built beveling machines.

An on-line ad for a Brunner rod reveals the esteem with which he was held:

Walter Brunner, Traun Special, 7,7', #5-6, 2 pieces/2tip. Superfine all cork grip with dark blued cap and ring. Black wraps. Superb varnish and hardware. Built by one of the best known craftmen in Europe. From his workshop in Steyr, Austria near river Traun he has built outstanding bamboo rods for more than 30 years. The highest priced rods from a living legend and this rod is from the famous "Wildwasser" family of rods. An extraordinary casting machine especially in windy weather. Unfortunately master craftman Walter Brunner has stopped building rods because of his age.

Brunner pioneered the modern split bamboo fly rod in Europe, and his absence will be felt in every corner of the fly rod world.

-- Dr. Todd

For those interested in reading Schremer's article in German, Click Here.

Monday, July 30, 2007

News of the Week, 30 July 2007

Lots of items in the news in the past week dealing with the subject of fishing and fishing tackle history. First, as we reported last week, there are a number of tributes to Tim Tucker on the internet. The most personal and moving that I have read came from collector and professional bass fisherman Bernie Schultz, whose moving tribute to Tucker was posted on on Joe's Board. Schutz's article is linked to another moving tribute by Tucker's Gainesville Sun colleague Gary Simpson entitled appropriately A Fond Farewell, Friend. I had not known until I read Bernie's piece that Tucker was also a tackle collector.

In other news, The South Bend Tribune published a nice article on collector Doug Bucha, who has contributed to the NFLCC Magazine in the past, and his search for info on Anton Sobecki of South Bend. A Cry for Info on Wigglers is an entertaining and informative piece.

Portion of Bucha's Collection on Display

It was a good week for Bucha, who was also profiled in The Niles Daily Star along with fellow collector Ric Ladonski. The article profiles these two prominent collectors' vintage tackle displays that will be exhibited at Niles Riverfest, and has some great information on Charles Harris, maker of the famous Harris Frog.

If anyone knows of any stories that I might have missed, please drop me a note.

-- Dr. Todd

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Changes to the Blog

I have made some changes to the blog. First, you'll notice on the right side there are now two lists of web sites, one entitled "The Short List of Important Links" which is pretty much what it says--a list of what I feel are "must views." Don't fret, I will be adding to this in the near future. There is another list further down the right side called "Archive of Fishing and Fishing History Links." This will be a longer list of sites of great interest and importance to fishing history.

The second change is that I am going to try and standardize the information on the blog by "scheduling" topics Monday-Friday. The schedule as of right now is as follows:

Monday: Fishing History News (discussion and links of various on-line articles of interest and importance to collectors and historians of the history of fishing and fishing tackle).

Tuesday: Voices from the Past (a selection of the great fishing writers from the past, with an emphasis on those articles of direct importance to collectors and historians).

Wednesday: Feature Article (features of varying lengths on a wide variety of topics)

Thursday: The Weekly Review (a review of literature and web sites of interest)

Friday: Editorial (Editorials on any number of subjects concerning the state of fishing and fishing tackle history).

I will post on Weekends when i feel I have something of interest/importance. And of course, the schedule will/can be interrupted due to important news or special features like the NFLCC Nationals Report.

This schedule will be permanently posted at the top of the "The Short List of Important Links" list.

One last point--PLEASE if anyone is interested in contributiing to this blog, drop me a note at whitefishpress@yahoo.com -- any subject is fair game, but I am particularly interested in reviewers and editorials.

Thanks for all the kind words I've received the past few months. The blog is a lot of work but also a lot of fun.

-- Dr. Todd

Friday, July 27, 2007

Celebrating Herbert Hoover, President & Fisherman

President Herbert Hoover’s love of fishing began in West Branch, Iowa on the the Wapsinonoc Creek. To celebrate Hoover's fishing achievements, as reported in The West Branch Times, the Hoover National Historic Site is working with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Mississippi River Museum to showcase both his fishing and Hoover's piscatorial influence. Love Fishing As Much As Hoover? Fest Offers Expo outlines the details of Hooverfest 2007, concentrating on both Hoover's fishing and a game called Hooverball, and will be held from August 4 to August 10.

Herbert Hoover fishing at Brown's Camp, California in August 1928

Hoover was a dedicated fisherman who received thousands of pieces of fishing tackle from admirers while in the Oval Office. He enjoyed fishing for many species but particularly enjoyed fly fishing.

This saltwater reel owned by Hoover is part of the Southern Illinois University archive

Hoover's greatest contribution to promoting the sport was his book Fishing for Fun, and Wash Your Soul, which sold many hundreds of thousands of copies and was one of the first books on fishing read by a whole generation of fishermen.

I wish I could attend Hooverfest this year but alas, I won't be able to. But if you are in Iowa the first week of August, you could do worse than celebrate Hoover's fishing heritage. And while you're there, try your hand at Hooverball.

-- Dr. Todd

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Advanced Review of Wayne Ruby's The Pflueger Heritage

I have always wondered why there has not been an introductory text on Pflueger. Well, I am happy to report that our long wait is over. Wayne Ruby, a retired aerospace engineer and NFLCC member, has written The Pflueger Heritage: Lures and Reels, 1881-1952 and I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy.

Collector Books has published a number of works on fishing tackle history ranging from outstanding to downright useless, and fortunately this book is well laid out, with adequate photography and is generally well-written.

A full-color 352 page hardcover book, The Pflueger Heritage is divided into seven main sections—history, wood lures, metal lures, other (glass, rubber, etc.) lures, E.A. Pflueger metal lures (but not E.A. Pflueger reels), Pflueger reels (including some 4 Brothers and Portage), and catalogs, and has five very detailed appendices that occupy approximately half the book. As the title notes, it covers lures and reels up to 1952, meaning that other Pflueger tackle items such as rods, fish hooks, etc. are not dealt with, nor is any new tackle in the post-1952 era, roughly equating with the spinfishing revolution. It will be of particular interest to Pflueger reel and metal lure collectors.

Based on the research of a number of Pflueger scholars as well as the author's significant original catalog research, each item covered has color photo(s) and sometimes advertising and catalog cuts as a supplement. The author notes that the book is not exhaustive and that some reels and lures are not covered, although many items not pictured can be found in the appendices.

Anyone with even a passing interest in Pflueger reels and lures will want a copy for their library. Ruby should be commended for his years of research and dedication to seeing this project through to the end. As the author of my own little book on Pflueger, I can say first-hand that writing Pflueger history is a daunting task. I can appreciate what Ruby accomplished more than most. This will serve as the major introductory work on Pflueger history for years to come.

The book will ship at the end of August and is available from a number of sites including Amazon and Collector Books.

-- Dr. Todd

PS For those interested, I wrote a more exhaustive review of Ruby's book for the current issue of the journal Classic Angling.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Mr. Coffee Buys Mr. Shakespeare

Yes, the ghost of Joe Dimaggio has made a Shakesperean purchase. Mr. Coffee indeed bought himself a Penn.

Joltin' Joe Dimaggio Put Mr. Coffee on the Path to Purchasing Penn

Jarden Corporation announced in late April that it agreed to purchase K2 Inc., owners of such fishing tackle icons as Shakespeare, Pflueger, Penn, Stearns, and Worth. Just last week, the deal was finalized by K2's board of directors. and the firm has made a tender offer to purchase all outstanding notes in preparation for the purchase. The tender offer is due to expire at 11:59 p.m. EST on 14 August 2007, and presumably soon after the purchase by Jarden will be finalized.

Does anyone else think the Jarden logo looks like the cover of the movie Robots?

Makes you think...or I have too much time on my hands

Jarden of Vashon Island, Washington--the 585th largest company in America according to Forbes--owns a huge number of household brands including Mr. Coffee, Sunbeam, and Crock-Pot. It began as a ski company and is now poised to become one of the sporting goods giants in America.

Jarden is no stranger to fishing tackle, having already purchased such luminous names in fishing history as Abu Garcia®, Berkley®, Fenwick®, Stren® and Trilene®.

Here is a breakdown of the firm's finances by Reuter's. Jarden Corp., has 20,000 employees. Click Here for a breakdown of K2's finances.

More news of the merger can be found at:

Business Wire and Snow Media.

Another chapter in the histories of Pflueger, Penn, Shakespeare, Abu-Garcia and others begins! I for one am holding out hope for a whole line of Crock-Pot brand casting reels.

-- Dr. Todd

K2 Inc. Home Page
Jarden Inc. Home Page

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Collectable Boat Cushions? You Bet!

I am always interested in the odds and ends of the fishing industry, those areas most people don't bother to think about and most certainly don't consider collecting. A good example is boat cushions. They are required by law in every state, they have been in use for a century, and were offered in an amazing variety of colors and styles. But who in their right mind collects vintage seat cushions? You might be surprised. This beauty recently sold on eBay for $240.00.

But that's just the beginning. There are a lot of other collectable boat cushions floating around out there. Here are two 1929 Sears & Roebuck models with leaping fish that sold for about $10 each--a bargain!

Dating from 1929, they were made by Elgin

The tags on these said 100% Kapok

Here's one that just showed up on eBay and that I would not be shocked to find is also an Elgin/Sears & Roebuck product:

Leaping fish seem to be a popular motif

Sometimes these vintage boat cushions cross into other collectable categories. Here are two racially-tinged and nautical themed vintage boat cushions:

Admiral Blackie's nautical knots

Admiral Blackie's Storm Warning Signals

Here is the same theme without the racist undertones:

Aqua Neptune model Storm Warning

This set of three nautical boat cushions sold for $50 each.

Small Craft/Storm Warning/Rules of the Road

This Rules of the Road model is a more recent vintage

Here is one showing a variety of seafaring knots.

A Montgomery Wards model

There are a lot of less flashy vintage life preservers for sale. Here are four that sold from $10-$20 each:

Sailing Motif

Nifty Yacht Silhouette Model

A Pair of Vinyl Sailing-Themed Cushions

That's just the tip of the ice berg. I started following vintage boat cushions about a year ago when this baby showed up on eBay:

This sweetheart sold for well over $100

Maybe the only difference between a $20 vintage boat cushion and a $200 one is a picture of a pinup on the front of a cushion!

All in all, vintage boat cushions would make for an interesting and colorful display, and I suspect they often go for high prices to decorate summer homes and cottages. I'll keep my eye out for any new ones and update them on the blog when I get enough information.

-- Dr. Todd

As I was writing this, the following two cushions were just added up on eBay:

Another Rules of the Road Variant

Elgin Sailfish Model sold by Sears

Monday, July 23, 2007

Tackle Article in The New Orleans Times-Picayune

It's official--the tackle collecting buzz is no longer snowballing, it is a full blown avalanche. Another feature article in a major American daily, this time the New Orleans Times-Picayune, features prominently the NFLCC and tackle collecting in general. Hooked by the Allure by Jeff Duncan is a detailed and interesting piece that also covered the recent Louisville NFLCC Nationals.

There is a lot of press for the NFLCC in this article, and NFLCC Magazine editor and author Dudley Murphy was interviewed for the piece.

Lots to like about this article, but note there is an addendum that is not linked to the web page story. It is entitled Getting Started and features a list of books and web sites on antique fishing tackle, I was particularly pleased that Joe Yates' Web Site and Ron Gast's site were profiled in this piece.

All in all, it was a good week for getting the word out about preserving our fishing heritage and collecting antique tackle!

-- Dr. Todd

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Great eBay Frog Controversy of 2007

The Great Frog Controversy of the Summer of 2007 ended yesterday. For those who weren't following it, an eBay seller put up an "Unknown Wooden Frog Lure" for sale. With such an innocuous title, one would think that it would be just that--the sale of a unmarked frog bait, no more or less remarkable than thousands of such auctions each year.

As you can see from the picture, this "unknown frog" bears a resemblance to the original hand-carved James Heddon Frog that basically is the rarest Heddon bait ever made.

I don't think the seller was prepared for the reaction to her auction--which in my opinion bears little to no resemblance to a real Heddon frog. In a remarkable series of correspondence, the seller (who may or may not have known that it was a reproduction) gets increasingly defensive in her responses. Here is a sample from one eBayer who wrote her:

I say, you have no idea what you are talking about. I have owned one of the only seven verified Heddon frogs, and was instrumental in discovering and identifying one of the others. In addition, I have personally handled and inspected two of the remaining authentic baits. This, my friend, is no Heddon frog. And for all the so-called experts you've heard from who quote their BOOKS, I'd enthusiastically advise that they get some hands on experience instead of paging through a $20 stack of paper. There are several red flags which clearly discredit this bait as not authentic to the experts. Unfortunately the bidding already stands at twice what the lure is worth as a reproduction and will likely go higher. I just hope the high bidder is someone who so fanatically advised on the it's legitimacy based on a picture book.

The seller responded: For your information this lure has been to an NFLCC show and has been shown to lure collectors, a couple of which have some stature in this field. Here are their comments. "Does not appear to be a recent lure and could very well be from that early period" "May or may not be a heddon" "Unless you have some provenance you will never be able to prove what it is" "Most of the older collectors or people who own or have owned a heddon frog will never believe it is real" "So until you come up with a picture of James Heddon holding this frog all you have is a "HAND MADE FROG" I did not include this information in the listed because, as I have stated, I did not want to even hint that it may be a heddon. So as I see it, you do not know and no one knows for sure what this thing is other than the person who made it. Just because it doesn't look like one to you doesn't mean it isn't one...

Ah, yes, Hope springs eternal. It would have been an extremely clever ruse to let others bring up the "Heddon" word for you! Not that I'm accusing her of being disingenuous, mind you...

A final example from another eBayer's query:

I see your selectivity in which questions you post and which you don't. I will be letting the high bidder know that this is a FAKE, and by the looks of it you know it is too.

Here is her response:

I was told once it is better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you are an idiot than to open it and remove all doubt. You sir opened your mouth. Now to the important part. I have only answered a hand full of the tons of questions, suggestions, offers and best wishes omitting the ones with phone numbers, names and email addresses. I don't know anything about this lure other than what I said. If I had I wouldn't have listed it as an unknow. If I was trying to cheat anyone I would have mentioned the name Heddon some where in the post but I didn't. All I did was say it was hand made and the furtile minds of all you experts erupted into what has become a pathetically funny situation. And since it looks similar to the heddon frog it is assumed that I am a cheat and out to fool someone. I didn't make this thing. It came into my possession and I listed it for sale to anyone that wanted it. I gave all the info I know. To the people who gave honest opinions I thank your for your time and efforts. To the rest of you experts, who by the way have no way of knowing one way or the other if this is a Heddon frot or not, I suggest that you grab each ear and with a twisting motion, pulling at the same time, remove your head from where the sun doesn't shine. Alice

Actually, there are many ways to tell this isn't a Heddon frog. As the final auction price of $102.50 shows, everyone else knew it too. Although to be honest, that's a hefty price to pay for a reproduction Heddon frog.

Those interested in seeing the auction themselves can Click Here. Those who want to jump straight to the fascinating Q&A can Click Here.

If only all eBay auctions were this interesting to watch!

-- Dr. Todd

PS Why is it that in situations like this where numerous people request better pics for an eBay auction, the camera is either 1) broken, or 2) not functioning properly? Has anyone ever seen a fraudulent item sold with high quality photographs? I'm not insinuating anything, but take a look at the difference between the fuzzy darkness of the "Unknown Frog" photos and these pics from one the seller's recent auctions.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Remembering the Great Bait Shops of Yore

They are fewer and fewer every year, their livelihoods being squeezed out by the growth of sprawling mega-marts and incredible tight margins. I'm talking about bait shops, of course, and not just bait shops but classic bait shops. There are still some left; Pastika's in Hayward, Wisconsin and Vados Bait & Tackle in St. Paul, Minnesota spring to mind, and I'm sure there are a few others, but not as many as before.

Lake Ontario Tackle Shop ca. 1940

What got me thinking about old baits shops was two things. First, Prevost's Bait Shop of Solon Springs, a fixture for 75 years in the Northern Wisconsin Sand Country, closed a few years back. I hadn't been by it in awhile but on my last trip north I drove by and was saddened at how run-down it had become (is there anything more folorn than an abandoned bait shop?). And second, The Chicago Tribune ran a piece on a classic bait shop entitled Bait-shop owner casts pall by taking a day off--to fish.

Bait shops serve the important service of providing fishermen with what they truly need--live bait. Crawlers, minnows, frogs, leeches, maggots, and whatever else the fish might bite on (ever fish a mudpuppy?). They also traffick in a large amount of terminal tackle and rods, reels, and lures, but not as much as before.

Ye Olde Feshin Hole Bait Shop, Florida Keys, Ca. 1945

Do you have fond memories of a bait shop from your youth? Many writers did--David Halberstam, for example, wrote movingly of the bait shop of his Winsted, Connectitcut childhood. If anyone has any stories, memories, or photos of bait shops gone by you'd like to share, I'd love to collect them and post them right here.

Long live the local bait shop!

-- Dr. Todd

Friday, July 20, 2007

Old Tackle Article in Raliegh News & Observer

Antique fishing tackle, and fishing history, has been in the news quite a bit of late. This is certainly a good thing, especially when the articles get at the heart of what collecting tackle is all about. A good article by Mike Zlotnicki entitled "Tackle Box Treasures: Some Old Lures are Worth Big Money; The Rest are Nice Mementos" in The Raliegh News & Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina shows how almost all collectors get started: someone gets their father/grandfather/uncle/neighbor's tackle and tries to figure out what they got.

Mike Zlotnicki's Martin 5KS-12 Salmon Plug

The article interviewed NFLCC members Jim Fleming, NFLCC Gazette editor (but not, as the article erroneously notes, editor of the NFLCC Magazine), and Dan Basore of Chicago, architect of a traveling exhibit currently on display until October. Among the author's treasures were a Martin salmon plug (pictured above) and a Heddon King Basser in the box. These lures, as the author notes, were part of a lawsuit between the two companies in the late 1930s.

I thought it was a thoughtful and interesting article that certainly will inspire a few people to dig out their old tackle, and hopefully get them to appreciate what they have.

-- Dr. Todd

Thursday, July 19, 2007

24 Carrot Fishing Rods

Your future collectable has just arrived--courtesy of E21, makers of the new fishing rods known as Carrot Stix. According to an article in The Providence Journal by Tom Meade:

"Carrot Stix, the veggie-based fishing rods, won the best-in-show award at the American Sportfishing Association’s international trade show this week. The carrot-orange rods are lighter than graphite, but have more stretch to land larger fish, according to David Hepworth, a director of CelluComp, the Scottish firm that developed Curran, the new material made from vegetables."

Having been written up simultaneously in The San Diego Union-Tribune, Carrot fever began to pick up steam, and reached a mania when Ken Moran wrote up the orange rods in The New York Post. When ESPN covered Carrot Stix in a feature article, the orange casters had officially arrived.

Perhaps 100 years from now collectors will find these to be the first new collectable rods of the 21st century.

-- Dr. Todd

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Timothy Ray Tucker, 1957-2007

Sad news from Florida. Nationally syndicated columnist and senior writer for B.A.S.S. Timothy Ray Tucker died Monday in a tragic car accident on I-75 near Gainesville.

Tucker was a columnist for The Gainesville Sun but probably best known for his eight books and many articles on bass fishing. Among other books, Tucker authored Secrets of America's Best Bass Pros in 1990 and a follow-up book More Secrets of America's Best Bass Pros in 1992.

Tucker also co-authored a number of works, including Bill Dance on Largemouth Bass with legendary angler Bill Dance (1996); Diary of a Bass Pro with Joe Thomas (1996); and Bill Dance on Crappie with Bill Dance (1996).

Tucker had spent much of the past years developing his web site, Tim Tucker Outdoors, and his own publishing venture.

It is a tragic loss for the outdoor writing community.

-- Dr. Todd

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

NFLCC Nationals 2007 Show Report, Part IV

NFLCC Nationals was all it was advertised and more. Over the next four days I will be posting pictures of the people, displays, and tackle I ran across in my three days in Louisville.

National Show Report, Part IV:
How to Add to your Collection on Less than $50 a Day

NFLCC Nationals, Louisville, Kentucky (July 11-14, 2007)

I have a lot of collector friends, some with very deep pockets and some with, how shall we say, less deep pockets. Few have shallower pockets than myself. Actually, I'm not really sure that shallower is a word--maybe more shallow is apropos. Anyway, I have never let a lack of liquid assets ever get in the way of building a collection. While the days of picking up Heddon 150s for $10 at a flea market are almost over, there are plenty of creative ways to collect for even those of the most modest means.

NFLCC Nationals is not just about $1000 lures and reels. I think one of the misconceptions is that you have to be ultra wealthy to enjoy the show or that only high-end items exchange hands. Room trading and table displays were full of reasonably priced tackle, and a number of dealers had enormous boards filled with $5 and $3 lures by the thousands. With some dilligence, a collector could add ten nice reels and fifteen decent lures for $250, an average of $10 each. All you have to do is be knowledgeable enough to sift through the bins and boards to find the very real bargains available on (and under) almost every table.

For example, I have been slowly but surely building a collection of snelled hook packets. My interest in the fish hook and its history is no secret, and since the third volume in my three book History of the Fish Hook in America is on the snelled hook, it is natural for me to seek these out. I found some really tough snells and some pretty common ones I had yet to add to my collection, and the best part is that they cost very little coin.

L to R: Bobby Pin, Pflueger 1/A, Supplee-Biddle Congress, Edward Vom Hofe, South Bend, W. Bingham XLCR

Pointer, AL&W Beaver, Tryon Kingfisher Standard, Sears Best, Sears Philby, N. Shure Standard, Frankfurth Neptune

More expensive but still within the realm of reasonable are the following two snelled hook dealer boxes. The first is a really tough 4 Brothers 1/A Snelled Hook maroon dealer box; these would have contained the yellow Pflueger snelled packet shown in the above image.

Maroon Pflueger 4 Brothers Dealer Box

A reasonable--and very, very rare--addition to the collection is the following Abbey & Imbrie Snelled Hook dealer box. This dates from the 1890s and is in nice shape considering the age. This would contain, as the side label noted in pencil, a half gross of A&I Snell packets with the same logo.

Abbey & Imbrie Hollow Point Snelled Hook Dealer Box

Hooks in general are always of great interest to me. The following is a montage of reasonably priced hook items, including a very large Pflueger saltwater hook marked "Pflueger, Akron, O.", a rare Horrocks-Ibbotson picture box, a Horrocks-Ibbotson box of German-made hooks, a scarce Belknap Hardware Company hook box, and a colorful Minnesota Tackle Co. hook packet.

Some hooks from Nationals

Sample hook packets can be tough to find, which was why I was happy to add the following set of salesman samples from Pflueger and O. Mustad. These were given out as freebies to promote new hooks.

Sample hooks from Nationals

I have concentrated of late on collecting trade reels, and was able to add some neat ones to my collection for reasonable prices. The first reel was a real find, even if it isn't a trade reel. This hard rubber model is a rare 60-yard model made by Cozzone, a maker most noted for large saltwater models.

This Cozzone reel is difficult to distinguish from Montague and Pflueger models

The second is a nifty Pennell model made by Montague and marketed by Edward K. Tryon of Philadelphia.

Tryon Pennell reel with logo

The third is a nice Congress Quad model marketed by Supplee-Biddle Hardware, also of Philadelphia, and made by Union Hardware of Torrington, Connecticut. I wish I would have had a chance to add this model to my article on Supplee-Biddle in the December 2006 NFLCC Magazine.

Supplee-Biddle Congress Quad made by Union Hardware

Speaking of which, my recent article on The Vim Company in the May 2007 The Reel News could really have used a photo of the following item, a rare 1929 Vim Co. line spool in a Vim marked box with the 2222 Diversey Street address. My thanks to Don "The Lure Guru" Ludy for adding this tough piece to my meager collection of line spools--trust me, I't will never rival my friend John Etchieson's collection!

Vim insured silk line

I did not find as many lures to my collection as I would have liked. But I did add a new fluted spinner to my collection for the first time in almost a year--a Henzel Fluted Spinner on the card. Henzel was best known for the "Henzel Booster Bait" and this is the first of these I have ever seen on the card. This also came from Don Ludy, who has another one if anyone is interested in adding a super tough piece of metal to their collection.

A really neat Chicago fluted spinner from an old company

Not all of my collection is antique. I added an Arbogast AC Plug in Rainbow in the largest size to complete the color set.

12 inch long AC Plugs are popular with musky fishermen

My final piece from the Louisville Nationals is special in every way. It is not the kind of thing that I usually buy, or can afford to buy for that matter. A friend of mine (who shall remain anonymous so as not to arouse any hard feelings) came up to me and told me I had to see an item that he had, and set down a briefcase.

The leather briefcase had a metal plate marked "VL&A." I took a deep breath. Then he opened the case. My mouth fell open when I saw what was inside. Two VL&A tournament casting reels, one in the box and the other in a correct marked "VL&A" leather case. A 1927 VL&A catalog. And 10 mint South Bend Callmac Bugs on mint VL&A cards. An absolutely amazing find and I was lucky enough to add it to my collection.

Cool VL&A Salesman’s Case

It was a serendipitous find, as I had earlier that day told Dudley Murphy I would be writing on VL&A for the next issue of the NFLCC Magazine (after he had—and rightly so--rejected my proposal of an article on sex and fishing tackle advertising). You will assuredly see pics of this in the VL&A article!

There were a few other pieces I added, including a number of books such as Albert J. Munger's Fishing and Collecting Old Reels & Tackle & History, Dean Murphy's Made in Missouri, 2nd Edition, a 1964 Herter's Catalog, a 1925 Elmira Arms Catalog, and some other assorted materials.

So the NFLCC Nationals was a huge success both personally and from the standpoint of the club. My thanks go out to my friends old and new for all the fun.

Only 360 days until Peoria!

--Dr. Todd