Friday, May 30, 2008

The Friday Funhouse

The Friday Funhouse

Video of the Week

You will simply not believe this video. Sharks are simply unreal predators...

Things I Would Buy If I Could Afford Them

Wow. This 1910 Horton Bristol catalog is one of the prettiest around, with a beautiful Kemp cover.

Once again, a beautiful Stan Bogdan fly reel is at the top of the list of great reels.

The Bronson Invader is holding its value extremely well these days.

This nifty Conroy & Bissett reel is an awesome old New York reel.

This beautiful new Musky Vamp (Jointed) in Allen Stripey in the box is a great find.

This Meek #3 is an outstanding reel, especially in the leather case.

Ambassadeur 5500s High Speed models in Brown are rarely found.

This Heddon #900 is a classic lure.

Instant Collection Alert: 86 Storm Hot-n-Tots.

Is there anyone who doesn't love a Pikaroon?

Vintage South Bend Minnow with Bing's hooks; not sure what the subtitle means on this auction.

This William Mills & Son hard rubber trout reel is a great find.

This Tony Burmek lure--in the box--has attracted a huge amount of interest.

This Heddon Chugger in a bizzaro color is a great find.

Lone Star Lure of the Week: a Nichols Shrimp.

The always popularPink Princess from Johnson.

Awesome Van Vleck hooks in three sizes!

Flatted hooks marked on the head are a truly rare find.

This Shakespeare Revolution is a classic early lure.

The Sun Ray Spoon in the box would make any pearl collector's day.

Ending the list this week is perhaps the rarest fly rod on eBay in some time, an original Charles Murphy hand-made fly rod.

As always, be good to each other and yourself.

-- Dr. Todd

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hildebrandt History, Part II

Yesterday's Hildebrandt article brought some very interesting emails from Hilde-heads, as we might call those who collect Hildebrandt. Steve Kuchman sent me the following page from a 1990 Hildebrandt catalog, which I transcribed and cleaned up the images. Here it is in its entirety.

Hildebrandt spinners and lures have been a fishing tradition since 1899. The company was founded that year by John J. Hildebrandt, known locally as "Big John." John was a plumber who loved to fish, which is why he started making lures. The original spinner he made was handcrafted from a fine and one of his wife's hairpins. He made more spinners and they caught fish like magic. Soon, John could not make lures fast enough to satisfy the demand of local anglers. His plumbing days were over.

He decided to make his living manufacturing fishing tackle. He knew that the highest quality materials and workmanship would be important for his success. His desire for the best quality, combined with creative innovation, made Hildebrandt's the originator of many baits and lures that are now considered standards in the industry.

Big John taught his son, Hiram, the same philosophy. Hiram directed the company for forty-two years until 1954. During that time, the tradition of excellence continued and grew. Big John would have been proud, just as would be today. Proud because the value of superior quality materials and workmanship remain the foundation of our success.

Slim Eli appeared on the scene around 1925. Slim was created as a company trademark of dependability and superior quality. He represents the Hildebrandt spirit of a fisherman who is satisfied with his sport and the equipment he uses.

A lot has changed since the first Hildebrandt spinners were made and sold more than 90 years ago, but the Hildebrandt promise has remained the same. A promise to provide our customers with the best fishing spinners and lures available anywhere. All of our many products have one or more of the following features:

Stainless Steel Wire
Solid Brass Spinner Blades
Mustad Brand Hooks
Sampo Ball Bearing Swivels
Bright Nickel or 22 Karat Gold Plated Finishes

Most of the manufacturing of our products is done by hand. While the cost of manufacturing by hand is greater than automated manufacturing, hand crafting allows us to make all of our products exactly the way they should be made. If a product can be improved by making it a different way, we can make the necessary changes easily without concern about machinery designed to make something one way only. Hand crafting of our products also enables each employee to inspect every product at all stages of manufacturing. This is an important aspect of the way we provide our customers with the best quality spinners and lures they can buy.

Look for Slim Eli when you buy fishing spinners and lures. He is your guarantee that you are buying genuine Hildebrandt superior quality. Quality you can count on when you need it just as you always have, since 1899.

Thanks, Steve, for the contribution! Nice bit of Hildebrandt history...anyone got anything else?

-- Dr. Todd

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Bit of Hildebrandt History

I got a package in the mail yesterday containing a couple of dozen vintage spinners. I sorted through them quickly, laying aside the half dozen or so Pflueger and Shakespeare blades I had bought the lot for, and got ready to put the remainder into a box. As I handled the third of fourth spinner spinner marked Hildebrandt a thought occurred to me--is there any more overlooked fishing lure in history than the John J. Hildebrandt spinners from Logansport, Indiana? They are likely victims of their own success. After all, few tackle boxes are found without at least a couple of these blades in them. But Pflueger was equally omnipresent, but we don't ignore its history. So I thought I'd dig through the files and find some materials to help celebrate the 115th anniversary of a true American legend--the Hildebrandt spinner. Here is a great article to help us appreciate the firm, published in The Logansport Pharos-Tribune in August 1920.




John J. Hildebrandt Company Probably Best Known of Any Single Industry In Indiana.

A clever and likewise interesting window display may now be seen In the Boston store. The John J. Hildebrandt company spinners and personal belongings of the late Mr Hildebrandt, that formed the basis for the origin of an industry that has made Logansport more widely known than has any other single industry, constitute this display.

In 1893 the first spinner was made by "Big John." It was formed from a piece of wire, which made the shank of the spinner. While at his desk, Mr. Hiledbrandt made the blade of the spinner by beating a silver dime with his pocket knife into a blade formatlon. The two parts were put together and placed in a tub of water for trial. It worked, and Mr. Hlldebrandt continued to form this sort of fishing tackle for many of his friends. The business grew and the factory is started, and after the death of Mr. Hildebrandt his son conducted the business which has grown and necessitated the increase of the plant until today the Hildebrandt spinners are more widely known and used more extensively by fishermen than all other artificial bait combined.

There are 302 different sizes and kinds of bait manufactured at this local factory. They are made from nickel, copper, brass, gold, gun. metal, aluminum and pearl. The joining of pheasant, buck tail, guinea and various other feathers of brilliant hue is hard work and the best of materials are used.

There Is on display the late John Hildebrandt's personal rod and reel which he used on all his fishing trips. The original wire from which he formed the shank of the first spinner is also on display in the Boston store window. There is also on exhibit a black and white drawing by Wils Berry of "John's Dream" in 1919 of a fine factory for the year 1920. The picture shows Mr. Hildebrandt in his grave and a large factory in the distance. It would seem that the dream has come true. The Wils Berry picture is one of interest.

The entire display is an interestlng one, the background of which is varigated colored spinners on picture posters and some facts in connection with the display which attract attention.

-- Dr. Todd

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

News of the Week: 27 May 2008

A hungry pig eats a tackle box...tackle inventor Joe Sayers is profiled...the charity Fishing Classic in Brainerd celebrates its 25th anniversary...the Goliath Grouper is making a comeback...a bait shop owner shows how to compete in a Wal-Mart world...a transmission shop moonlights as a custom bait maker...knot wars...the toughness of the American Shad...a tackle company sponsors an Indy ode to a slip must be THE NEWS OF THE WEEK!

The Big Lead: Clarion, Mississippi has a problem with a hungry pig and an open tackle box...

The Times Leader declares that collectors are lured in by vintage fishing tackle.

Joe Sayers, tackle inventor, is profiled by his hometown Battle Creek Enquirer.

Doug Dypwyck celebrates 15 years as chair of the Fishing Classic in Brainerd, Minnesota--a huge fund raiser.

Saltwater anglers rejoice, as the Goliath Grouper makes a comeback.

These two Louisiana sisters make their living on the water.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch tells us how pro bass fishing is cashing in on its popularity.

This Brockton teen knows how to lure big bass.

This North Carolina bait shop owners shows how to survive in a Wal-Mart world.

Kentucky launches Fishing 101 for novices.
This transmission shop moonlights as a tackle manufacturer.

Bill Baab tries to count the number of lures ever made.

Knot Wars, Part II.

This angler gets a surprise of the sturgeon kind.

The American shad is a very tough fighting fish.

The opening of fishing season has brought some strange sights.

Targus Fly & Feather sponsors Arie Luyendeck Jr. at the recent Indianapolis 500.

This writer extols the virtues of slip bobbers.

When they're not wrasslin' gators and crushing Fosters' cans on their foreheads, Aussie anglers are reeling in monster cod.

The search is on in Ohio for the state record blue catfish.

15 year old boy better angler than you; catches 56 pound dolphin fish.

Finishing with a Flourish: Why fish carving is this man's passion.

-- Dr. Todd

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Memorial Day Post

Today you may be expecting the News of the Week. However, here at Fishing for History we never work on Memorial Day. Instead, I want everyone to reflect on the meaning of this holiday. For too many, it is just a convenient day off from work. But the reality of the matter is that this is a day when everyone should reflect on what it means to be an American.

As I was driving through Indianapolis yesterday on my return trip back home, I looked up in the sky and saw four planes flying in formation. It was the Blue Angels, getting ready for their fly by at the start of the Indianapolis 500. As I listened to the invocation at the start of that great race on the radio, it struck me that those of us interested in fishing history have as much to remember and memorialize as everyone else.

It was, after all, Civil War veterans like Capt. Thos. H. Chubb who helped found many of the tackle companies in the wake of that great conflagration that first popularized the sport of fishing. It was men such as Major Charles Conover of the Kansas CIty wholesale hardware firm of Richards & Conover that helped distribute this tackle across this expanding nation. And it was the host of veterans who, seeking a moment of solitude to forget the horrors of war, turned to the peaceful art of angling by the legion. It did not matter which side you fought on; fishing was the great equalizer.

In the wake of the Spanish-American war, noted firms such as the Shakespeare. and Abercrombie & Fitch--who hand-tailored Col. Teddy Roosevelt's personal uniform--plied the growing nation with the tackle it needed and desired. But it was really the First World War that transformed fishing. Returning veterans in 1918 and 1919 created the greatest demand for fishing tackle to that point in the nation's history, and a plethora of companies such as Thos. E. Wilson (who created a special fund to care for the families of employees at Wilson Meatpacking who were wounded and died in the war) to the ever-present Winchester Repeating Arms Company entered the fishing tackle field with a grand flourish.

Fishing and the Second World War is a subject of great interest and one I plan on penning a significant work on one day. But suffice to say the contributions of tackle makers was extremely valuable, as noted tackle makers made everything from the Norden Bomb Sight to survival kits. One manufacture--Montague Rod & Reel Company--made everything from bamboo ski poles to intricate firing pins for machine guns, all under the same roof. It was not unique. Back home, the tackle makers like Creek Chub and Pflueger continued to advertise, press for the purchase of war bonds, and remind Americans that brighter days were ahead. And in the wake of the war, returning veterans once again kick-started the American fishing industry and propelled angling to a position as the most popular past time in America.

Hand-made lure fashioned by US Navy Sailor from an oil tin, engraved with various stops across the Pacific.

So no News of the Week today--you can come back tomorrow for that. Today we remember the sacrifices necessary to preserve our freedoms. My father came back from the war and the occupation of Japan to start a family and fish once again. Others were not so lucky and their absence is still felt today. Is it too much to ask that one day every year we remember the contributions of soldiers past and present?

Have a safe and happy Memorial Day.

-- Dr. Todd

Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday Funhouse

THE Friday Funhouse

Video of the Week

New from Fox TV: When Geese Attack!

Things I Would Buy If I Could Afford Them

Four fly reels start of this week's eBay review. The first is a classic 1950 Seamaster.

A nice companion piece is this Bogdan #0 Fly Reel.

Coming from Britain is this awesome Hardy Perfect.

Finally we end with this Fin-Nor Wedding Cake #2. Not often that four fly reels of this quality come to market at the same time.

This great E.F. Payne Co. fly rod will bring some serious bidders, as it a late Jim Payne rod for Abercrombie & Fitch.

Got to love the Kent Frogs!

Here is a rare Vann Clay minnow that rarely comes to market.

This J.T. Buel T-patent model is a classic 19th century lure.

Marble's automatic gaffs always make for a nice display, especially next to a Norlund.

This White Shore Minnow 740 Punkinseed is a pretty, pretty lure.

This three-hook Pflueger Kingfisher trade minnow was sold by E.K. Tryon.

Speaking of Tryon, Jay Harvey was Tryon's highest end line of fly rods.

This Heddon River Runt Spook in Yellow Water Wave (Everready Color) is a classic plastic bait in one of the toughest colorsx.

There seems to be a marked increased interest in eel spears like this of late.

A Haas Liv-Minno in a box is a nice find.

This early Creek Chub Wiggler 100 is a great find, especially in early redside chub.

This is a really rare

As I ran a little piece on Fred Nichols yesterday, it is only appropriate to highlight a .

Nichols bait like this

I really, really like this Creek Chub Bait Co. Pikie in Mackerel.

That's it for this week! As always, be good to each other and yourself over the long holiday weekend.

-- Dr. Todd