Monday, November 30, 2009

News of the Week: 30 November 2009

5600 new species of fish identified...a massive Great White...Terry McBurney gets profiled...Thomas McGuane is Angler of the Year...a first rod-and-reel story...some dogs prefer fishing...a new MO state Brown Trout...the Humuhumunukunukuapuaa...the dangers of the Floating Pennywort...Boyd Duckett's new fishing rod company...two sports stars who prefer fishing...another review of the George Perry book...a North Dakota rodmaker...Florida is #1 in tying leads to madness? must be THE NEWS OF THE WEEK!

The Big Lead: 5600 New Species found in the Deep Sea.


Thomas McGuane is Fly Rod & Reel magazine's angler of the year.

Memories of that first rod and reel.

The Dickinson Press notes that some dogs prefer fishing.

Catching tuna from shore...are you kidding me???

Japanese tackle company Maruyku to open a factory in Wales.

A new Missouri state Brown Trout has been boated.

Ever hook aHumuhumunukunukuapuaa? If you have a daughter between the ages of 8-15, I bet she knows what fish this is...

Floating Pennywort threatens the River Trent.

Two BASS pros have a hard time...quitting smoking.

How to outfit a young angler this holiday season.

Boyd Duckett starts a new fishing rod company.

The Times of India writes that Tennis pro Nikolay Davydenko would rather be fishing.

So would UFC fighter Josh Koscheck.

Another review of Bill Baab's Remembering George W. Perry.

A profile of Bismarck's custom rod maker Robert "Woody" Woodward.

NFLCC and ORCA member Terry McBurney gets profiled.

How to sucker November muskies.

The Florida Gators are also #1 in college angling.

Finishing WIth a Flourish: How fly-tying began a drift into madness.

-- Dr. Todd

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Thousand Words with Warren Platt

A Thousand Words with Warren Platt

[Ed. Note: For the next couple of months, I'm turning the popular "A Thousand Words" over to Warren Platt, who's sent in some fantastic early fishing images. Here's his first offering]:

This photo shows two women in Sunday fishing clothing. Both seem to have their own tackle boxes and there are two long handled nets on the ground in front of them. On back of photo it says, "Vancouver 1914"

-- Warren Platt

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Deconstructing Old Ads with Bill Sonnett


We had a discussion a while back when someone ventured the opinion that the first plastic bodied fishing lures were made in the very late 1920's. My own example of an earlier plastic bodied lure is the subject of a write up from the April 1917 National Sportsman Magazine. Introduced in 1917, the second year Al Foss offered lures, the Oriental Wiggler was an immediate success and was still being made in the 1950's. The Nifty Minne was available with a clear celluloid plastic tube a few years before that as seen in this 1915 ad from Field & Stream. It could be argued that both these lures relied on something other than the celluloid portion of the lure. A live or dead minnow in the case of the Nifty Minne and a strip of porkrind in the case of the Oriental Wiggler. "Celluloid" plastic was registered by that name in 1870 so I'm sure there must be older examples than these out there. After reading this I'm sure someone will come up with earlier examples of "Plastic" lures. As I've said before, there is very little that is actually "new" in the field of fishing lures.

-- Bill Sonnett

Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday Funhouse

Video of the Week:

This is an awesome Van Campen Heilner video! Check out the vintage Vom Hofe...

Things I Would Buy if I could Only Afford Them
If you don't think fishing related matchcovers are hot, check out this Oliver's Outboard matchcover and know you are wrong.

This 1922 Winchester 5-Panel display is frankly pretty darn awesome!

Dickerson made a heck of a rod.

I almost never put a link to an auction without a bid, but I'll make an exception when it comes to T.P. Luscombe Allahabad Mahseer lures.

Instant Collection alert: Heddon Punkinseeds in Black Shore Minnow.

Love this Robinson darter from Florida.

A Milam & Son #3 is a nifty reel.

Jim Donaly put the "Wow" into topwater baits.

Pretty in pink...

This is a very pretty metalized underwater minnow.

WHile I wouldn't call this "outsider art," it is a nifty folk art painting of a pike.

HOw about a vintage Emmerson & Ruhren striped bass plug?

As always, have a safe and happy weekend, and be good to each other--and yourself!

-- Dr. Todd

Thursday, November 26, 2009

7 Things to be Thankful For Today (Once Again)

7 Things to be Thankful For Today (Once Again)

For the third consecutive year--2007's Missive is Here and 2008's Follow Up is Here--I present to you the 7 Things to be Thankful For Today.

1) Health. It's been a really terrible couple of months around here, which reinforces a salient fact about life: nothing else matters if you do not have your health. Seriously. I was once told by a theologian that the one thing in the world we cannot truly comprehend is our own mortality. In our minds, we are all going to live forever. Well, no one lives forever, but while you're here on earth, you better start taking care of yourself or you'll be checking out sooner rather than later. As men, we are accustomed to living through aches and pains, but there are some things (lumps, for examples), that need to be checked out immediately by a qualified physician. Putting this off may very well mean the difference between living and dying. Without your health, you have nothing...

2) Vintage Magazines. I've developed an unhealthy obsession with old sporting magazines. I just can't get enough of them. The layout, the writing, the ads, the photos--all of it is fuel for my addiction. Problem is, they take up a ton of room. But every time I've been stressed out this year, I was able to lose myself (and my cares) inside the pages of great magazines. So I continue buying them, and I continue to get lost in their pages.

3) Wild Bill Sonnett.. There have been many people who've helped out with the blog over the years, but no one has contributed as much or as high a quality of stuff as our own Wild Bill Sonnett. My God folks. I hope you realize every one of the "Deconstructing Old Ads" that Bill does is like sitting in on a graduate lecture on old tackle. Bill didn't learn this stuff staring at eBay photos. He built up his knowledge over decades of research and writing -- he was writing articles about Heddon before anyone knew what the internet was. So when you see Bill, give him a big thank you for taking the time to educate the rest of us from his seemingly limitless font of information (and ads).

4) Fishing With Daughters. I can't speak to having sons, but I do know about having daughters. And very little on earth beats fishing with your daughter. In fact, almost nothing at all. It is one of the joys of my year when I can get out on the lake with my nine-year old daughter and share with her my love of the outdoors.

5) Dogs. This year we welcomed a dog into our humble abode for the first time--a rescue dog at that. He's half long-haired dachsund and half Australian cattle dog, which basically makes him a cartoon character come to life. He's ridiculous, in a good way. He was basically bred to be abused in a pit bull fighting ring, and when we got him, he was emaciated and incredibly skeptical of humans in general. He has slowly come to trust us, and now I can't believe I lived so long without a dog. We named him "Gandhi" because he simply would not hurt a fly. He has enriched all of our lives.

6) Collector Friends. I've made friends in many areas of life -- school, church, work, etc. But the best people I know are anglers, and the best anglers I know study and appreciate old tackle. Through my 25+ years of collecting tackle and writing about fishing, I've been blessed to meet some of the greatest people on earth. I've also met a few jackasses, but that goes without saying. They are, after all, just about everywhere. The vast majority of anglers and collectors are salt of the earth.

7) A REALLY, REALLY Patient Wife. It is not easy to be married to an angler (there's a reason why the term "Weekend Widow" became popular), but when an angler becomes a collector...well, I probably don't have to tell you about that. Try explaining a $500 (or more) antique fishing tackle purchase to someone who isn't married to a collector and they will look at you like you sprouted horns. It isn't reasonable, or even sane, to the rest of the world. But my wife is patient beyond words with me, and for that, I am now and forever grateful. You see, like all angler's (and collector's) wives, she gets me. She understands why I can get so excited just by seeing something on the internet I have to call 10 people. She doesn't blink an eye when the mailman has to make special stops to drop off all the packages. She doesn't even get that angry when I leave empty boxes and packaging material lying on the floor. Strike that. She does get angry when I do that. But you get the point. Patient, forgiving partners--I wish one for all of you.

This is what I'm thankful for. How about you?

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday!

-- Dr. Todd

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

All Hail the Plastic Nylon Line Spool!

All Hail the Plastic Nylon Line Spool!

My forthcoming article in the next NFLCC Magazine focuses on the nylon and monofilament fishing line revolution. Coinciding with this was the movement from wooden/bakelite line spools to plastic line spools. I refer to them as "Nylon" spools to differentiate them from "Monofilament" spools (mono being a single extruded filament of nylon).

I inundated poor Dudley Murphy with hundreds of photos for this article, which he had to wade through. This meant some pics had to be left out. Here are some that I wasn't able to even scan for the article:

(Left) J.C. Penney's spool; (Right) Sears J.C. Higgins spool.

(Left) Belknap Hardware, Louisville; (Right), Missouri's Stowe Hardware Co. spool.

(Left) Summerlee Hardware spool; (Right) W. Bingham "Pikie" spool.

Two Pflueger plastic line spools.

Two Horrocks-Ibbotson plastic line spools.

A pair of unknown plastic line spools.

I did take a lot of time to scan of a bunch of nylon line spools; alas, the format of the magazine required this image be scaled down. I worked hard on this so I wanted people to see how cool looking these spools could be. Here is the one for the Nylon Line Spools:

I did the same thing for monofilament spools. We don't tend to think of monofilament line spools as being collectable, but a nice accumulation of them is actually a pretty display:

Click either of the images to see them in their full color glory.

You'll have to wait a few weeks for the magazine to arrive and learn the history behind the nylon and mono line spool, but until then, enjoy looking!

-- Dr. Todd

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Voices from the Past: The Gephart Rod & the Shauffler Reel (1949)

Here's an interesting article from the 16 August 1949 Portland (Maine) Press Herald by outdoor writer Gene Letourneau. He describes a new all-steel big game fishing rod made by Gephart and the hand-made Shauffler reel.

Sportsmen Say
by Gene Letourneau

Experiment on All-Steel Rod

Although not listed on the program, an experiment conducted on the fishing grounds during the fourth annual Maine Tuna Tournament seems worthy of mention.

Bill Gephart of Chicago was trying out a new all-steel big game fishing rod. He was in a charter boat out of Portland skippered by Capt. George "Whiskers" Baker."

Steel on composition rods, for some reason, are frowned upon by a lot of anglers, but we like 'em. Matter of fact we use that type of rod for various fishing, both in fresh and salt water and can't understand why they aren't considered as sporty as bamboo or hickory.

Gephart makes several types of rods, but the one he had while off the Maine coast was something new. It is about ten times lighter lhan anything seen yet on the tuna grounds and has a cable inside the hollow metal tube in the event It breaks. Thus the danger of an angler being struck by flying metal is practically nil.

Baker's mooring wann't too far from that of Sea-Shore Warden Elmore Wallace with whom we were covering the tourney. As a matter of fact it wouldn't surprise us at all if Baker took over Wallace's mooring for the rod test. We had to drop a hook overboard and the delay may have meant the difference of a strike, or a fish, as things turned out.

Baker and Wallace are probably two of the best known individuals along the Maine coast. They've been partners for several years although you would never believe it the way they exchange the verbal fireworks.

We watched Gcphart hook a tuna, watched Baker get out of the fleet. In 29 minutes, according to our watch, they had the fish boated "Whiskers" stopped at several other boats on the way back to his mooring, obviously to talk over the battle: but he never gave us a tumble.

Once back at the mooring, he raised a tuna flag, undoubtedly for our benefit. "Look at that so and so," Wallace commented, "he tells every body in the fleet about it, but he won't even come near us."

The following morning Wallace, however, had the story, and the new steel rod as well. It was eviddent he and Baker has gone over the previous day's activities.

"George claimed that rod really can take It," said Wallace. "The tuna weighed 548 pounds and at no time was out of Gephart's control."

The new rod was one of two we had over the side during the final session of the tourney, but since no fish struck, we couldn't try it out.

The steel rod has roller bearing guides, can handle a fairly large reel and will pay out either 39 or 54 thread line. It appears ideal for the 39. The rod will get the acld test before the tuna season is over. Wallace Informed that Gephart is willing to "replace 'em as fast as we break 'em" which indicates he's prettv sure it will hold up.

The steel rods have been barred in tuna tournaments but there are indications that they will have a lot of support before next year. The Gephart rod is whippy and light and deserves to be recognized as sporty. And its first test revealed it can take it.

Col William Shauffler, who is stationed at Dow Field in Bangor, and who served as chief judge at the Maine Tuna Tournament, is among the most ardent anglers we've ever met. He was a tuna fishing pioneer along the Maine coast and developed the hand-made Shauffler reel. He feels that handllnlng the big fish is more difficult than playing them on rod and reel and would like to see free-for-all competition on one day of future tournaments. Might even include the harpooners....Shauffler spends his days off either at the tuna grounds or bass fishing at Sebasticook Lake in Newport.

-- Dr. Todd

Monday, November 23, 2009

News of the Week: 23 November 2009

NFLCC Member reviews NFLCC member's book...bass on fly rods is ambitious?...learn your aqua etiquette...a Prince George hardware tackle merchant celebrates 90 years...a lifetime of model airplanes (and tackle) comes to auction...a full week of musky...lead tackle ban again causes controversy...IGFA is still making no decision...the hardest pulling fish?...Big Shark....catch-and-eat...a surprise 16 pound Pacu...and a 6 foot barracuda...Heddon ornaments? must be THE NEWS OF THE WEEK!

The Big Lead: NFLCC Member Robbie Pavey reviews NFLCC Member Bill Baab's new book, Remembering George Perry.

Water temps favor big bass in Natchez.

Catching bass on a fly rod is ambitious.

Why anglers should learn to practice Aqua etiquette.

Prince George's Northern Hardware celebrates 90 years of business, including selling fishing tackle.

One Winsted, CT man's lifetime collection of model planes and fishing tackle is coming to gavel.

A full week of musky...or more succinct, a full week of trying to catch musky.

Lead tackle ban in the news again.

The IGFA has still not decided on the potential Japanese world record bass.

British anglers loses five thousand pounds of tackle in theft.

Welsh anglers are concerned about climate change.

Field & Stream's John Merwin weighs in on the hardest pulling fish.

Holy Sharks batman!!!

Why catch-and-eat may not be such a bad thing.

Keys angler shocked by 6-foot barracuda.

Sunfish anglers catch 16 pound Pacu.

Finishing with a Flourish: Sheesh. It's Black Friday time again, even for anglers. Where else would you get your Heddon ornaments?

-- Dr. Todd

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Thousand Words

A Thousand Words

Another great image from Jim Schottenham.

-- Dr. Todd

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Deconstructing Old Ads with Bill Sonnett

May 1904 National Sportsman – First Advertisement for the Heddon #100

There are so many things to say about this ad it is hard to know where to begin. It is the ad that first set me to work in 1986 deciphering the earliest Heddon #100's. The bait is a typical 1904, three-bellyweight #100 with a few major differences. It appears to have no gill marks. It has a tubular extension washer on the rear rather than the typical brass washer. There is also a difference that escaped me until several years later. The nose washer is not the typical washer found on brass hardware Heddon Minnows, but rather the large, heavy washer identical to that found the previous year (1903) on the nose of the “Dowagiac Underwater”.

Experience has shown time and again that though a typical bait or reel may differ from an illustration, the artist had a model that looked exactly like the illustration and sooner or later one shows up to prove it. When my article on early #100's appeared in the first NFLCC Magazine (January 1991), I got a call from long-time collector Bob Essick, telling me that he had an early #100 with the tail extension tube washer identical to the one in this ad . When he found the lure, he assumed some fisherman had added the tube washer on the rear so he promptly removed it. Luckily, Bob did not throw it away and after seeing the ad in the article, placed it back on the lure. I have seen a several of the very earliest Heddon #100's that have the heavy “Dowagiac Underwater” washers, but to my knowledge, Bob's #100 is still the only one to show up with the tail extension washer.

-- Bill Sonnett

UNID Files #17: The Mysterious James Reel of Kansas

While not quite an "UNID," Dean Murphy sends us photos of a mysterious Kansas reel called the James Reel I've never heard about before. Perhaps someone out there can illuminate us on when it was made and, perhaps, send in some additional information on who made it. Here's what Dean wrote:

I am sending pictures of a reel which  seems to be an unknown. It is the James reel made by James Inc. of Independence, Kansas.A friend of mine grew up in Independence and his father gave it to him in about 1950. He is not looking to sell the reel but would like some history and, of course, value.

Anyone with info on the James reel can contact Murph directly at dam AT socket DOT net.

-- Dr. Todd