Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dr. Todd's Mailbag: December 2009

Dr. Todd's Mailbag

It's been FAR too long since I've done a mailbag. Well, I'm here to remedy the situation today. While I can't say I will be able to answer every question sent to me on the blog, I do make an effort to email everyone who sends a query.


Dr. Todd, Has anybody ever followed up on this? Would make a great story. Imagine finding a collection of fishing tackle started in 1924! Gary M.

Thanks for sending this our way, Gary! Someday maybe we can convince Dan Basore, Bill Sonnett or another intrepid author to write and article on the old-time lure collectors. I recall an article on a Priest-turned-tackle-Collector who had something like 5000 lures in the late 1930s. As far as I know, no one has followed up on this. But what a find if it was all still stashed in a warehouse somewhere!


Dr. Todd. I enjoy the blog! I've been thinking of making a small collection of Mepps, but don't know how to tell the original first Mepps spinner from the later ones. Can you help? Sincerely, Mary H.

Hi Mary!

This is a great idea! I've been waiting for these small spinners to become collectable, and maybe now is the time. Since Mepps was imported from France by Sheldon's in Antigo, WI, and since I used to shoot squirrels and send the tails to them every fall, I have a particular fond spot for the Mepps spinner.

Here's the original French patent drawing from 1938. Note it says "Mepps Shimmy" on the blade. I believe this is the first marking.

Someone please write a history and ID guide to Mepps spinners!


Here is my Heddon Cribbage Board, the new addition to my collection, measures 16" long 6" wide and 2" high, has a built in drawer that holds the pegs and deck of cards, inserted one of my early replacement glass eyes into the Heddon 150 , also dissplays up bass box, enjoy, Norm

Dear Norm,

I come from a Scandinavian family that is very, very difficult to impress. But this is an impressive feat. First of all, I admire anyone who works in metal and have long desired to get a lathe and learn how to machine metal parts. It's just something I think would be awesome. Second, I love cribbage. My whole family loves it. Sometimes when we are up at my cabin we'll get into matches that last a full week. Nothing I like better than coming roaring back down fourth street and leaving my opponent in the skunk hole. So this is one of the coolest things I've seen in ages!

Hope all is well with you. Here is a photo of six Native American lures/hooks I thought you might like to use on your blog. If you wanted individual photos of them, I can do that too but not right away. Happy Trails!

Hi Ronn,

Yes, I definitely think many people would be interested in seeing these native hooks and lures. Native Americana is a great field, and fishing items from it are of particular beauty. I love the organic look and feel of these lures, and moreover, I have no doubt they would absolutely work to catch fish. Thanks for sharing!


Hello Dr. Todd.  Thank you again for your fishing history blogspot; through your article on G.M. Skinner lures, I was able to identify a skinner lure that I recently purchased as a pre-1895 model (Skinner's Combination Bait?); Arlan Carter's book shows an add on page 94 for the Skinner's Combination Bait, that states that it came in nickel, copper and brass; however, my lure appears to be plated with silver (german silver?) - my photos do not show the true tarnished colors due to the overwhelming flash.

I would greatly appreciate any confirmation/information on this lure - though the real reason why I am contacting you, is the braided metal "trace" that is attached to the swivel - is it possible that this is original?  On page 90 in Arlan's book, he has a Skinner add that shows a trace attached to the swivel.  This is a neat lure and I would love to know more about it.  Thanks!  John

Hi John,

What would a mailbag be without a Skinner question! Besides, flattery will get you everywhere here on Fishing for History. You indeed have a very early German Silver G.M. Skinner spoon hook, as evidenced by the placement of the number at the top instead of the center of the blade and the tell tale signs that differentiate the German Silver from the nickel plate. I have not seen a Skinner on a card or in a dealer box with a metal trace on it, but that doesn't mean they didn't ship them that way. They sold the fluted blade in a bewildering array of styles, and this is certainly one of them. The metal trace does look original to me. It's an awesome pre-1900 Skinner fluted spinner.
Well, that's it for the mailbag this time! I'll try to make it a more regular feature in the future.

-- Dr. Todd

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