Saturday, July 31, 2010

Deconstructing Old Ads with Bill Sonnett

Jamison's Weedless Mascot

The March, 1915 issue of National Sportsman contains both this ad as well as the Editor's promotional write-up we feature today. Was there ever a more “plain jane” appearing bait than this one? This perhaps accounts for what must have been disappointing sales and its relative rarity today. Even the National Sportsman Editor, Dixie Caroll (the unofficial “King of Hype”) describes it as having a “simple and unpretentious appearance.” However after noting the Company's fine line of baits he goes on to say that this bait, “ surpasses anything they (Jamison) have heretofore put out.” The Jamison advertisement simply calls it the,”greatest of all tackle inventions.” The claim that it is also “reversible” arouses my curiosity. After reading the claims made for this lure, I am somewhat disappointed that it is as rare as it is, otherwise I could find a cheap beater and give the thing a good try out, as the lake I fish, if nothing else, is extremely weedy.

-- Bill Sonnett

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Funhouse

The Video of the Week

Want to feel better? Watch erstwhile astronomer Carl Sagan's famed The Pale Blue Dot. It made me feel a lot better today.

Things I Would Buy If Only I Could Afford Them

This is one smooth Walker fly reel.

These Pflueger 2600s are coming out of the wall this week...and they are super sweet finds for the Supreme collector!

Ah, Mitchell've got to love their passion, like the ones killing each other over this Otomatic in the box.

This Farlows fly reel is a great British export.

This 8' Thomas Bangor Special is a superb rod.

How often do you see a Pflueger Muskallonge Minnow in intact shape?

A rare Heddon 00 in the box is making the Heddon guys swoon.

Wow, this McMonies creel from Portland is really beautiful!

Gawd...this Heddon Musky Vamp is gorgeous!

An interesting set of eight ice fishing rods has attracted a lot of attention. The more I look at them the more I like them!

Heddon made some neat trade rods for Folsom Arms.

A Heddon Bob Davis fly rod lure in the box is an excellent find.

Lew Stoner made some of the best fly rods ever. His hollowbuilt rods are a dream!

An Abercrombie & Fitch model proves that tackle boxes are very cool collectables.

Winchester reels in the box are rare finds indeed.

And finally, this...a Japanese G.I. Bamboo rod kit selling for an all-time record price. These rods were featured on the last episode of PBS' Antiques Road Show. Coincidence? I think not...

As always, have a great weekend and be good to each other, and yourself.

-- Dr. Todd

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thursday Review: Skeleton and Joe E. Pepper Web Sites

Technology has made it easier to create a web site today than ever before. Web sites like Weebly and others are not only very easy to use, but in some cases are actually free. As a result, we are getting a proliferation of fishing tackle and history web sites. Today we'll take a look at two recent ones.

The first is Richard Lodge's Skeleton Fly Reels web site. Richard, the author of the acclaimed Skeletons: A Collector's Guide to Raised Pillar Fly Reels, who has taken a good deal of information on this mysterious reels and put them on-line for us to view.

Richard's web site has a ton of great information, picturing models from Yale, Bronson, Montague, and others who manufactured skeleton fly reels. The information is concise and useful, and Richard promises to update it regularly as new information comes to light.

A second really interesting new web site comes from "Pepper" Jack Gallagher, author of the great book The Peppers of Rome, N.Y.. His web site, naturally, is dedicated to the Joseph E. Pepper bait company.

Jack has been researching and collecting Pepper for a long time, and the depth of his knowledge shines through. Jack covers the various categories of Pepper lures -- metal, composition and wood -- as well as a great section on miscellaneous Pepper pieces. Many of these items have rarely pictured before; I'd only seen one other "Pepper's Detachable Frog Hook" on the card before, for example.

Both the Skeleton and the Pepper web sites fill a great need in the collecting world. As it's never been easier to create a quality web site, I encourage everyone to learn from Richard and Jack's experiences and jump into the digital age. Outstanding sites like these two only enrich all of our experiences, and disseminate knowledge to the wider world.

-- Dr. Todd

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Kentucky Folk Art Fishing Lures of John A. McCollum Sr. (1892-1977)

The Kentucky Folk Art Fishing Lures of John A. McCollum Sr. (1892-1977)

One of my all-time favorite people is my Kentucky neighbor John Caldwell. John is always in a good mood and more than willing to share his extensive knowledge, so I was thrilled at the 2010 Knoxville Nationals when he took the time to tell me about the hand-made lures crafted by his grandfather John A. McCollum, Sr. I'm always fascinated by the subject of folk art baits, and these are some really, really neat ones. I'll let John explain the background to these great lures:

My grandfather John A. McCollum Sr. (1892-1977) was born in 1892 at Climax in Rockcastle County, Kentucky. He lived as a small boy at Redbird in Clay County, Kentucky where his father operated a general store. They moved to northern Georgia after his family supposedly became involved in one of the infamous Kentucky family feuds, the Baker-Howard Feud. I know he lived in Crandall, Georgia for a while as that was where my mother was born. I remember he told me he worked for the railroad while they lived in Crandall. While my mother was still a baby they moved to Conasauga, Tennessee just north of the Georgia state line where he worked for the Conasauga Lumber Company. A few years ago I had the opportunity to visit Conasauga as I was taking my mother to visit her older sister in northern Georgia. The house they lived in is still standing and the Conasauga Lumber company is still in business. My mother said she remembered my grandfather catching rattlesnakes and keeping them in cages hung from a tree in their yard. She thought he did it because he enjoyed watching them but my uncle tells me he sold them to carnivals when they came through town. She said he spend a great amount of time fishing the Conasauga and Jacks rivers in the Southern Tennessee and Northern Georgia Mountains.

In the mid '20s he moved his family to Berea, Kentucky where he was employed as a carpenter. He was one of the founding members of Local 1270 of the Carpenters Union. He and his wife Rossie Bates McCollum raised seven children, and two of them are still living, Lowell McCollum and Lois Ann Haddix. My uncle thinks he made the lures about the time he retired, approximately 1960. I got part of the lures when I bought his old tackle box at his estate sale. After acquiring the tackle box I remembered that he gave me some lures when I first started fishing. I went to my parents house and found my old tackle box and a number of these lures were in it.

After storing the lures and tackle box in a closet for a couple of years, I got them out to look at and this started me into collecting old fishing tackle. He was extremely accomplished at making things. I can remember a toy machine gun he made me that had a small crank on it and when you turned the crank it made the sounds of a machine gun. I also have a Chinese checker board he made along with a small stair step bookcase. I am sure there are other items he handmade that are still in the family. Unfortunately his skills in making things were not inherited by me. His oldest son John Jr. was a carpenter, my father was a carpenter and my Uncle Lowell is an accomplished wood worker. I cannot even drive a nail straight.

My grandfather died in 1977 in Berea, Kentucky. Several folk art collectors have wanted to buy these lures but I see them as part of my family's heritage. I will pass them on to someone in my family's next generation and hopefully they will feel the same way.

That's the thing about folk art bait--in many ways they are priceless. These are incredible lures with a wonderful story behind them, and I thank John for sharing them with all of us.

Three nifty lures, including one (center) patterned after an early Worden spinner.

I particularly like the scale patterns on these lures.

These are just classic folk art baits.

This is one of two mechanical baits, where you pull the line and the wings move.

This is the second mechanical bait. Awesome.

Another great mechanical lure.

The entire collection.

-- Dr. Todd

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Voices from the Past: Split Bamboo Pool Cues (1908)

I have always been interested in billiards (having run a pool hall for three years in college), and I've broached the subject of split bamboo pool cues with noted rodmaker Bob Nunley, author of the new book The Snake Rod and Other Stories from the Rodmaker's Bench and a professional pool player in his spare time. I'd never seen or heard of one before, but the 28 November 1908 Forest & Stream conclusively proves that somewhere, there is a eighteen-strip (double built) bamboo pool cue lying around. Anyone seen one before?

Split Bamboo Cues

The exceedingly heavy, thick, short rods used by bank fishermen are often referred to as billiard-cue rods, but so far as we know, it remains for an English firm to reverse the order and manufacture billiard cues from so-called split bamboo. It is also stated that golf club shafts and stays for water balloons are made from this material. Whip stocks have long been made in America from split bamboo, and these are also made in England.

It seems that the billiard cues of sawed cane are built up from nine strips, double enameled, making eighteen strips in all, and this method readily admits the introduction of heavier material of such wood as walnut, rosewood, juniper, purpleheart, etc., between the cane strips or inlaid in the strips.

A billiard cue of cane alone would scarcely be heavy enough to serve its purpose, so these are fitted with a weighting arrangement which is adjustable to place the balance where it should be. In the cues which are fitted with a bone joint and screw of steel, to reduce their length for carrying, it is likely the tips are made of built cane and the butts of cane and heavier wood, such as maple or beech.

American golf clubs are generally fitted with hickory shafts, but the objection to these is that they are likely to break at the smallest part, just above the head. Bamboo, being springy and strong, should serve well for this purpose, as well as to impart ginger to the stroke. We have never seen a golf club so made, although there may be plenty of them in America.

-- Dr. Todd

Monday, July 26, 2010

News of the Week: 26 July 2010

Don't have time to read 50+ fishing and tackle collecting blogs and web sites? Well, let us do it for you! Follow all of the latest news, articles, and stories on our Whitefishpress Twitter account! Hint: You don't need to be a member...just bookmark the Twitter Feed Page or click on latest links to the right!

A passion for antique tackle...why the Strike King Sexy Shad may the defining lure of this the carp the freshwater bonefish...Captain Mel Berman's fishing lures...a review of An Entirely Synthetic angling mural...Skunk Works bamboo rods gets sued...TV's Deadliest Catch goes walleye fishing...a fly angler stalks the angling CD benefits fishing waters...Aussies get into the mind of a Great White Shark...

The Big Lead: The Island Packet details a passion for antique fishing tackle.

Why the Strike King Sexy Shad may be the defining lure of this generation.

Is the Carp the freshwater bonefish?

Memories of Captain Mel Berman and his fishing lures.

Why catching your own bait can be fun and easy.

A nice review of Anders Halverson's An Entirely Synthetic Fish.

This young graffiti artist paints angling murals.

The story of Skunk Works bamboo rods and the ridiculous Lockheed lawsuit reaches Tech Dirt.

Kenai Reds are now running.

Star of TV's Deadliest Catch fishes for Lake Erie Walleye.

A reprint of a very odd story of a man who stalks the Kennedy compound with a fishing rod, but never makes a cast...

A 47 pound bass saves a slow week.

New CD "Songs from the Tackle Box" benefits fishing waters through Recycled Fish.

Why a fight with a marlin shows the value of a knot.

Aussies are trying to get inside the mind of a Great White.

Finishing with a Flourish: The Wall Street Journal reports on oddball surfcasters who fish for stripers while swimming have coined the term "Skishing" for their new endeavor. Too bad the American Casting Association already coined the word "Skish" for a type of casting game over 50 years ago.

-- Dr. Todd

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Research Report: 25 July 2010

This week in The Research Report we get a question from Claude, who asks about the origins of the "Swimmin' Minnow" type of lure popularized by Texas bait makers.

Here is Claude's question:
Swimmin Minnow type lures,  Who made the first one? Tackle Industries? A. D. MFG? PICO?  Also did Tackle Industries make copies of their swimmin minnow for other companies,  (Buck Eye Madd Minnow, Ol Bens Hobo and Millionare, Loco (made in Shreveport LA no one has heard of this one) and if so which ones?
Any idea where is a good place to start to research Lures made in Shreveport LA?  I don't live there so would be all phone or online research.
Also a tidbit of info,  The first Bayou Boogie was made in Monroe LA and looked more like a river runt than a swimmin Minnow.  At least all the research I can come up with says that.  I got one in the box. 
Thanks for any info that is provided.

If anyone has any answers to this query, drop me a note and I'll post it on the blog!

-- Dr. Todd

1000 Words

1000 Words

This photo and poem was printed in the 1937 National Sportsman magazine--it's one of the best depictions of the art of surf casting I've yet seen.

-- Dr. Todd

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Deconstructing Old Ads with Bill Sonnett

The Double Crank Handle

One of my favorite angling writers is O. Warren Smith, who in addition to several books, wrote many articles in the early years of the last century. He also served as the Angling Editor of Outdoor Life for some years. As an Angling Editor he was expected to review new developments in fishing tackle. Today's write up appeared in the October 1916 issue of Outdoor Life along with several other items under the heading: “Some Odd Casting Reels and Special Attachments.”One forgets how strange new developments sometime seem when first observed. Such was the case with the “double crank handle” when it first began to appear on casting reels. One writer of the day even ventured the opinion that one's fingers would become hopelessly entangled in such a contraption! Today it is the single griped, counter balanced handle that seems somewhat out-of-place in bass-sized baitcasting reels.

-- Dr. Todd

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Friday Funhouse

Video of the Week
A little ditty about You and Your Johnson.

Things I Would Buy If Only I Could Afford Them
This is an intensely cool ABU Garcia 5000 De Luxe with all the trappings.

This Miller's Reversible Minnow is a true classic bait.

A Heddon Deluxe #60 is a great bamboo rod.

Creek Chub Wee Dees in the box are a lot of fun.

This Heddon in Bar Perch is a superb lure. Love those hand painted gill marks!

A Heddon 45 in the box is a very rare combo.

A VERY early Heddon Deep O Diver intro box would make a great find.

This Heddon Ice Spearing Decoy is a fantastic bait.

An unbelievable lot of the first and second model Pflueger Summit level wind reels.

The Al Foss Easy Control reel is one of the nicest ever made.

This Clark Goofy Gus is making some bidders goofy indeed.

The Heddon Multiple Minnow is a lure that rarely comes to market.

Holy Massive Lures, Batman! This is a huge South Bend Teaser.

Always love the Pflueger Kent Frogs.

As always, have a good and a safe weekend, and be good to each other, and yourself.

-- Dr. Todd