Sunday, October 31, 2010

Three Field Find Stories by Jim Schottenham

It's not as if Jim Schottenham over at Lang's has enough on his plate, but he took time from his busy schedule to relate a few of the stories surrounding items in the upcoming Lang's auction next weekend. And let me tell you: IT'S STILL OUT THERE! Here are three amazing field find stories:

The first came from the New England area, when a consignor of Lang's went to a flea market - late in the morning, early afternoon. As we all know, getting to these sales late usually means all the "good" stuff has been found and purchased. This man walked up to a table, and there found three old reels - a marbleized Philbrook & Paine bass sized fly reel, a German silver NY ball handle reel, and a raised pillar Julius Vom Hofe trout reel - all in very good plus or better condition. When has asked the vendor what he wanted for the three, he was told $50. Yes, that is fifty dollars.

The second came from the state of Michigan, when a collector drove to a barn sale. As he walked in to the old barn, he noticed a few tackle boxes on a table, where a man was already picking through them. Not wanting to crowd the man, our collector gave him space and waited for him to move away from the boxes before giving them a look. The first box he came upon was an older tray style Kennedy box that has a rusty old scale in the bottom, with a smooth baby Flying Hellgrammite in the top layer of trays - unharmed. The guy went to find out how much the sellers wanted for the tackle box, and was very happy to hear $10 each. He asked if there were any more boxes, and was told there may be, as they were cleaning out the estate of a relative. He was also told he was the first to ask about the tackle boxes - which surprised them, since they had advertised on Craig's List that would have a few at the sale - and no-one had called or e-mailed before the barn sale. So, in the state that has perhaps more lure collectors than any other, a rare lure was found even after the sellers listed tackle for sale on Craig's List.

The last came from the east coast, when a collector drove past a yard sale held by a man he knew to be an old salt water fisherman. He pulled in, noticed a few rods and reels, and then focused on the open tackle boxes on the ground. Looking through one of the boxes, he found an old hard rubber reel that looked like a Vom Hofe, and sent a few pictures out for identification. It turns out it was an only known George Gates Salmon reel - and in fantastic original condition. When he asked what the man wanted for the reel, he was told $50.

So, as you can see, there are still great and rare items out there to be found. Fell free to use/modify as you need if you decide to use this on the blog. I've purposely kept the specific locations and names out as you would expect.
Unbelievable...thanks again to Jim for sharing these stories, and renewing my faith that every time I hit a flea market/garage sale, I might just find something of value!

-- Dr. Todd

1000 Words

1000 Words

For the next few weeks, we get some great photos from Terry Oxley's photo book. This first one is one of my favorites. Take it away, Terry:

I took this photo of a musky after a release.  I was out by myself and when the fish hung around and so I decided that would make a great photo.....makes it look bigger than it really was!

-- Dr. Todd

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Deconstructing Old Ads: The Mizzouri Bug

The Mizzouri Bug

This ad, from the September 1917 issue of National Sportsman is for the exceeding rare “Mizzouri Bug.” In checking around, I could find no one who had one of these baits in their collection or anyone who had actually seen one of these wood and rubber baits. This same company produced another rare bait around 1923 called the Mizzouri Bug Wobbler.

The Magazine cover is reproduced here and is one of my favorites as it say a lot about America's involvement in World War I

-- Bill Sonnett

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Friday Funhouse

Friday Funhouse

Video of the Week
Well, how about a little Elvis fishing song to kick off the weekend?

Things I Would Buy If Only I Could Afford Them
This is a neat backpack rattan fish basket.

This is a really rare Cortland silk fly line.

This 1933 Vom Hofe catalog is a rare bird indeed.

Although some people complain that the Horton Bristols are not as good as the earlier Meek reels, I like them, and this Blue Grass Simplex is a sweet running example.

Martin's Nottingham Style of Float Fishing is a classic book on the subject, with one of my all-time favorite covers.

You NEVER see these early come ABU Magazines up for sale.

This Leighton Bait Can from Pittsfield, Maine is an obscure and wonderful tin.

The Aussies are going CRAZY for these wooden Sea Martin spinning reels...

Love this Bogdan Salmon reel!

The Paw Paw Bait co. six pack of Wotta Frogs is simply incredible!

A Yellow Shore Heddon Crazy Crawler is a rare bird indeed...

The Leonard Mills fly reel is always a classic.

I also love this Cozzone fly reel.

A CCBC Wiggler in the box is always a welcome find.

This Jim Donaly Jersey Wow is a terrific fish catcher.

A gorgeous Arbogast Sunfish...

This Marsten Crossle Patent fly reel is a nifty reel indeed.

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

-- Dr. Todd

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thursday Review: Mark Miller's Hooked on Life

Thursday Review: Mark Miller's Hooked on Life

I can't think of a more fitting book to launch during the World Series than Mark Henry Miller's Hooked on Life: Hooked on Life: Reflections on Fishing, Baseball, and the Other Stuff of Life (Whitefish Press, 2010). This is a book very unlike any I have published before, but is something I have been meaning to do since I started the Whitefish Press five years ago.

It's a book about fishing and faith. It's also a book about baseball and faith. By now, if you've spent more than a couple minutes perusing my blog, you'll know these are three things I love.

And Mark knoweth what he speaks, having recently retired from a 44 year ministry. A graduate of Stanford (where he played baseball) and Yale, Miller writes in an engaging and direct style, as if he is standing in a room speaking to you. He is also a very accomplished angler, and the majority of these stories involve the life lessons we learn from being on the water.

At its core, what Mark teaches us is to celebrate life, to revel in the little blessings -- whether they are a rainbow in a stream, a salmon from the back of a charter boat, a crisp breaking ball, or the joy one gets from helping another in need.

Don't you think we need more of that in life?

By the way, Mark was such an accomplished pitcher he was invited to spring training by the Dodgers in the 1960s and got to be in camp with Sandy Koufax and other legends...

There are more than enough fishing stories for those whose primary goal is a good book about fish; there is an abundance of inspiration for those who seek it. For most, the combination of the two will be a delight. If you read this book and don't come out feeling better, start over--you've missed something.

The book is $14.95 and more information can be found by Clicking Here.

-- Dr. Todd

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Baseball and Fishing: Babe Ruth, Fanatical Angler

Babe Ruth: Fanatic Angler

Perhaps the most iconic figure in the history of baseball is George Herman "Babe" Ruth, the legendary slugger for the New York Yankees. Ruth began his career as one of the great pitchers in the league, but when he turned full time to hitting, he revolutionized the game. For several years, he hit more home runs than entire teams.

Ruth had legendary tastes and appetites, but one of the things he loved to to do in his spare time was fish. He talked in his autobiography Babe Ruth's Own Book of Baseball how he was as "funny looking a kid as ever got a trouncing for cutting class to go fishing." He became nationally famous early on as a piscator, and was even famously arrested in June of 1926 for fishing without a license in Michigan, and although an arrest warrant was issued, it had no repercussions. Interestingly, the press reported that the Babe only caught "a few scrawny bluegills." I can't help but think the wardens were Tigers fans....

It wasn't until Lou Gehrig joined the Yankees that Ruth really caught fishing fever. "Lou Gehrig would rather fish than eat," Babe famously wrote in his autobiography. They became very close and fished often together.

This famous photo of Ruth and Gehrig fishing was run in the Saturday Evening Post in 1931.

Much of their time spent fishing was in Florida, where as author Harvey Frommer noted, they went "boating and fishing for king mackerel or grouper in the Gulf of Mexico, then prevail(ed) upon a hotel cook to prepare the fish for supper, the Babe was having the time of his life." Ruth became so obsessed with fishing that according to Leigh Montville, one of his biographers, he used to go to the fish markets in New York and buy live fish, then put them in the bath tub in his hotel room and invite players and media alike up for an impromptu fishing tournament.

Photo of Larry Hunter and Babe Ruth fishing in Florida.

Ruth's fishing accomplishments made national news, as did most of what he did. It's hard to explain just how popular Ruth was--hardly a week went by during the 1920s and 1930s that did not see a feature article about him. Here's an example of a 1929 Associated Press photo of Ruth and his wife with a huge mess of fish:

The photo was run in hundreds of newspapers around the country.

One of my favorite stories of Ruth and fishing was his contest with Harold G. Lentz, champion surf caster, that took place in 1921. As covered by the national media (and magazines like Popular Science), Lents tried to cast a four ounce lead weight further than the Babe could hit a home run. According to Popular Science, Lentz won the contest in front of the 30,000 people who showed up at the Polo Grounds to witness it. Below are some photos from the article:

Here's a link to a photo of Lentz with Ruth owned by the Bettman Archives.

Ruth had a legendary soft spot for children. A good example of this is a story reported by the Equine Chronicle about horse breeder Carol Harris, whose father was a friend of Ruth's when she was a child. He used to come to New Jersey to visit, and while there, the two became fishing partners. “He used to visit my Dad and he loved for me to go fishing with him," she reported. "He hated worms and I would always bait his hook and then take the fish off."

So to end Baseball month here on the Fishing for History blog, let's tip a cap to the greatest player who ever lived--Babe Ruth. And let's remember him as a fanatical angler to boot.

-- Dr. Todd

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Voices from the Past: Bristol-Horton (1918)

The following copy comes from a full page ad in the May 1918 Boy's Life magazine and is a great example of two things. First, it is a wonderful piece of World War I advertising designed to invoke patriotism in the reader (note the tag "Bristol Steel Rods are Patriotic Tools"). Second, it is a wonderful example of targeted advertising, aimed at boys between the ages of 8 and 16. And it works on multiple levels--it encourages boys to be self-sufficient, thrifty in a time of war, and patriotic. One of my all-time favorite ads. Bristol-Horton produced a number of these war ads, and if I get time I'll try to feature some more.

Come On Fellers and Fish for Uncle Sam

You want to be a man right now and be big enough to fight for uncle sam. Here is a way you can fight and be a real help--while you are having lots of fun.

Every soldier must have plenty of meat and plenty of wheat. There is not enough meat and wheat for everybody. Soldiers must come first.

Uncle Sam is asking everybody to have meatless days and meatless meals and wheatless days and wheatless meals. Fish is not "meat," although it is one of the richest of all foods. During your vacation the healthiest thing that you can do is to go out on the streams and lake and fish with your "Bristol" Rod and MEEK Reel. You father and mother will be proud of you if you will "DO YOUR BEST" to catch enough fish for the family. The more fish you catch, the more mean and wheat will be saved.

That is helping Uncle Sam. That is being patriotic. That is being a real soldier "over here." You can fish evenings, mornings, holidays, week-ends and every spare moment. Just think of the fun it will be to pass your friends on the way home with a great big string of fish. They will think you are a wonder and want to know all about where you got them, what tackle you used, what kind of bait, what time of day, and everything else.

You will get a reputation. They will come to you as a boy who knows. If you catch more fish than your family can eat, you can sell them to your neighbors and buy War Savings Stamps. You might sell enough to fill a whole book and trade it in for a Liberty Bond. The most important thing, however, is that every time you catch your own fish, you save money. Every time you get other people to eat fish you save what and meat.

-- Dr. Todd

Monday, October 25, 2010

News of the Week: 25 October 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!

Ted Takasaki gets profiled...swordfish experts think rough waters...9 year old tragically dies while fishing...remembering Russell Blessing, wooly bugger inventor...Joseph Jefferson, actor and angler...salmon are ready to spawn...striper anglers await vs. artificial debate...loving Red Drum....Rapala buys back shares...shore angling for groupers is shut down...a review of Four Fish by Paul must be THE NEWS OF THE WEEK!

The Big Lead: A great portrait of fishing legend Ted Takasaki.

Swordfish experts think alike.

The best tips and practices for fishing in rough waters.

Apparently it's good fishing wherever you lucky dog, you.

Horrible news from South Africa: nine year old boy electrocuted while fishing.

Fly Rod & Reel remembers Russell Blessing, creator of the Wooly Bugger.

Fishing for the Great White Sturgeon.

Remembering Joseph Jefferson: Victorian actor and dedicated angler.

In pursuit of fly rod trout...

Rain has salmon ready to spawn.

Musky memories.

Striper anglers anxious for action.

Another debate on live vs. artificial bait.

The beloved Red Drum gives lots of thrills.

More love for the great film The Lost World of Mr. Hardy.

Rapala continues to buy back own shares.

Glory days in the surf.

THIS is the week to catch a big blue.

In South Bend, muskies and bluegills are on fire.

The super-sensitive Airity Rod.

Shutdown may mean the end of offshore angling for groupers.

Hall-of-Famer George Douglas adapts to steelhead waters.

Finishing with a Flourish: A review of Paul Greenberg's Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food.

-- Dr. Todd