Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Voices from the Past: Duplicating a Rod (1929)

The following snipped from Donald Stillman's "From the Angler's Angle" published in the January 1929 Forest & Stream illustrates one of the issues with rod making I have come to believe is massively misunderstood, at least when it comes to split cane rod making. That is, the idea that a maker can make every single rod feel and act the exact same. Now, if rods are made at the same time with the same batch of cane in the exact same method with identical tapers, they will likely act so similar we can't really notice the difference. But rods made to the same taper years apart can and will act differently. Don't take my word for it, listen to Donald Stillman, a rodmaker, outdoor writer, and fly angler of many decades.

Duplicating A Rod

An up-state rod-maker recently received through the mail a fly-rod (which he himself had built about eight years ago), with the request that he build an exact duplicate (with emphasis on the exact) in action, style and finish. The rod-maker groaned, for he realized, as many an angler does not, the insurmountable difficulties attending the filing of such as order.

One of the queer phases of rod making is the impossibility of building an exact duplicate of a high-grade casting rod. While it is comparatively simple to reproduce handle, mountings, windings, and even to closely duplicate calibrations from butt to tip-top, action and feel are too elusive to be captured by mere mechanical methods. While it is, of course, possible that the duplicate rod may be even superior to the original, you may rest assured that the action will be different.

-- Dr. Todd

Monday, July 30, 2012

News of the Week: 30 July 2012

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!

THE MONDAY 10: The Ten Fishing Stories of the Week You Need to Know

The Big Lead: NFLCC member gets profiled on neat Lake Whitney fishing blog.

It is fun to fish small ponds for big bass.

Bream fishing is fun for everyone.

The art of fly fishing at Orvis.

A world record ladyfish.

Guy Harvey's daughter catches 600 pounds swordfish.

Big fish catches anglers by surprise.

Pro wrestler is an extreme fisherman.

A Zebco wins this week's Field & Stream vintage tackle contest.

Finishing with a Flourish: Testing out a new bamboo fly rod.

-- Dr. Todd

Sunday, July 29, 2012

World's Most Dangerous Blade

A warning: these things are REALLY sharp and man do they hurt when they puncture your abdomen when you stupidly leave the damn thing on the kitchen counter and one side of the blade catches under sink, then you fall into it.


-- Dr. Todd

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Deconstructing Old Ads: Crisco – Helps catch fish as well as fry them! (1913)

Crisco – Helps catch fish as well as fry them!

There is no end to the surprises that await one on the pages of old “outdoor magazines”. Those surprises are not always in the form of ads. I recently purchased an April, 1915 issue of a somewhat obscure magazine entitled ALL OUTDOORS.Two things caught my eye right away. First, was the size of the magazine being 13 x 10 inches it would not fit on my scanner. Second, is the remarkable cover photo of two men fishing in a boat with a vintage outboard. The sharp focus and detail in the photo is really amazing.

When one looks through a large selection of pre-World War One outdoor magazines it quickly becomes obvious that much of the content is contributed by the readers. Discussions on fishing, hunting, sporting ethics, etc, run month to month and in many ways are the precursor to today's Internet chat boards. There are usually plenty of “hints” and suggestions (often referred to as “kinks”) from readers. I am always impressed with the frugality of the times and the need to “make do” with what one had in the way of fishing tackle. Again and again one sees plans submitted on how to make a serviceable tackle box from an empty cigar box. When turn-of-the-century tackle was still regularly found, the lack of sophisticated tackle was often in evidence. I kept the item pictured below, to remind myself how really simple the sport of fishing could be for the average person 100 or more years ago. The line is braided linen and is equipped with a hook, a sinker and a cork fashioned in to a bobber. One only needed a can of worms and a knife to cut a pole upon arriving at the fishing destination. When viewed in this light, a tackle box made from a cigar box with a couple of plugs and a spinner seems fairly sophisticated.

The following suggestion was found in this particular magazine and was reason enough for me to research a short history of Crisco. The product was originally made from cotton seed oil and was first advertised in 1912. It was an immediate success due to a shortage of animal fat during World War I. With the lack of refrigeration at that time, its staying power on the shelf was also a big selling feature. I'm sure the makers if Crisco did not envision the use advocated by this gentleman from Chicago in the following letter to the editor.

Oil for Bass-Plugs

Editor All Outdoors; I have been very much interested in All Outdoors for long but doubly so since its becoming a monthly publication. Following is an item for you that may interest fishermen and especially bait casters. Not intended as any special “ad” for the article mentioned, but I have found that Crisco, the new odorless cooking fat that does not become rancid, is a most excellent casting line grease. Rub some into a clean flannel rag and go over the line while still hung out after drying. This vegetable fat does not appear to decompose. It is saltless, odorless and invisible after applying to the line.

Also, ye members of the brotherhood who are bothered by your bass-plugs and artificial minnows cracking, when you have well dried a minnow that is beginning to check, rub Crisco into the cracks and abrasions in the enamel and apply a little dressing of it over the lure, hooks and all, and halt disintegration. In this manner many a plug may be preserved for a long and useful life. L.L. P., Chicago, Ill.

-- Bill Sonnett

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Friday Funhouse

Video of the Week

Al and Ron Lindner opine on their early days as tackle manufacturers. Well worth watching!

12 Things I Would Buy If Only I Could Afford Them

A Pflueger Tandem spinner in the maroon box is a nice find.

This is a rare Gene's Gem lure in the correct box.

I have always liked these Hobbs Supply Co. Bon Net musky baits.

This Shakespeare Underwater Minnow is a true warrior.

This Heddon A&I lure is really neat!

It would go great with this A&I Heddon "LaCrosse" rod.

What is it with these Pflueger spinning reels of late?

They don't come much tougher than this 1904 Outdoor Life magazine.

A Mills Phantom is a nice find!

A Talbot #2 German Silver is incredible.

A Pflueger Kent Frog Floater in the box? Outstanding.

Well, this may be a record for a Bronson Invader.

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

-- Dr. Todd

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ben Wright's Spinning Reel Report (July 2012)

JULY 2012


Featured Reels:
An early English Ainsco exc- sold @ 1216.80
A Cedar Seamartin exc- sold @ 1460.77
and a rare French Tricolore exc sold @ 3,098.12

Flo Line by Lou Meyers ewb @ 31.00
Old Pal Cougar 600 early w/gray cup exc+ @ 45.00
a kinda rare Rogue 150 w/slight wear @ 52.03
a kinda rare J.C. Higgins 535-31390 by Shakespeare
nib @ only 9.99

503 scf nib @ 137.56
cardinal C5 nib @ 170.00

Seamartin Mark 11 exc- @ 142.91

Dam Quick:
110N nib @ 150.00
248 exc- B/N @ 174.95 I offer declined
super 270 nib @ 149.99

Illingworth no 2 finish wear/chip in foot @ 192.27
illingworth no 3 exc- w/box for Helical reel @ 249.76
Fosters Exelsis spool repaired @ 159.22

Sfam exc- @ 693.01
Mepps Super Vamp exc @ only 110.00
Doperr first version exc- @ 315.00
Centaure Caribie green exc- @ 71.00
Freino Pexor exc- @ 314.85 wow
Mepps Super Meca red e-wb @ 350. wow

Micron Deluxe exc- @ 455.00 wow
2C/S later version ewb @ 75.00
mignon 33 blue exc- @ 255.00wow
Cigno missing drag knob crack in spool @ 181.50
Nettuno AP second version ewb @ 113.50
3V second version exc- @ 281.00
Orvis 76A exc @ 235.58
Orvis 150 nib @ 112.50
Pelican 100 copper color ewb @ 185.50

330 otomatic nib @ 152.50
cap 3rd version exc- @ 91.00
810 nib @ 375.00 wow
440 first version exc @ 150.00
410 " : nib @ 175.00
neat custom made all clear plastic 308 @ 280.00
a common garcia 300 like new w/wood box for 300DL @255.99 wow
two books Mitchell Collectors reference Guide by Dennis Roberts both exc+ one sold @ 108.50 one sold @ 178.08

704 second version nib @ 189.50 wow
722Z nib @ 87.00
550SS nib @ 242.51 wow

Press; 11 series----
2800 nib @ 247.50 wow
2800 nib @ 202.51
2810 nib @ only 31.00 why ?
2860 nib @ only 45.88 why ?
Sigma 025 nib @ 123.50
2080 cut a way SS exc @ only 43.00

3 first version exc @ 174.38
4 4th version nib @ 317.23 wow

Other Reels:
A Wright & Mcgill red/white/blue 225C centennial with matching rod both like new @ 198.49 wow
A German Preciosa DGMA exc @ 153.66
Ocean City 310 blue/red cup mpu nib @ 66.00
Olympic mighty atlas nib @ 73.02 wow
A&E Yellowstone cf nib @ 45.00
Malloch 31/4" first version exc- @ 186.02
Pinl Airex Spinster exc- @ 53.50 RNM
Daiwa mini spin with special foot exc @ 39.95

Note all the wows this month!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

EDITORIAL: Rethinking the NFLCC Nationals

EDITORIAL: Rethinking the NFLCC Nationals

First of all, let me say that the Fort Wayne Nationals was as well-run and organized as any National show I have ever attended. Massive thanks go out to Dave Saalfrank and all of the show organizers and volunteers. It was awesome and I really enjoyed all aspects of the show. I am really looking forward to returning to Fort Wayne.

What I think needs to be addressed has nothing to do with the amazing show put on by the volunteers like Dave and his team, or the fine folks in Kansas City next year.

What needs to be rethought is the NFLCC National Show itself.

I began thinking about this on Friday afternoon at exactly 2:30 p.m. while sitting on the show floor. I was at my table when a brand new NFLCC member stopped by to buy a book. After brief introductions, I asked him what he thought of his first Nationals. His response?

"I thought they said this was the biggest show of them all? Where are all the people? And why do half of the tables have sheets over them?"

I had no answer for him. At 2:30 on Friday afternoon--with the show floor open until 7:00 that evening--there were less than 100 people on the entire show floor. A show floor with 500 sold tables...

Contrast that with Thursday at the same time, when there were far more people and the aisles were crowded from one end to the other.

Then contrast that with Saturday, when almost everyone had pulled up stakes (including myself) and vacated the floor by noon, despite the show being open until five p.m.

The question you have to ask is: WHY?

The answer is complex, but includes a confluence of reasons: exhaustion from room trading, conflicts with the tackle seminars, people picking up and leaving for other shows, etc.

All I know is that if you arrive at the Nationals after Thursday, you are not really seeing the NFLCC in all its glory.

And that is a damn shame.

So how can we fix this?

I don't have all the answers, but I would like to offer what I think is a solution. It has been arrived at after much discussion with other collectors, and after a talk with outgoing NFLCC president Byron Parker, who offered very valid and cogent criticism. I appreciate very much his input.

So here's what I think is wrong with the NFLCC Nationals: it's long since outlived being a three day show.

I believe the NFLCC nationals would be far better served moving to a Friday-Saturday two day show. Let me explain.

If the NFLCC Show moved to Friday-Saturday 8:00-6:00, I believe we would not have the absences we normally see on Friday afternoon (Saturday being universally seen as a "dead" day).

What about Thursday, you might ask. Would we lose the bargaining power with hotels/convention centers by ditching a day?

How about we rearrange the Nationals in this way.

1) Move the Members Meeting (and Executive Board meeting) to Thursday morning/early afternoon, to be followed DIRECTLY by the seminars. I attended the great seminar by Warren Platt and Bill Sonnett on fishing antique tackle, and afterwards had a dozen people say they would have gone BUT THEY DIDN'T WANT TO LEAVE THEIR TABLES.

2) Move the Auction to Saturday Evening after the show ends. This as much as anything would encourage the NFLCC members to stay Saturday night, as well as potentially bring in more auction items. (By the way congrats to Brent Vonderheide and his team on a great auction, it was amazing to watch and raised nearly $50,000).

So to recap, I believe these changes would make for a much stronger floor show. It would:

-- encourage members to stay on the floor both days, as it would have a lot of traffic (from different groups) on both Friday and Saturday.

-- encourage members who have to work during the week to attend Friday afternoon/evening, as they would still have all day Saturday on the floor and the auction to look forward to…

-- it would make Thursday night the granddaddy of all room trading evenings, and one in which most members who book a three-day weekend could attend.

-- it would free up members to attend the seminars without fear of leaving their tables unattended.

-- It would turn the NFLCC auction into THE EVENT of the weekend, and encourage everyone to stick around Saturday for the duration of the show as they would stay for the auction.

-- Allow break down beginning an hour before closing on Saturday, and allow enough time so that people who have tables can still make the auction.

I would love to hear opinions, both pro and con, on this plan. Frankly, I think it would work a ton better than what we already have, with half-empty shows after lunch on Friday and all day Saturday.

Your turn…

-- Dr. Todd

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Most Amazing Picture In Fishing History?

This photo simply can't be described. It came via Doug Bucha, who's friend Ric Ladonski took this photograph twenty miles south of Sturgis, Michigan on his way home from the Nationals Friday.  Ric is Doug's partner from the Niles Riverfest. Doug writes:

He said that two young Amish men got out of the vehicle to get some ice for their cooler. He couldn't believe what he was seeing!! Neither would have I.

-- Dr. Todd

Voices from the Past: John W. Milam (1922)

Last week's piece on Kentucky reel history was well received, and at the request of Doug Carpenter, I'm publishing a second fascinating article detailing the history of the Kentucky reel. It's from History of Kentucky, Vol. 5 by William Elsey Connelley (AHS, 1922) and details the life of John W. Milam before going in to the history of the Meek and Milam firms.

John W. Milam, of Frankfort, is active head of the business originally established and developed by his father, the late Benjamin C. Milam. This firm, B. C. Milam & Son, are manufacturers of "The Milam," the original "Frankfort Kentucky" fishing reel, a perfected device probably known to every follower of the sport of fishing in America. These reels have been manufactured by the Milams for over eighty years. They have been awarded four international first prizes and medals: World's Fair, Chicago, Illinois, Fisheries Exposition, Bergen, Norway, World's Exposition, Paris, France, St. Louis Exposition, St. Louis, Missouri. They have been used by three presidents of the United States, Grover Cleveland, William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. Joseph Jefferson was also a great admirer of this reel, having four. A number of years ago a competing firm began manufacturing what they called the Frankfort Kentucky reel, and finally the Milam Company asked the courts for protection for their rights. The case was argued before Chancellor Shackelford Miller, later Chief Justice of the Kentucky Court of Appeals, who on November 2, 1901, rendered an opinion asking for an injunction in favor of the Milam Company. The evidence brought out during the trial and the decision of Judge Miller constitute an interesting history of this famous reel and of the business of B. C. Milam & Son.

Before taking up the facts brought out in this trial something should be said of the Milam family in general. The Milams are of Welsh descent. Moses Milam, grandfather of Benjamin C. Milam, came from Wales to this country and married Pattie Boyd, and their son, John Milam, was born in Virginia in 1780, and at an early date settled in Franklin County, Kentucky, where he owned and operated a large farm of 4oo acres. He died in Franklin County in 1843. John Milam married a Miss Bradley, who died in Franklin County.

Benjamin C. Milam was born in Franklin County, near the City of Frankfort July 1, 1821. He was a nephew of Col. R. Milam, of Alamo fame, he having captured the fort and delivered it to Travis, Crockett and others. Mr. Milam was also connected by blood relation to Richard M. Johnson, once vice president of the United States. When about sixteen years of age Benjamin C. Milam went to Frankfort, and from the evidence adduced at the time of the trial mentioned he soon became an apprentice with Jonathan Meek, a Frankfort jeweler. In 1839 Jonathan and B. F. Meek formed a partnership known as J. F. & B. F. Meek, with B. C. Milam associated with them. It was a watchmaker, Theodore Noel, who had made a fishing reel at Frankfort about 183o, and the manufacture of reels was an incidental part of the business of the firm of J. F. & B. F. Meek. B. C. Milam, not liking watchwork, took up the reel business and developed the multiplying reel to its present state of perfection, and devoted practically his entire life to that business. In 1848 B. C. Milam was taken into the firm, which became J. F. Meek & Company, Mr. Milam doing all the work of making reels. These reels were stamped "J- F. & B. F. Meek." In 1852 the firm failed and Jonathan Meek removed to Louisville, while on January 1, 1853, B. F. Meek and B. C. Milam formed a new firm as Meek & Milam, continuing the business of jewelers and reel making at the old stand on Main Street. Mr. Milam had entire charge of and did all the reel work on the second floor above the watchmaking and jewelry establishment. Their partnership agreement was to the effect that upon dissolution the reel making outfit was to go to Milam. By mutual consent the partnership was dissolved in 1855 and Mr. Milam continued at the head of the independent business on the second floor of the old quarters. During the partnership the reels were stamped "Meek & Milam," and after the dissolution the reels had the same stamp until 188o, a period of twentyseven years, though Meek had no interest in the business. During that time the Meek & Milam reel became famous not only throughout the United States but was known to the anglers of Europe. In 1882 B. F. Meek removed to Louisville and began making a reel, and in 1898 sold his business there to others who formed a corporation to continue the manufacturing of reels. Meek then returned to Frankfort.

The following quotation from the opinion of Judge Miller reveals the important points in the legal controversy and something further concerning the history of the business itself: "The plaintiffs, B. C. Milam & Son, now complain that the defendant corporation B. F. Meek & Son, with the design and purpose to get plaintiff's trade and to deceive the public is now and has since its purchase from Ben F. Meek in 1898, been manufacturing reels in Louisville, which it puts on the market advertised as the original 'Frankfort, Kentucky Reel' by reason, whereof, it is claimed the public are deceived into buying defendant's reels as the reels of plaintiffs' make. No one of the Meeks are interested in or employed by the defendant corporation B. F. Meek & Sons.

"Prior to 1882 the Meek & Milam Reel made in Frankfort by B. C. Milam, had become generally known in Kentucky as the Frankfort Reel and outside of the state as the Kentucky Reel or the Frankfort, Kentucky Reel, and was so advertised by Milam in 1882 and was so stamped by him in 1896. The descriptive term or phrase Frankfort, Kentucky Reel was first used by Milam. Furthermore B. F. Meek was never engaged in the manufacture of these reels at Frankfort after 1855, while Milam had been continuously in that business at the old stand, 318 Main Street,
from 1848 to the present time, a period of more than fifty years.

"The plaintiffs' reels have become famous during a period of nearly fifty years of exclusive manufacture at Frankfort, Kentucky—in fact they became so popular as to be generally known and subsequently advertised as the 'Frankfort, Kentucky Reel.' To allow the defendant corporation to reap the benefit of the plaintiffs' long and honorable course in business by indirectly naming or calling its reel made in Louisville and as the Frankfort Reel or the Frankfort, Kentucky Reel—something that Ben F. Meek, its assignor, never attempted or claimed—would be in violation of the broad and equitable rule of fair trade laid down in the many authorities above cited."

Benjamin C. Milam died at Frankfort in 19o4, several years after his controversy was decided. Besides his place as a manufacturer he was also a well known banker, having helped establish and for many years was president of the Deposit Bank of Frankfort. He was a veteran of the Mexican war, having served as captain of cavalry under Colonel Humphrey Marshall. He was a republican, was two terms a member of the city council, president of the council and mayor pro tem, and was affiliated with Hiram Lodge No. 4, A. F. and A. M., Frankfort Chapter No. 3, R. A. M., and Frankfort Commandery, K. T.

Benjamin C. Milam married Martha Shockley. She was born in Frankfort in 1826 and died in 1885. Her father, Thomas Shockley was born in Franklin County in 1783, spent his life as a farmer and died in Franklin County January 21, 185o. His parents were Benjamin and Sarah Shockley, early pioneers of Kentucky. Thomas Shockley married Ann Stephens, born! in December, 179o, and died November 23, 1876. She was a daughter of John and Martha (Faulkner) Stephens. John Stephens was one of the real pioneers of Kentucky. Born January 3o, 1763, he came to Kentucky from Orange County, Virginia, and settled in the County of Franklin. He served as a soldier in the Revolutionary war, took part in a number of Indian campaigns, and his was the first house burned by the savages in Kentucky during the period of early settlement. He was one of the garrison that defended Bryant's Station near Lexington when that place was besieged by Indians.

Benjamin C. Milam had two children, Annie and John W. The daughter, who died in October, 19oo, was the wife of Uberto Keenon, who died at Frankfort October 16, 192o. Mr. Keenon was for a number of years an official in the Deposit Bank of Frankfort.

John W. Milam, who continues the industry founded by his father, was born at Franklin July 12, 1859. He was educated in public schools and was prepared for college in the private school of J. W. Dodd, but at the age of seventeen left school to enter his father's manufacturing establishment, subsequently became a member of the firm B. C. Milam & Son, and for the past sixteen years has continued the business as his father's successor. The home of the firm now is at 222 West Main Street. Mr. Milam is also a director in the National Branch Bank of Kentucky at Frankfort and is president of the Frankfort Cemetery Company. He was a captain of several teams to prosecute war work and one of the generous Frankfort business men who responded to all calls upon purse and time for patriotic need. Mr. Milam is owner of much valuable city property, including five residences, is interested in a five acre tract within the city limits, and his own home is a modern place at 325 Shelby Street. Mr. Milam is a republican, was for two terms a member of the city council and one term city treasurer. He is treasurer of the First Presbyterian Church at Frankfort, is a past exalted ruler of Frankfort Lodge No. 53o of the Elks, and a member of the Knights of Pythias.

On September 12, 1888, at Hamilton, Ohio, Mr. Milam married Miss Mary Vander Veer, daughter of Henry and Sallie (Millikin) Vander Veer, now deceased, and a granddaughter of Thomas Millikin, one of the most noted lawyers in the State of Ohio. Her father was in the real estate business at Hamilton. Mr. Milam was seven years in military service, first as a private lieutenant, and was commissioned captain in 1883 of the State Militia.

-- Dr. Todd

Monday, July 23, 2012

News of the Week: 23 July 2012

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!

THE MONDAY 10: The Ten Fishing Stories of the Week You Need to Know

The Big Lead: Fort Wayne national tackle show gets a lot of great press!

British auto sports store begins offering fishing tackle.

Five piece brass band are hooked on fishing.

What kind of swivel do you need?

Ontario seeks anglers with free fishing week.

How to increase your fishing vocabulary.

Why Tyler Befus is not just an ordinary fly tier.

Pittsburgh State University professor teaches fly fishing.

The story behind Eagle Claw snelled hooks.

Finishing with a Flourish: Soccer star Ronaldo is a new convert to the angling fraternity.

-- Dr. Todd

Sunday, July 22, 2012

1000 Words

This week in 1000 words we recall the connection between baseball and fishing. This photo dating from the early 1960s shows the New York Yankee pitcher Ralph Terry (107-99 for his career) on the left, minor league pitcher Jim Marrujo (a native Cherokee who pitched 10 years of minor league ball) in the center, and on the right Don Wright, who's career dated back to Babe Ruth days. They are fishing the Margate River in Florida.

-- Dr. Todd

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Deconstructing Old Ads: Back-Lash Nite-Light (1953)

Back-Lash Nite-Light (1935)

Those who know me well and those who have read this column regularly, know that I love fishing for bass after dark. There is nothing quite like the smash of a big bass next to the boat after slowly retrieving a surface lure across starlit waters. Often one has the lake to themselves at this time and the opportunity is never better to catch a really big bass. Night sounds of various birds, animals, the dip of the oars as well as displays of "shooting stars" are all a part of what gives night fishing its charm. Unfortunately, there are also mosquitoes and the occasional backlash.

Not wanting to "put the fish down" by turning on a light, one learns to operate in the dark. Certain favorite lures are always in the same tackle box compartments so as to be easily located. The same with a pair of needle nose pliers and my pipe and tobacco (helps keep the mosquitoes at bay). I like a head lamp that is easily turned on at the last minute when one is about to stick their thumb into a bass' mouth that also contains treble hooks. Older "safety" style snaps on the end of the line help make lure changing easier when done by "feel" in the dark.

I really enjoy using vintage baitcasting equipment and lures. They double the pleasure of an "old time" night fishing trip. I enjoy the rush of a "lunker" as it takes line "under the thumb" with reel handles spinning in reverse. I have found braided nylon to be my favorite line for pre-1950 reels as it spools well, which is one of the keys to easy casting. Very little braided nylon line is manufactured these days but there is a lot of it around left over from its heyday and most of it has held up well against the ravages of time. The majority of braided nylon casting line is black with so-called "Camouflage" colors coming in second. When silk line was used before WWII the majority of it was also black. I use camouflage line with its alternating colors almost exclusively. This has nothing to do with any theory that the fish find it hard to see multi-colored line, but rather the frustrating experience of trying to untangle a backlash in black line on a dark night. Its hard enough when the line is made with short lengths of various colors.

Night fishing was far more poplar in earlier times and backlashes with that black silk casting line were common. Turning on a flashlight to untangle a backlash while night fishing has several downsides. It ruins one's night vision for a period, it tends to put any nearby fish down and worse of all it quickly draws a crowd of annoying insects. As a result of this last attraction, one learns not to hold a small flashlight in ones mouth while using both hands on the problem. LOL

No matter what the problem in fishing someone will come up with an invention to take care of it. The following advertisement is from the August 1935 issue of Field & Stream. It is for the "Back-Lash Nite-Light" made by the Boyd-Martin Mfg Co of Delphi, Indiana. Though the ad is fairly self-explanatory, I betting that this item was not a big seller and if it were seen today lying loose in the bottom of a tackle box very few would recognize it for what it is.


-- Bill Sonnett

Friday, July 20, 2012

Overheard At Fort Wayne Part II

Overheard At Fort Wayne Part II

"This is the NFLCC Nationals? Why are all the tables covered? And where are all the people?" (New Collector at 1st NFLCC Nationals, looking around the floor at 2:45 on Friday Afternoon)

"He has nineteen different Michigan Life-Likes? I can't even get a collection of nineteen Heddon spooks together."

"The longer he pauses before giving you a price, the less chance you're going to be able to afford it."

"I knew I did bad on that one. He couldn't get his money out quick enough."

COLLECTOR A: "If I had his money, I'd have a collection like that, too."
COLLECTOR B: "If you had his money, all you'd have is a bigger pile of s*it."

"It's nearly impossible to explain how great that reel collection is. There just isn't a frame of reference that makes sense for most people." (COLLECTOR A to COLLECTOR B, on the Best in Show Award winning display of Jim Schottenham)

"This is Fort Wayne, not New York City!" (Collector A to Collector B after getting the bill at a local bistro)

The Friday Funhouse

The Video of the Week

A cool video of Stu Apte fishing with the Citrus Queen ca. 1960.

12 Things I Would Buy If Only I Could Afford Them

This is a nifty Shur Strike Uncle Tom lure in the box.

A True Temper six pack of Speed Shads is a nice find.

A B.C. Milam No. 4 is a superb reel.

A Heddon "Macy's" casting rod is very rare.

Salmon guys are going crazy for the Harris Salmon plug.

A Goble Tulsa Wiggler is really neat.

This Moonlight Musky Pikaroon is my favorite lure on eBay this week.

The Everol 6/0 Graveglia is a huge reel.

A Heddon Musky Vamp is a huge bait.

A Heddon Tiger dealer display is a nifty find.

A Bagley DB3 in Rainbow will drive the Bagley guys crazy.

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

-- Dr. Todd

Thursday, July 19, 2012



What did I do my first day at NFLCC Nationals? Well, I did some room trading…had a great dinner with friends…saw a lot of great fishing tackle.

And, oh yes…I got a private tour of the 1931 J.M. Keeley Car and Tackle Trailer.


Yes, your intrepid fishing historian made the 15 mile trek from Fort Wayne up to Auburn, Indiana, where we were given a private tour of the astounding J.M. Keeley owned Florida tackle wholesaler's incredible combo, which has even more incredibly survived down to the present!

My friend Steve Lumpkin and I (he took these photos) got to see this rig inside and out. Many thanks to Auctions America PR man Ian Webb (Winchester, Indiana in the house) and to president Donnie Gould for giving us a personal tour.

In my opinion, this is the most historic piece of American fishing tackle history to come to market…ever.

We'll be posting LOTS more info and photos, as well as some videos, over the course of the next couple weeks. But until then, we'll leave you with this:

It was an incredible day! Check out the photos from Auction America's web site if you want a preview of what's coming up…but I warn you. It's only the tip of the iceberg!

-- Dr. Todd

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Overheard At Fort Wayne

Overheard in the hallways of the Fort Wayne Hilton:

-- "It's just not the same without Dick Streater" (Moose missed only his second Nationals since they began)

-- "You know that Creek Chub you thought about buying in Room XXX? The one with the crisp box? Well, I couldn't help myself. I bought it." (This was followed by a crestfallen look)

-- "I can't stand Bagleys." (Uttered by a guy with a room full of overpriced Heddons)

-- "Did you see this [Bagley] DB3 I got on the fifth floor?" (Collector A excitedly to Collectors B,C, & D in the hallway outside my room)

-- "He won't put that kind of money into something unless it shows a tiny bit of honest wear." (Seller A explaining to Seller B why a particular heavy hitter walked away from a screaming mint bait)

-- "I haven't seen a tough Millsite for sale in any of the rooms."

-- "Room #XXX has the best free food." (Collector A to Collector B, comparing the freebies)

-- "I asked the guy how much the lure was. He immediately launched into a story about it. Did you ever notice that any time a story precedes the price, you can't afford the bait?"

-- "I never go into a room if all I can see from the hallway are a pair of feet propped up on the bed."

-- "I remember a time when I thought $50 for a lure would be the end of tackle collecting."

-- Dr. Todd

Off To Fort Wayne!

I am off today for another NFLCC Nationals, in Fort Wayne, Indiana...

Look for some special updates over the next few days! Trust me, you'll want to stay tuned!

-- Dr. Todd

An Original Louis Rhead Painting

One of my all-time favorite writers was Louis John Rhead. Many people know Rhead from his books, and it's certainly not a revelation to many that he was also one of the notable painters of his day.

Below is a photo of an original painting sent in by Doug Bucha. Thanks, Doug! It's really beautiful. If anyone is interested in it, please contact Doug directly. He's in the NFLCC Directory.

-- Dr. Todd