Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Art of the Lure with Elissa Ruddick: Hungry Jack Minnow

No, not the pancake mix, nor the Australian version of Burger King, this “Hungry-Jack” is big fish food! At least that’s what the Lloyd & Company from Chicago, Illinois wanted fishermen from the early 1930’s to believe. Even the front of the box states that it “GETS THE BIG ONES.” This articulated lure was based on the simple principal of “fish eat fish.” That is true, fish do eat fish, so why not design a lure to mimic just that? Very clever! They designated the larger minnow in the rear as “Hungry,” with the smaller minnow in the front being chased and in the process of being consumed by “Hungry,” as simply “Jack.” Their advertising goes on to say, “The water splashing into “Hungry’s” open mouth produces a natural swimming movement so necessary for the results you want. No wonder enthusiastic sportsmen already hail “Hungry-Jack” as the most important bait “natural” in years…Designed on a basic principal and already proved by veteran fisherman, “Hungry-Jack” is slated to be the “prize catch” of this or any other season.”

Little did they know that their statement of the Hungry-Jack being the prize catch of this or any other season would hold true, as many a lure collector would sure consider the “Hungry-Jack” as a “prize catch!”

If you have any questions/comments, Elissa Ruddick can be reached at elissaruddick AT aol DOT com.

-- Elissa Ruddick

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Friday Funhouse

The Video of the Week

Floridian captures massive sawfish.

12 Things I Would Buy If Only I Could Afford Them

This vom Hofe 6/0 Tobique is spectacular.

This Heddon 150 in frog is a nice lure.

A Garcia Mitchel 300DL is unreal.

Wow, this Heddon 4-hook Slope Nose is an old and rare lure!

A Heddon Vamp in Blue Scale is a nice find.

A Heddon Hi-Tail dealer display is amazing.

This J.L. Sage No. 3 is an incredibly rare reel.

The Stormy Petrel is a bizarre and popular reel.

Pflueger Surprises are outstanding.

I've always wanted to know how the Zink Screwtail worked in the water …

This Keeling fly rod lure is ultra scarce.

Collectors love these Mepps Super Meca spinning reels.

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

-- Dr. Todd

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Fishing Advertisement: Ford (1941)

This week in The Fishing Advertisement we feature a great full page ad from 1941 from Ford. It asks "How many $5000 cars can you name?" Today, that is $79,100! That's an expensive car. This ad features a truly nice painting of a pair of gentleman preparing for a fishing trip in their new Ford touring car. At nearly $80,000 they should have been able to afford the best tackle available!

-- Dr. Todd

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Spinning Reel Report with Ben Wright for May, 2014

MAY 2014


Was a SEAMASTER "The Holy Grail" of spinning reels. The nicest one that
I have seen in years----------
after 39 bids by 11 bidders it sold @ a whopping $8,600.00 HOLY MOLLY

Abu Matic 170 CF nib @ 55.08
333 red/black re-paint ? @156.44
507 first version scf ewb @ 357.91
 52 nib @ 230.00
 55 nib @ 251.50 wow

Mini-spin combo nib @ 137.50

Dam Quick-
Standard Quick-o-matic w/line counter slight wear @152.00
Super 270 ewb @only 26.00
super 2s-275 two speed slight wear @ only 41.00
331 nib @ 102.50
331N exc @ only 41.00
1001 nib @ 208.50

Crack 300 fb nib @64.99
Helion exc- @ 179.56
Ru Mer 602 exc- @ 63.01

Sportex speed spin River Deluxe  ewb @ 308.00

  33 exc w/leather case @ 232.49
55 steelhead exc- @ 203.50
  Orvis 400 exc+ @ 325.00
Niagara Supreme paint wear @ 93.00
Tubertini Toge e+wb @ 171.49
Zangi Holiday 60 l/h chip in foot @ 276.00

Airex 365 exc- @ 61.01
Hurracane Mascot 157 scf exc- @ 36.00
Jorgenson no 6 exc @ only 12.99
Lew's Speed Spin C3 cut-a-way SS nib @ 126.66
Phantom Bantom A550 e-wb @ 39.99
Raichell 66 mitchell 300 copy ewb @ 97.00
Spin mitey edge wear @ 21.52

Centure 100B cf e-wb @ 49.99
Fiskar 11-512 scf exc @ 61.00
Pink Princess 100AP slight wear w/box @ 147.50

Check back next month for some very rare Mitchells that are listed ???

706Z slight wear @ 158.88
710Z e-wb @ 119.00
712 nib @ 95.00
716Z nib @ 137.50
850ss exc @ 112.50
850ssm exc @ 117.50
4300ss nib @ 97.36
9500ss exc @ 110.00

2052NL first version exc @ 51.00
2062 first version nib @ 49.95
2068 R/H retrieve nib w/pouch @ only 46.00

Zebco Cardinals-
3 second version exc @ 161.50
7 first version nib @ 142.50
554 exc @ only 20.49
555 nib @ 121.00

Other Reels-
Bradco Blue exc @ 32.00
Bronson 66L scf combo exc w/wood box @199.00 wow
Feurer Bro's Larchmont no 3 exc+ @ 88.99
Fin Nor no 3 ewb @ 375.00
Harrison Auto Max 100 nib @ 132.49
Heddon 222 nib @ 25.00
Jim Tatman's 500 exc @ 127.50
Pflueger 89 cf e+wb @ 78.00 wow
Preciosa DGMA exc- @ 113.50
Fihe Telecaster ewb @ 89.00
Don't forget to Check out the rare Mitchells next month

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

In the News: A Shakespeare Collection Dreams Are Made Of

Recently the CustomMade blog ran a feature on NFLCC member Frank Rybarcyk's Shakespeare fishing tackle collection. If you have read the article yet, you need to do that ASAP.

What Frank has done is not just put together a world-class collection, but also to make it accessible. Those are not the same things. I have seen some great collections in my day, and a lot of them are stored either partially or almost completely in plastic bins and cardboard boxes. If we all spent more time figuring out how to display what we have, I think we'd all enjoy our collections a whole lot more in the long run.

Displaying fishing tackle can be a tedious and difficult affair. However, it is ultimately the best reward, as you can fully enjoy what you've spent so much time putting together. Whether it is reels, rods, lures, or miscellaneous tackle you collect, you can always find a visually appealing and interesting way to display it, like Frank has.

-- Dr. Todd

Monday, May 26, 2014

A Memorial Day (Re)Post

A Memorial Day (Re)Post

Today you may be expecting the News of the Week. However, here at Fishing for History we never work on Memorial Day. Instead, I want everyone to reflect on the meaning of this holiday. For too many, it is just a convenient day off from work. But the reality of the matter is that this is a day when everyone should reflect on what it means to be an American.

As I was driving through Indianapolis yesterday on my return trip back home, I looked up in the sky and saw four planes flying in formation. It was the Blue Angels, getting ready for their fly by at the start of the Indianapolis 500. As I listened to the invocation at the start of that great race on the radio, it struck me that those of us interested in fishing history have as much to remember and memorialize as everyone else.

It was, after all, Civil War veterans like Capt. Thos. H. Chubb who helped found many of the tackle companies in the wake of that great conflagration that first popularized the sport of fishing. It was men such as Major Charles Conover of the Kansas City wholesale hardware firm of Richards & Conover that helped distribute this tackle across this expanding nation. And it was the host of veterans who, seeking a moment of solitude to forget the horrors of war, turned to the peaceful art of angling by the legion. It did not matter which side you fought on; fishing was the great equalizer.

In the wake of the Spanish-American war, noted firms such as the Shakespeare Company and Abercrombie & Fitch--who hand-tailored Col. Teddy Roosevelt's personal uniform--plied the growing nation with the tackle it needed and desired. But it was really the First World War that transformed fishing. Returning veterans in 1918 and 1919 created the greatest demand for fishing tackle to that point in the nation's history, and a plethora of companies ranging from Thos. E. Wilson (who created a special fund to care for the families of employees at Wilson Meatpacking who were wounded or died in the war) to the ever-present Winchester Repeating Arms Company entered the fishing tackle field with a grand flourish.

Fishing and the Second World War is a subject of great interest and one I plan on penning a significant work on one day. But suffice to say the contributions of tackle makers was extremely valuable, as noted tackle makers made everything from the Norden Bomb Sight to survival kits. One manufacture--Montague Rod & Reel Company--made everything from bamboo ski poles to intricate firing pins for machine guns, all under the same roof. It was not unique. Back home, the tackle makers like Creek Chub and Pflueger continued to advertise, press for the purchase of war bonds, and remind Americans that brighter days were ahead. And in the wake of the war, returning veterans once again kick-started the American fishing industry and propelled angling to a position as the most popular past time in America.

Hand-made lure fashioned by US Navy Sailor during WWII from an oil tin, engraved with various stops across the Pacific.

So no News of the Week today--you can come back tomorrow for that. Today we remember the sacrifices necessary to preserve our freedoms. My father came back from the war and the occupation of Japan to start a family and fish once again. Others were not so lucky and their absence is still felt today. Is it too much to ask that one day every year we remember the contributions of soldiers past and present?

Have a safe and happy Memorial Day.

-- Dr. Todd

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Art of the Lure by Elissa Ruddick: Miller’s Original Wood Minnow

Also known as the “Miller’s Reversible,” this unique lure was produced by the Union Springs Specialty Co. of Union Springs-On-Cayuga Lake, N.Y. from 1913 to 1920. One glance at this stunning wood and metal contraption is all it takes to know it would certainly gain the attention of any game fish that it came close to, and probably even fish that it wasn’t so close to. The lures were equipped with a pair of propellers, one gold in color and one silver in color, which had eight varying length blades each that moved in opposite directions of one another when the lure was retrieved. That’s where the term “reversible” came into play! They were only made in three colors, No. 1. Yellow (Yellow body parts and head, with gold spots), No. 2. Mottled (White body, with blended red and green decorations), and No. 3. White (White body parts, with red head having gold spots). Note that the lure pictured is adorned with Pflueger’s Neverfail hooks and hook hardware. This places the lure as circa 1916, when the rear body section was fattened and the Neverfail hook hangers replaced the simple screw eye and washer hook hangers. Apparently there was a connection between Pflueger and Union Springs Specialty Co.

I’m not sure how many different items the Union Springs Specialty Co. produced and sold, but from looking at the advertisement flyer that was placed in the box with the minnow and minnow box paper, I see they did produce and sell “The Little Boston Safety Razor.” Wonder if the safety razors had advertisements for the Miller’s Original Wood Minnow in with them?! Wait a minute … is it just me, or did they place a picture of the minnow in an upside down position as compared to the writing on the box top? Oh I sure wish they would have “REVERSED” that!

If you have any questions/comments, Elissa Ruddick can be reached at elissaruddick AT aol DOT com.

-- Elissa Ruddick

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Friday Funhouse

The Video of the Week

This is a pretty cool 1954 video of bass fishing on Lake Mojave

12 Things I Would Buy If Only I Could Afford Them

This Seamaster Reel makes me wish that Dr. Tim O'Brien's book on Seamaster was already done!

An Ed. vom Hofe 6/0 Restigouche is pretty special.

Don't know much about this Rolf Balansia lure but it's really well made.

I never get tired of the "Hungry Jack" joke when I see these!

DAM Everready baits in the box? Oh my.

A Heddon Musky Crazy Crawler in the box is pretty cool.

Any time you see an Ocean City in a wooden box, it's pretty cool.

A Turbulent Lure in the box is a nice find.

Love the big scales on this Heddon 150.

A Moonlight in the box is always a fun bait.

Like this Rapala store display!

This is an exceptional CCBC Pikie Minnow in Blue Head/White.

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

-- Dr. Todd

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Fishing Photographer with Doug Bucha: Tulips and Talbots

Spring is the time for tulips in Michigan. The addition of a few nice Talbot reels in the photograph can only enhance their beauty.

-- Doug Bucha

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Voices from the Past: A Short Treatise on Conservation (1918)

Sometimes we think that conservation is a modern construct; the truth of the matter, however, is that there were clarion voices in the past concerning over fishing and pollution of our waters. Larry St. John, the fishing columnist for The Chicago Tribune in the 1910s, was one such voice. In his many fishing columns and his book Practical Bait Casting (1918), St. John lamented the sorry state of the American waters. Here is a section from his book illustrating the problem.

When the white man first settled in what is now the United States, the lakes and streams teemed with game fishes of all kinds. For example, up until 1840 trout were plentiful in the Chagrin River, a few miles east of Cleveland, Ohio, and other near-by streams, while to-day there is only one trout stream in the whole state of Ohio, and that an artificially stocked one, the property of a fishing club. In the Elkhorn and other streams of Kentucky, muskellunge and immense pike-perch were common, but these streams know them no more. In practically every lake and stream in the Great Lakes region, black bass were plentiful; now there are hundreds of waters where the black bass is either unknown or very rare unless artificially stocked. What is the reason?

Several causes. Civilization and the consequent, although unnecessary, pollution of water is one; the hoggishness of man is another. Most fishermen, commercial as well as sporting, look upon our State and Fish Commissions,, as a police force to enforce more or less obnoxious laws that are, according to their viewpoint, designed solely to interfere with fishing. As a matter of fact, the enforcement of laws is only incidental; the real purpose of a State commission is to conserve for both present and future generations, the fish and game resources of the state. Due to the shortsightedness of the people most interested, game and fish laws and their enforcement are necessary. In the language of one of the comic newspaper characters: "Them is harsh words," but the situation, to one who has studied the facts, demands harshness.

-- Dr. Todd

Monday, May 19, 2014

In the News: Steve Tom, Actor-Turned-Angler

This week In The News we get a really cool feature on a celebrity angler -- Steve Tom. You may not know his name, but you'll recognize his face.

A character actor who has played in almost 100 t.v. shows and movies, he is getting a big turn with a major part in the upcoming comedy Dumb and Dumber To, a sequel to the Jim Carrey film from two decades ago.

A dedicated angler, he claims his dream job would be a fly fishing guide. It's a neat article and worth reading by Clicking Here.

-- Dr. Todd

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Art of the Lure: The Heddon Artistic Minnow

Heddon Artistic Minnow
Another short lived lure in the Heddon product line was the Series 50 “Artistic” Minnow." Introduced in 1907 and gone by 1909, the catalog described it as follows: “As the name implies, this is an 'Artistic' Minnow, being the finest artificial minnow production the Heddon factory has ever produced. It is regulation casting weight size 1/2 ounce, and an extra attachment comes with each Minnow to give additional casting weight if desired. Length of body 1-3/4 inches. This little lure has been very successfully used on a heavy fly rod. Packed one each in strong and handsome pasteboard box.”

I must agree with the catalog description of the handsome pasteboard box, because I think it, too, is handsome, as are the rest of its contents. The introductory boxes are sure hard to find in good condition, as the maroon coloring bled onto the top, side and end labels of the box, as well as onto the instruction paper tucked inside the box, when they met up with any amount of moisture. I can’t think of a time when I have been fishing that I didn’t get water on my hands! The minnows and weight-buoys were small, so the boxes that held them were also designed small. The only issue would be getting the detailed instruction paper folded up small enough to fit inside. Not only was the weight-buoy used to give the bait additional weight for casting, but the instruction paper also states that, “the weight-buoy has a buoyant tendency in the water and should be used when the minnow is employed in very shallow water where the angler does not wish the bait to sink too readily.” The minnows came in two colors, Fancy Sienna Yellow and Bright Gold body with Greenish cast back. All of the metal parts were gold plated with the exception of the (as the catalog states) “special long shank, hollow-point treble hook, which is hung at the rear in a handsome tri-colored buck-tail and feather tying.” Hey, there’s that word handsome again!

Everything about the Artistic Minnow and all else that accompanies it is artistic to me, what about you?

If you have any questions/comments, Elissa Ruddick can be reached at elissaruddick AT aol DOT com.

-- Elissa Ruddick

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Friday Funhouse: Lang's Edition

It's that time again -- Lang's Week! As always, in lieu of the Friday Funhouse (which will run on Sunday) I am again choosing my 12 favorite items from this auction.

12 Lang's Items I Would Buy If Only I Could Afford Them

This Pflueger Sea-King is one of the toughest of the mainstream saltwater reels to find. Honestly, this is only the second one I've ever seen. It's spectacularly rare.

Well, I just can't pass up this Philbrook & Paine fly reel. The epitome of class and elegance.

Who wouldn't want this Stan Bogdan fly reel?

When's the last time you saw an E.W. Edwards bait casting rod for sale???

There's always room for a Tycoon Tackle HRH trolling rod!

This 8' Garrison is just an incredible rod.

Ray Bergman flies are a great collectable.

This pair of Ed. vom Hofe line spools is super great.

Holy schnikeys, they don't come much rarer than this Heddon Underwater Expert.

The paperwork is what makes this Howe's Vacuum combo so special.

Loving the heavy metal in this auction, including this Gregory Clipper.

They don't come much crazier than this #3000 Pikie in all luminous.


This 25.4 pound steel mold was used to make the Pflueger fishing tackle signs we've written up on the blog before here and here. Amazing find!

As always, have a great weekend, and be good to each other, and yourself. And have fun with the Lang's auction!

-- Dr. Todd

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Fishing Advertisement

The following ad (from Harper's Weekly) comes from 1907 and is for the Southern Pacific Railroad's "Shasta" line, which was called "The Road of a Thousand Wonders" by west coasters. Indeed, few railroads traveled through more beautiful land than this one did, from Mt. Shasta and the Cascades all the way down to San Francisco. Even their Sunset magazine was a thing to behold, and vintage copies are in great demand by collectors. A spring fishing trip on the Southern Pacific would have been a memorable one ...

-- Dr. Todd

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Voices from the Past: Oliver's 1988 Tackle Auction

As Lang's Week (the week preceding the semi-annual Lang's Auction) is always a festive time around here, it often causes me to reflect on auctions past and present. Recently collector Steve Kuchman sent me a page from the past -- a write up in the august Maine Antique Digest (dated Sep. 1988) covering a seminal event in the history of collecting: the first really big-time tackle auction.

Yes, 28 years ago this June 25th, a rather important event occurred in the history of tackle collating. Richard W. Oliver auctioned off a huge estate of prizes for tackle collectors, and in so doing helped launch the Silver Age of Tackle Collecting. Yes, I'm such a nerd for this stuff that I have periodized the history of collecting. As I see it, the "eras" of tackle collecting go as follows:

The Formative Age of Tackle Collecting (1800s - 1970)

The Golden Age of Tackle Collecting (1970 - 1988)

The Silver Age of Tackle Collecting (1988 - 2001)

The Internet Age of Tackle Collecting (2001 - Present)

Why the 1988 Oliver's Auction was so important, besides the fact it broke a half million dollars (a feat remarkable for that day and only surpassed by Lang's -- the successor to Oliver's -- today), is that it set many memorable price records. Furthermore, as the write up in the Digest suggests, it was also widely covered by the media.

What were some of the items sold? Well, you can't go wrong with a Haskell minnow, then as now. This neat Haskell pictured below netted $22,000 (the equivalent of $43,300 today).

The Dr. Fowler's Gem reel, which we've written about here on the blog before, finished with a hammer price of $15,400 ($30,300 in today's money).

Other items that came in at high prices included a B.F. Meek & Sons fly reel ($18,150), a Comstock Flying Hellgramite ($9075), and a Billinghurst in the box ($12,650). An H.S. Gillum 6'9" in a labeled tube came in at $13,200, a record for a rod at the time (since broken by Lang's a number of times).

Don't think there weren't bargains to be had, though. A huge tackle chest from the estate of the legendary Zebulon Pike -- containing no less than 11 Ed. vom Hofe reels and a bunch of other Victorian tackle -- sold for a reasonable $3850 or just $350 per reel.

Nostalgia is well and good for its own sake, but sometimes it's good to recall seminal events such as the 1988 Oliver's Auction, which ushered in an unbroken stretch of remarkable growth for the hobby of tackle collecting that ended only in 2001.

Are we on the edge of another seminal event such as this with the upcoming Lang's auction? That's the great thing about Lang's Week … there is excitement everywhere and there is always the chance than ten years from now, you can look back and say "I bought this lure/reel/rod/book at THAT auction!"

-- Dr. Todd