Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Ben Wright's Spinning Reel Report for April 2016

APRIL 2016


Featured Reels:
Abu Garcia (444) pearl blue e+wb @ 158.05

Cargem 44/M majestic gold color slight wear @ 518.85

Centaure Pacific 5-500 nib @ 226.50

Dam-Quick 330 E+WB @ 115.00

Heddon spin pal 240 mpu nib @ 199.50

J C Higgins 306-39990 by Bretton nib @ 77.49

Mitchell rare first version paint wear @1495.00 NOTE "RNM"

 more mitchell:
300DL slight wear w/box @ 1594.00
508 combo both exc+ box top missing @ 555.37
510 special ewb @ 577.76

Penn 716 slight wear w/box @ 235.00

Aimsa slight wear @ 256.00
Sagarra blue color some wear @ 466.00
Viper paint wear @ 490.00

Esquire ewb @ 274.06
Record recordette 21 aqua nib @ 288.00

A few reel deals:
Crack 300 mpu exc @ 18.00
Quick Hobby exc @ 12.00
shakespeare 2065 nib @ 17.50
606 w/black side plate exc @ 9.95
707 slight wear @ 6.76

More Reels:
222 first version some wear @ 188.88
505 scf nib @ 38.60
suveran s4000m exc+ @ 271.18

Apache exc @ 31.75
vic green some wear on cup @66.00

Arjon sweden all cf
500 nib @ 48.66
555 e+wb @ 81.83
600 nib @ 31.33
666 exc @ 33.18

Dam Quick:
2011 minor wear w/box @ 89.00

English Hardy altex no 1 mk V slight wear @200.00

Crack 100 fb nib @ 70.50
300 mpu some wear w/box @ 104.00
Dopper exc @ 305.06
Fraser saumon mer slight wear @ 120.00

German Atlantis nib @ 82.31

Heddon 190 cf spin cast nib @ 54.88

Alcedo micron curved leg nib @ 126.49
    "           "       Deluxe ewb @ 220.50
    "      2001 nib @ 226.50
Cargem 66 sea megnum gray needs cleaning @ 500.00
 Holliday 40 slight wear @ 202.50
      "         60 exct but small chip in foot @ 227.50

Aqua-spin x15 nib @ 25.00
Satelite x17 nib @ 25.00

Mitchell, garcia
300 6th version exc w/leather case @ 178.28
304 s/n 1163470 minor wear @ 99.99
304 cut-a-way exc @ 157.50
306 cut-a-way exc @ 104.72
508 combo both exc @350.00
510 combo both exc @ 241.50

Pflueger 1000 nib @ 40.00

705 second version slight wear w/box @ 150.00
710 green ewb @ 85.00
712 ewb @ 88.00
720 second version nib @ 75.00

Shakespeare sigma 2400-034 exc+ w/rough box @ 81.00

record 600 cf nib @ 80.00
700 scf e+wb @ 52.07

55 cf ewb @53.80
1970 ewb @ 225.00
cardinal 3 second version ewb @ 143.50

LAST--- A SEAMASTER with some scratches sold @ 2850.00
Note there was also one listed at Crossroads Angling Auction 4/24
with some wear on the foot.
email them to find out if it sold and for how much

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Review of Victor R. Johnson's Fiberglass Fly Rods, 20th Anniversary Edition

Last week I received a copy of a highly anticipated book in the mail from my friend Vic Johnson, the fiberglass fly rod guru. It was his 20th Anniversary edition of Fiberglass Fly Rods: The Evolution of the Modern Fly Rod from Bamboo to Graphite (EP Press, 2016: 8.5” x 11” Black-and-White illustrations, 105 Pages, $29.95).

The original edition was coauthored with his father, Vic Johnson Sr., and was an absolute revelation. As someone who grew up with fiberglass, it spurred me to start seeking out some of the great makers and to start collecting glass fly rods. His book coincided with (and helped spur) a resurgence in glass fly rods, a movement that is still going strong today.

This isn’t a rewrite as much as it is a supplement, or a companion volume, to the original (which is also available from the author). Much new information is contained in its pages; this includes profiles of many modern makers of glass fly rods from Tycoon Tackle to Larry Kenney, as well as profiles of some great names in the field including Gadabout Gaddis and Dr. Arthur Howald.

As someone who has his own glass fly rod book in the works, I appreciate all of Vic’s attention to detail. Vic has done the collecting world a great service in updating his book, and this volume will take its place alongside the original as “must haves” for anyone interested in fly fishing, fly rods, of fishing history. It’s really a fantastic book and well worth adding to your library.

The book can be ordered directly from the author by emailing him at

You can visit his web site by Clicking Here.

— Dr. Todd

Friday, April 22, 2016

Review: West Coast Vintage Salmon Lures, Volume 3 by Russell Christianson

NFLCC member and fishing and tackle historian Russell R. Christianson is back at it again, this time with the third and final volume in his excellent three-volume set on West Coast Salmon lures. West Coast Vintage Salmon Lures, Volume 3: Post-WWII Plugs, Bait Holders, and Coho Flies (8.5” x 11”, 240 pages, softcover: $24.95 list price) is a fitting culmination to a decades-long research project.

As with all of Russell’s books, this one does not disappoint. It is filled with details you just can’t find anywhere else. This volume includes sections on such collectible lures as Mac's Squid, Carr's, Schroeder's, Zimmy, Krilich Killer, Spin-in Herry, Spin-in Minny, Salmon King, Witch Doctor, Aron and many others. Over 30 companies including Les Davis, Pop Geer, Zak, Tradewinds, Al Lundemo, Art Ullis, Big Al's, Vandes, Graham, Boyle's and Bentz are covered.

The aforementioned tackle makers are illustrated well by the more than 500 photos (a couple even in color!) and biographical details where possible. One of the things about his books I like so much is running across complete surprises; for me in this volume, that was the section on West Coast polar bear streamer flies popularly known as Coho flies. I’ve always been interested in their history, and it’s detailed very nicely in this chapter. Someone should write a book on West Coast commercial fly tiers (maybe Russell will embark on that project next!).

This volume, as well as the first two volumes in the set, is available from Amazon, the author’s eBay store or by visiting his Salmon Fishing History web site.

If you don't have this three volume set, you are really missing out. You won’t be disappointed.

—Dr. Todd

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Alonzo Fowler Mechanical Spring Snap Hook

I get a lot of emails about old tackle, but usually it’s neat stuff handed down by a father to a son or daughter, and isn’t particularly rare (although it is priceless to the owner, as it should be). Occasionally, though, I’ll get something sent to me that stops my heart.

The A.H. Fowler Mechanical Spring Snap Hook (a name I have given it) pictured below is one of them.

I’ve written extensively about Dr. Alonzo H. Fowler of Ithaca, New York — here is a two part article that is excerpted from a chapter I did on him in my book Forgotten Fly Rods. Part One is here and Part Two is here.

So imagine my shock when a collector sent in the following photographs of a lure they discovered at an auction. They thought it was marked “A.H. Foster” but it is certainly marked “A.H. Fowler.” I knew I had seen it somewhere before, so I went back through my files, and sure enough — there it was!

Of course, the photos came from Joe Stagnitti (who else?). Honestly, I don’t know anyone who has helped out more collectors, both beginning and advanced, then Stag has. He’s been just the best and I, like so many of his friends and admirers, are incredibly happy for him for his engagement and the new direction his life is taking him.

Stag sent me the following pictures in October 2008. Yes, nearly a decade ago. He noted he’s seen the Kidney blade before (so have I) but never the mechanical bait (neither have I, until this email came in).

Note that the one sent in has three hooks and wings on the head, as opposed to the two hook variation of Stag’s bait. This would mean that Fowler was either working to perfect the bait, or more likely, was offering the bait in two styles. The 3-Hook Fowler Mechanical Spring Snap Hook in the picture sent to me is approximately 4” long.

The Fowler Mechanical Spring Snap Hook is a really great example of a very inventive time in American tackle history, the 1870s. I think this lure pre-dates Fowler’s partnership with Samuel Tisdel, which dated from 1878. The likely range for its production is 1873-1878 which makes it a very, very early lure indeed.

I have not located a patent for this lure, although there may be one (the late Tim Mierzwa had chronicled hundreds of unfound mechanical hook patents and I’ve not had the chance to look through his files for this model). I do know it is a beautiful example of the lure maker’s art, and the owner(s) of this bait should consider themselves very lucky indeed.

So you never know what the morning email is going to bring; it might even bring a Fowler Mechanical Spring Snap Hook!

— Dr. Todd

P.S. If you haven’t already thanked Joe Stagnitti for everything he’s done for us as a hobby, and as individuals, put that at the top of your To Do list.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Ben Wright's Spinning Reel Report for March 2016

MARCH 2016



  Royal plus 4 some wear w/box @250.00
  Cardinal 55 salesman sample clear plastic side plate with turnable 
display stand exc+ @704.50

Bronson /TT uni-spin 63 rod/reel combo exc+w/case @ 177.50

Daiwa GS-1 nib @ 116.47

Dam Quick 550 nib @ 112.51

Holliday 30 first version zangi nib @ 282.96

Martin 27 ewb @ 91.00

Mitchell 498 nib @ 225.00

Orvis 100SS nib @ 350.00

Penn 716 slight wear w/box @ 162.50

Pflueger Pelican 1020 nib @ 115.63

Sea Martin (AU) mk11 nib @ 248.50

Zebco cardinal 3 second version nib @ 237.50

More Reels-----------
abu matic 170 cf nib @ 96.00
222 first version wear on cup/leg/foot @ 188.88
 33 s/n 760200 exc @ 228.50
33CDL original nib @ 454.00

GS-o mini-mite slight wear @ 98.05

J W Young Ambidex six nib @ 58.00

  no 3 exc+w/vinyl case @226.98
  no 3   " w/box @ 228.48

Lasso exc @ 95.86
Mepps super meca copper color slight wear @ 152.50

Alcedo Micron curved leg e+wb @ 140.00
Cargem Lancer 23 some wear @ 129.50
  Holliday 40 first version exc @ 125.50
  Atom gold wear @ 95.00

South Bend 750A nib @ 34.99
Crown Deluxe mitchell 300 copy fb nib @ 29.99

by Martin Capital 200 ewb @ 78.00

Ocean city 310 blue/chrome cup exc @ 28.85

420 Deluxe blue cf nib @ 129.00
700 early w/green crank some wear @ 69.00
750SS ewb @ 75.00

kinda rare Schulz w/odd bail slight wear @ 99.99

Swedish Victory 400 slight wear @ 377.78

cardinal 3 first version wear on cup @ 142.50
     "        "    second version some wear w/box @ 154.50
large sterling 7050 slight wear @ 31.00

more and more parts listed what a pain !!!
spring is just about here !!!!

Friday, April 15, 2016

The One That Got Away: The Heddon River Runt Spook in Grey Mouse

First of all, my plan going forward is to blog occasionally (once a week or so) and then slowly move up from there. For those who didn’t know, I stopped blogging when I found two (!) people had been stealing content and selling it to aggregation sites, making a huge chunk of change on the backs and labor of me and my friends. Combined with some personal issues, I just didn’t have the heart to do it any more.

Anyway, I will try and post something when I can and when I feel like it.

Today, I am going to write about a heart breaking episode in my collecting history: the one that got away. I ran across the emails from this incident recently (I used to copy emails off telnet and Eudora to text files, which is where I found these).

The story begins in the fall of 1999. I was on fellowship at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, working with the great minds at NCSA (the legendary National Center for Supercomputing Applications) by day, and spending my nights digging through the stacks at the UIUC library hunting down ads for fishing tackle companies.

The internet was in its infancy, just on the cusp of exploding. I decided to try out a new web site I’d heard about, where people were auctioning off fishing lures in real time. The site was called eBay, and it had gone public one year before, and by now was just starting to grow.

My first purchases on eBay came in early fall of 1999. My brother had started collecting River Runt Spooks back in the early 1990s (Tom Jacomet and Seth Winger were the only other two collecting them that we knew about for years). This was back when eBay was much more open; you could watch who else was bidding on auctions, for example, and you could contact sellers directly.

I listed some duplicate River Runt Spooks on eBay — the first things I ever sold on the site — and at the end of it I put an ad that read “If you have any River Runt spooks you would like identified or evaluated please email me at” This was my university address.

I received a couple of emails from, as it turns out, from NFLCC members. I even ended up buying a really, really tough River Runt Spook Sinker in Green Crackleback from a great guy in Texas as a result of these leads.

And then on October 5, 1999 I got an email from a guy named Mike.

Color me intrigued! Especially after I saw the attached images he sent, in all their low resolution glory.

Holy schnikeys! That’s an honest-to-God River Runt Spook Floater in grey mouse!
Unbelievable. At the time, I had never seen one before but wasn’t overly excited. So here is my reply email:

Anxiously, I checked my email via dial-in internet (14.4 modem) until I got this response:

I was super excited and penned an email asking how much he wanted, and then waited.

And waited. And waited some more.

After about three days, I emailed him again, asking if he got my earlier note. No answer. I waited a few more days and sent another email. Radio silence.

Then, I probably made the worst mistake. I sent a panicked email and offered him $75. This was more than I'd paid for any River Runt Spook before (the Green Crackleback sinker cost me $50 just a month before and that was the most expensive one at that time).

No response. What would you do? The emails didn’t bounce back, so I assume he saw them.

Interestingly, it’s only after a couple more years, when I inquired at every show, that I began to realize just how rare this bait was. In fact, in 25 years of collecting River Runt Spooks it’s still the only one I’ve ever seen.

An interesting sidebar is that about every six months for the next five or so years, I sent an email to this poor guy’s address. I never once got a response. One day, the email came back as undeliverable mail, and the lure was gone forever.

I still think of this as the one that got away.

Anyone ever seen another one? And what is the one that got away for you???

— Dr. Todd