As far back as I can remember, well, almost, I have collected things. As a youngster, it was coins, - before decimalisation you could track whole chunks of history just from the coins that came into your pocket, you could find yourself with a penny that was being used to pay for beer during the First World War, or a sixpence that was in someone's pocket when the Titanic sank. As I got older, my interest turned to other things, and over the years I've collected pinball machines, old enamel advertising signs, toys and even pop-up books but always because I wanted to understand these things, how they were made, how they worked and what they meant.
These days it's fishing tackle, specifically fly fishing tackle. I began fishing in my early teens on the Whiteadder, a tributary of the Tweed in the Scottish Borders, using an old secondhand cane rod, and flies I learned to tie myself at the local fly tying factory. When I returned to Scotland, just after the Millenium, the call of the river caught me again, and I went back to fishing, but the memory of that old cane rod kept nagging me. So I started looking at online auctions, in junk shops, - I began reading dangerous books. Everyone said cane was dead, it was too heavy, too slow, too old but then one especially dangerous book "Fishing Bamboo", by John Gierach came along. How come people were still fishing with cane rods, well, bamboo to them, in America? More than that, they were still making them! So,-I bought one, and it was surprisingly useable, not heavy or slow, - a perfectly good fishing rod. Well, I had to know more, I read more, bought another rod, then another. some of these rods were quite old, so it made sense to look at the reels that would have been used with them.. Well, the rest, as they say, is history. I'll admit it, my name is Andy and I collect old fishing tackle!
I now have more rods and reels than I could ever use, and some of them I'd never THINK of using, but I've also learned a lot, about the history of our hobby and about the men who made great strides in inventiveness and skill to bring us to the rods and reels we enjoy today, so this is my way of sharing what I've learned. Most of the items featured here date from the period since the second half of the nineteenth century, partly for practical reasons, and partly because this was when the tackle used began to take on the recognisable forms of the items we use today. Some of what I think might be wrong, some of my conclusions might be flawed - if you have a better idea, tell me, but beyond that, I hope you enjoy sharing some of the things I've collected.
Grangemouth, Scotland, August 2014
P.S. This is a work in progress, - it will probably ALWAYS be a work in progress.....