A little peice of history...

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by chadk, Feb 5, 2008.

  1. chadk

    chadk Be the guide...

    A friend of mine found some fly fishing stuff at a garage sale and got it for me.

    I have it sitting in the freezer to kill off any nasties - there were signs that there were live bugs at one point.

    At first glance, I wrote it off as a typical begginer set that just got set aside and never used 20 years ago.

    But after taking a closer look today, I think this old timer was pretty serious, but just lacked the quality and selection we have today.

    There were hand picked chicken feathers. More than I'd ever use and not great quality - black hen and red rooster I think. I took a few and tossed the rest.

    Lots of misc feathers. Some look like a store bought mixed bag that includes green and red hackles.

    Some lady amherst and others. Also a full skin of some small colorful bird. Feathers seemed almost too small to be useful.

    A few buck tails and deer skin that look self cut. A black dyed buck tail as well.

    A chip munk tail I think - very small and lots of it clipped and used.

    Then there was a full coyoted tail. Only a few snips of it were used. I'll make some killer streamers out of it.

    There were all kinds of other feathers. Some may be cdc, but I'm not sure. One bag was simply labeled "left side of ass". :confused:

    There was a paper sleeve from Dan Bailey's with badger hackle I think.

    Oh, and a 1950 Dan Baily's catalog.

    Also, an old map that looks hand drawn showing some part of Montanna I think (Teton county? I'll double check - something about Lewis and Clark national forest)

    The most odd thing was an old envelope dated 1951 with postage (1 cent I think). It was post marked Bellevue and the 'To' address was Montanna. In it is some kind of brittle material. Almost looks like old candy of some kind - dark carmel color. I'll thaw it out in few days and take another look.

    Then there are some cool tools:
    * Home made hackle pliers = close pin with rubber ban wrapped over opening to keep it extra tight.
    * Home made hair stacker - cut from some kind of aluminum cigar case or something
    * An old vise that I dont know anything about

    There is some thread and chenille of some sort. Head cement of various kinds - I was surprised to find it still flowing.

    Much of this was stuffed in a few old cigar boxes. The rest in an old cardboard box. Some of the fur and feathers were in zip lock baggies, most were in old thin plasic bags tied off with wire twist ties.

    I'll take some pics of some of the stuff and see if you can help me identify it.

    Kinda fun to find these old 'treasures' from time to time :thumb:
  2. chadk

    chadk Be the guide...

    forgot to ask, what did they have for tippet back in 1950? I found a bagie that looked like it held tippet material - old nylon looking material. At first, I thought it must be used to make small ribbed insect bodies, but I think it is possibly tippet.
  3. Jeremy Floyd

    Jeremy Floyd fly fishing my way through life

    is it silk?
  4. chadk

    chadk Be the guide...

    nope - it's stiff and coiled. Almost looks like mono - but dark brownish.
  5. Kevin J. Burnham

    Kevin J. Burnham Active Member

    Chad, Give us some prices !! I have all kinds of catalogs starting from about 81 to present. Kinda funny some things cost about the same while others are 3 times as expansive. But when you look at the price of a house or car fishing stuff ain't nothing !!!
  6. chadk

    chadk Be the guide...

    Take a guess.

    Flies range from ___ to ___

    Tapered Leaders: Nylon 9ft = ____ Span gut 9ft = ___

    (I think I answered my question above - I but I have some nylon tapered leaders...)

    Standard Wet Fly hook - Mustad no 3399-A Sproat: ___ per 100
  7. Tim Cottage

    Tim Cottage Formerly tbc1415

    Could be old gut that has been stained or dyed.
    Gut is not the same as silk. Silk is extruded in very small diameter fibres from the silk gland in the silk worm to form a cocoon.
    Gut is the gland itself that has been stretched.
    How long is it from knot to knot or is it knotless?

  8. chadk

    chadk Be the guide...

    knotless - i'll check the length
  9. chadk

    chadk Be the guide...

    OK, now I'm really confused. It isn't what I thought. The coils come apart.

    It looks like 12 inch sections of various diameters. I guess it could be used to make a hand tied tapered leader but at 12 inch sections???
  10. Capt. Awesome

    Capt. Awesome Member

    I was thinking the same thing myself.

    It's probably Silkworm Gut.

    ChadK, take the stuff and put it in water for a while and let it soak. If it gets longer and becomes more flexible I think you can safely assume that it is silkworm gut.

    I'll take a shot: line conditioner/floatant grease?
  11. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

    I guess the flies range from size 14 or 12 up to 6.
    Leader tippets probably only go down to 4X.
    3399-A, I can remember paying $1.35 per 100, so I guess these were about $0.35.

    Oh yeah, gut leader material. You have to soak it before you tie it and again before you fish with it. Fly fishing used to be a pain in the ass for special care for just about everything.
  12. BFK

    BFK Member

    That's a cool score, Chad.

    I've been fortunate to have a couple of those so far, and they are always fascinating. I received one kit from a guy who got it as part of his recuperation after being wounded in WWII. The materials weren't the greatest, but the hooks were very interesting...Allcocks and Partridge and Sealey and a lot of re-labeled Mustads. The old Thompson A still works fine, too.

    The other score came from a garage sale, where my neighbor bought all this older gentleman's fly fishing gear, including the tying material. He kept the rods and reels and gave me the fly tying gear. This guy made most of his material boxes out of pasteboard and thin pieces of modeler's balsa--that gives you an indication of the level of his approach. He would take all the feathers off a pheasant and then sort by type and prep them for tying. I did find bit of polar bear hair and a package of seal fur, but alas, no junglecock.

    Since I'm a packrat, I kept everything. I'm trying to use it as I tie, and when I do, I think of the unnamed gentleman who worked with it before me.

    As far as the dried, brown material, I'd guess dried dubbing wax without looking at it.

  13. hikepat

    hikepat Patrick

    I have bought 3 collections of old tying materials in the past few years.
    First batch was from a marine swap meet a 2 foot tall 1X1 foot wide box of tying material for $30. All fur and feathers was perfect but a lass someone had already bought the hooks from the guy.
    Next buy the material was junk and there were just 2 jungle nails worth keeping and a few very interesting old flies but there was over 1500 hooks for my $5.
    Most recent buy was an old tackle box full of material for $30 and the materials from that purchase are still in my freezer with just a quick glance through the material but it included some tools, some hooks and lots of turkey, peacock and pheasant feathers, lots of beaver, fox and mink dubing and some dry fly hackle. not fully sure whats in the box-since I only quickly looked through it once so far before putting it all into the deep freeze just in case as general protection of all my other materials. I will know better whats in that buy when I take the material out in a little over a month from now.

    Still kicking myself for not buying the brand new still in the box real silk fly line for $2 I saw a few years back in a Salvation Army store. Went back to buy the next day and it had already sold. I would love to try it out on my old boo rod now that I have one.