Friday, 10 December 2010

Let's TACKLE Cancer

What started as a simple post on a fly fishing forum by an old friend of mine, Steven (Mr Trout), has grown almost exponentially. The original post was an offer to sell a few of the beautiful Furled Leaders which he makes, to raise funds for Cancer Research - LINK HERE

The response to the initial idea, as you can read above (and that doesn't include the PM's and e mails!), has been overwhelming. So many kind and generous people have offered donations of both goods and events.
The whole of 2011 has been covered with monthly donations of Flies, Lines and assorted bits and pieces of Fishing tackle; fishing days with BBQ's etc. with all funds going to Cancer charities (more details later)
The timing seems to have tapped the zeitgeist, and the idea is expanding daily. 

We are currently discussing the idea of calling the project the "Trout Fly Foundation" (because Steven is too modest to have it in his own name!) and the campaign has already been titled "Let's Tackle Cancer".

More as it develops . . . . . . . and donations welcome.

Update 11th Dec - thanks to A we now have a Facebook page HERE

17th December - we now have days on the Derbyshire Wye and Dove, Cumbria's Eden, the Thames, Monnow and others, superb flies by some very capable fly tiers, Hardy reels, books . . . .just click the link and keep watching (we haven't even started listing items yet (planned for early January) **** Now starting in December
A big thanks to all who have contacted us so far

18th Dec - Dave has put up the 'Just Giving' links for donations -
Feel free to just donate! 

Update 18th Dec - Listings started today with River Test days, Grey's fly lines, books, leaders, bits  . . and growing 

21st Dec. - some more listings and F & F have now given us our own sub forum, so new LINK

31st December 2010. We end 2010 with some excellent auctions up and running. Check them out on the link above.
We also have a cupboard full of very generous offers which will be rolled out throughout 2011, with many more promised.
We'd like to thank all contributors, both donors and buyers, and wish everyone a fine and healthy 2011

15th January - good luck and tight lines to all the salmon chasers in Scotland.

A nudge for "Let's TACKLE Cancer"  - LINK  
Lots to suit all fisherfolk now listed. and only just over 2 weeks to go for the January auction. Please be generous for a very worthy cause. 

19th January - Great idea from Edd & Colin - LTC Badges - get your order in here LINK
Badges marked jointly with & Let's Tackle Cancer (still being finalised, but will be great!) I'll post a pic as soon as available

31st January - last day to get your bids in for the January, Let's Tackle Cancer auction - hit link  to view  all lots..................and thank you.

8th February - update - over 40 lots listed for February - something for everyone - hit the link above

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Hardy Neroda Fly Boxes, update

Back in February, 2010, I wrote a piece about Hardy's Neroda Boxes.  *   LINK  *  

Today I was looking at a couple of the smaller boxes. Whilst they clearly show the 2 different colours available - referred to as "Oxblood" & "Tortoiseshell"; it was noted that the clips were different, both in type and orientation. The Oxblood box has Hardy's 'Holdtite' clips and the other appears to be standard Wheatley type clips. OK, not nuclear fusion, but another detail for the collectors and curious Googlers. see pics:

On closer inspection the tortoiseshell box does not have the Hardy stamp on the face. I know unstamped boxes show up occasionally but assumed it was a glitch.
If anyone has seen these boxes retailed by any other dealer I'd be grateful if they'd let me know.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

BFFI & toys

At today's BFFI were lots of things every angler "needs"!
High on my list would be these gorgeous titanium reels from Mr Leen Huisman, who was there personally for the release of this new model. A very skilled gentleman, helpful, and great to chat to.



If you decide you can't live without one of these 4 weight, or 5 weight, Titanium and highly resilient plastic masterpieces, call Mark at Alternative Tackle

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Who made the first aluminium fishing reel?

First, a few considerations:

At the beginning of the 19th century aluminium was said to be price comparable with gold, some claim it was even more expensive. Napoleon is said to have had a set of aluminium plates for the use of his favoured guests.
In 1884 aluminium was used for the apex of the Washington Monument and is stated to be the same price as silver (around $1/ounce)
Between 1889 and 1892 the method of production of aluminium changed from the sodium process to the electrolyte method.
In the UK this resulted in the price falling from “half a guinea a pound” (10 shillings and 6 pence) in 1889 to 2 shillings a pound by 1892, - “comparable bulk for bulk with the cost of copper” to quote a contemporary UK newspaper.
In the US of A, the cost was £2-10-0 a pound in 1886, when the countries total production did not exceed 3000 lbs (most of which was used in steel production). By 1897 the metal could be obtained for 1 shilling 4.5 pence per pound, with US production being around 4,000,000 lbs weight.
By 1900 aluminium was still twice the price of copper per pound, but it is less than one third the density.
During the last decades of the 19th century, the huge demand for copper to service the expansion of both electrical and telephone distribution systems saw copper prices rise rapidly. This continued in the US until the Government introduced price limits during WW1.

Anyone producing fishing reels during this period would have been aware of most of the above. Brass reel makers would watch as their raw material was becoming harder to source and increasingly more expensive, and simultaneously the price (and quality) of aluminium more viable; not to mention the weight consideration.

We understand that Hardy Brothers of Alnwick, the famed fishing tackle makers, were experimenting with what they called their “Hercules metal” in the late 1880’s. (I should note here that some of these were made for Hardy by David Slater and possibly Malloch) This is basically an “aluminium bronze” and, to quote an early Hardy catalogue, contains “three to twelve per cent aluminium” [not to be confused with some pre 1900 “Hardy Hercules reels” made of Aluminium, these are rare animals] What I'm trying to find is the first true aluminium reel.
Some UK reel makers obviously saw a future for the metal. It was recorded in the Birmingham Daily Post in April 1893 that Mr Reuben Heaton had filed a patent for “Aluminium Solder” as early as 1892.
Jess Miller, in his Dunkeld Collection book, describes the Combined Fly/Spinning reel thus: “It was certainly one of Hardy’s earliest alloy reels and was made between 1894 and 1898.”

On the other side of the Atlantic, in a similar vein, various makers were also experimenting with this new metal which, to quote an 1892 English newspaper “greater uses would be found than any that had yet been discovered”.

 . . . .I posted the query on ORCA's board - read here 

Further research reveals this article by Dr David Harris which suggests the first ever aluminium casting (a statue of Diane de Gabies, by Paul Morin) was produced between 1858 & 60.

My answer to the original question is that I don’t know who made the first aluminium fishing reel. It is not impossible that, in the manner of Napoleon’s plates or one of the mid 19th century solid silver reels, someone made an early, and expensive, toy reel.

It is a fair assumption that the first commercial aluminium reel was produced around 1890. Now all we have to do is prove which reel and who made it.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

The Lost World of Mr Hardy - extra scenes

More scenes from a fabulous film. Superb images, SBS, Tarantino, and finest quality fishing kit.


Sunday, 9 May 2010

Hardy's Anglers' Guides, (1899, For Sale)

or Hardy catalogues, or catalogs for my friends over 'there'; or even Hardy's Angling Specialities as some of the earlier ones were called.
These are fascinating insights into piscatorial history and compulsory reading for Hardy collectors. As well as the rods and reels there are articles on angling around the world and lots of amazing little pieces of kit which you didn't know you needed, until you see it in the catalogue.

Below are a some images from the 1899 edition.
 Early images of the world's most famous reel
Hardy marketing at its best, don't try this with your graphite!

The 300+ page 1899 Hardy's Angling Specialities is extremely rare and worth well into 4 figures (U.K. Pounds) 
I was fortunate to have a copy and retained a first generation 150dpi scan of all the pages. This has been converted into a PDF and is available on CD for £20 per copy, inclusive of world wide postage.
To obtain a copy contact me via e mail

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Fly Photos

I've been experimenting with different backgrounds for fly photos. These were for a, now disappeared, topic on, as well as my own curiosity, so I'll post them here instead.
I'd appreciate your comments on which work best.
Happy to do photos for others, when I'm not fishing ;-)

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Hardy Neroda Fly Boxes

Another piece of fishing kit to collect. These Hardy Bakelite boxes are things of beauty. I've got a few although it's not an extensive collection.

During the winter blues I did a bit of research into their history - published HERE

If anyone can add information please feel free to contact me

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Hardy South African Surf Reel

A year ago I posted this (LINK) on Clarks forum. I'd never seen a Hardy South African Surf Reel except in catalogues so it was an opportunity to share.

The owner has now decided to sell this reel so if anyone is interested in acquiring an extremely rare piece of Hardy History please contact me and I will put you in touch. It is understood that there were 56 reels made in this, 6 inch, size.

**Edit: This reel was sold in May 2010 for approximately £1000 **

Wednesday, 14 April 2010


Bowie was just singing “♪ Ziggy played guitaaaarrrr ♫” . . . . . there was a small bow wave amidst the ripples near where my fly was supposed to be. Silk whizzed through rod guides, Kings of Leon went into “♪  Sex on fire ♫”, little Mr Dingley played a loud tune. This boy wanted to play and not surrender. The joy of using barbless hooks is that you learn that if you ease up, he’ll back off and go, so cane was bent and line sang. Adrenalin hit receptors (his and mine).

Fish, energy, net, release . . . . and that self satisfied feeling when you watch him swim away, almost hoping that he’ll look back over his shoulder and say “Hey, was fun, must do it again sometime”
Fly fishing!

Friday, 9 April 2010



A day of firsts: -

First day fly fishing this year.
First tangle . .
First time I’ve used my tiny ‘new’ (to me) Dingley with its silk line – I’d forgotten how great that ‘whizzzz’ sounds as the silk floats through the rod guides.

First reminder this year of how sharp hooks can be . . . .
First ‘Fishing days’ photos.
First time out for my winter acquisition ‘ATH Traun’ – for the uninformed these reels do not catch fish, make you a better caster or even make you sexually attractive to cute lady dog walkers . . . .  If you’re stuck with any Ari Hart reels I have a locked room where I can keep them from spoiling other anglers’ days.

First reminder of how my eyes aren’t getting any better, or leaders are getting finer and fly eyes getting smaller (?)
First live use of Steven’s knitted string tapered leaders – excellent.
First time, of many to come, when I've said to myself "I must tidy the junk out of my fishing bag" . . .yet, when I look in that bag I get a warm smiley feeling . . 
First day wearing my floppy old hat this year.
First snagged tree; no grass though . .
First fishing day smiles . . . 
Not the first reminder of why we do it.

Best wishes to all in the same boat,  . . . . or bank,  . . . . or waders

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Hardy Reel checks

The expert reel makers at Hardy Brothers of Alnwick created many check mechanisms over the years. These were then copied by several other reel makers and versions are still available in contemporary reels. For the uninitiated the check is the "Clicker", the noisy bit that creates resistance so that line does not free-spool off the reel.
As well as neat pieces of engineering the check is also a useful means of dating early reels. Below are photographs of a few with, where relevant, some indication of date first produced.

Early or 1896 check

 1906, (sometimes called 1905 -11) check

The beautiful 1912 (most likely 1st used 1911)
Mark 1 check or 1917

2 versions of the Duplicated Mark 2 check
Some say 1922, some disagree
(note: "Duplicated" is assumed to mean that parts were interchangeable, not that there was a spare set within the reel)

Post war (1950's) check which introduced the ability to change from Left to Right hand wind

The 2 parts of the transverse (edge on) Golden Prince check from the 1980's

 Hardy JLH from 1990's with what they called the "compensating click check"

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Reels for dreams

For all you tackle tarts (see below :-) ) some images that prove that good design is still out there.

From the minds and workshops of Leen Huisman of LH Design  Alex Kaplun of Megoff and the famed Ari 't Hart for Exclusive reels  (. .. more to follow)
If, and who doesn't, you would like some of this art please ask Mark - Here (link)


The 'Amber' - titanium with translucent amber




L H  Series E Sapphire : #4/5

ATH Designed Trilogy

Celebrating the 50th Anniversay of the Remco

Coming soon

Sunday, 24 January 2010



tackle,  noun,
·        equipment, apparatus, or gear, esp. for fishing:

tart,  noun,
  • promiscuous, of easy virtue,

A mildly derogatory term traditionally used in a self-mocking manner, or for good-natured abuse of friends.
Anglers have always wanted the best toys they could get to practise their sport and this phrase came into the lexicon of angling to jokingly (usually) refer to those who abused that privilege.
From Elfric the Abbot writing in his “Collequy” in the tenth century, via Dame Juliana’s “Treatyse of ffyshynge with an Angle” in 1496