Flashback Fridays

Flashback Friday: Want to Touch It?

It used to be that, when someone caught a fish good enough to keep and showed it to you, common courtesy dictated that you at least touch it. Pumping gas at the marina offered plenty of opportunities to do just that, as shown in a Texaco ad from the May, 1959, issue of Outdoor Life magazine.

texaco

Tickling another man’s bass.

Common courtesy is fine out in public, where others are looking or tickling another man’s bass is just part of the job but, as illustrated by a dusty batch of recently found photos, among family, such courtesies only extend so far. Continue reading

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Flashback Friday Flashback: Hemingway the Poet

When a post appeared on The Literary Fly Fisher a few weeks ago, announcing the University of Idaho’s 7th Annual Hemingway Festival, I went digging for a copy of “Big Two-Hearted River” because it is such a good fishing story about more than fishing. Then I dug up a copy of “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” because that shot from the 6.5 Mannlicher still buckles my knees.

Thank you to The Literary Fly Fisher for the reminder that an evening spent reading Ernest Hemingway ain’t such a bad thing.

We have honored Ernest Hemingway once before on these pages with Flashback Friday: Great Moments in Literary History, which involved a small trout. Today, as a tribute to those about to gather at the Best Western Inn in Moscow, Idaho, we honor him again by sharing a recent find.

Pirated Edition!

Pirated Edition!

Continue reading

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Flashback Friday: Anthropomorphism Edition

Anthropomorphism: the attribution of human characteristics or behavior to a god, animal, or object.

We humans have an innate tendency to project human traits on animals to make them seem friendlier, more relatable and well, more human. In contrast, we often use animals to point out the worst traits in our peers. Call someone a snake, a weasel, a pig or an ass and we know he’s no good but, thanks to anthropomorphism, snowmen dance, fish sing and people get it into their heads that polar bears need hugs.

Some pictures of monkeys this past week reminded me that it used to be possible to buy monkeys through the mail and the advertisements emphasized how much the monkeys were just like us. Sometimes all it took was to give the monkey a lollipop, like this ad in Field & Stream’s June, 1963 issue.

"Almost Human"

“Almost Human”

Another monkey dealer advertising in that same issue took a different approach, using a drawing instead of a photograph. This could have been a cost-cutting measure, allowing him to sell his monkeys for three dollars less. We can only assume the instructions included how to get a ruffled collar over a squirrel monkey’s head.

Adorable

Adorable

For those who had a hard time relating to lightning fast primates with dagger-like canine teeth wearing ruffled collars, Aqua-Land Pet offered up something a little different.

Hours of Fun

Lightning-fast primates with dagger-like teeth carrying tiny rifles. How cute! Aqua-Land Pet also offered baby alligators as an amusing hobby for children. Apparently, alligators were also helpful and friendly. Continue reading

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Flashback Friday: Tannenbaum Edition

According to the National Christmas Tree Association, 13.9 million artificial Christmas trees were purchased in the United States last year. Of course, on their Statistics page, the NCTA is very diplomatic, tactfully referring to those trees as “fake.”

More than 26 million “real” trees were harvested for festive purposes in 2014, with 15% of consumers surveyed opting to cut their own. Choosing and cutting a tree is a tradition the whole family can enjoy, as shown in this ad for rifle scopes from the December, 1962, issue of Field & Stream.

So close!

Those two know the only thing worse than having the wrong scope when a buck like that appears is having no gun at all. We’ll hope they also know how hard it is to chase a deer through deep snow, trying to get close enough to whack it with your hatchet.

At least they appear to be properly dressed.

Dressed for Success

Dressed for Success

Continue reading

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Flashback Friday: Fly Fishing Time

south bend

 

Weeks away? More like days. Opening Day at Fish in a Barrel Pond is next weekend, provided the ice goes off the pond and I can get the camps up and running again (See Quill Gordon and The Nonesuch Mountain Howler). Every day I find a string of messages from angst-filled anglers asking about the ice and if they will be able to fish in a week but I have yet to hear someone (other than my supervisor) ask if the faucets flow and toilets flush or if the woodland creatures have been evicted from beneath the beds. My head is sore from knocking on wood but every year the ice goes out and the camps open on time.

The ad above appeared in the April 1948 issue of Outdoorsman magazine. From the first trout to the last fightin’ bass, South Bend was there to make your sport complete. With split bamboo rods starting at $16 and nifty automatic reels for $10, an angler could still splurge on a nice double taper line and be fishing for $35! It is a virtual certainty that at some point in the season someone is going to show me a new rod that cost what I make in a month and tell me “you get what you pay for.” It’s also a good bet that same guy will be the one who asks who to speak to about the fishing around here.

Today’s dollar is a different animal than the dollar of 1948, and today’s anglers are different, too. Or are they?

masland

The weather on Opening Day can be as unpredictable as the fishing but C.H. Masland & Sons had every angle and angler covered in 1948. Their handy “opening day check list” consisted entirely of clothing items from their catalog, for all kinds of weather, including a nylon rain cape, knee-length for the same price as a South Bend reel.

One of the best things about C.H. Masland ads from the late 1940s was the cartoon at the top of each one. Illustrator Tom Rost (1909-2004) began his series of “Opening Day” hunting and fishing cartoons while at the Milwaukee Journal in the late 1930s, after a stint as an artist with the Civilian Conservation Corps (two of his watercolors were purchased by Eleanor Roosevelt as a Christmas gift to FDR in 1937). He enjoyed a long association with Field & Stream and other wildlife magazines and had a very successful career as an illustrator and artist.

I just can’t imagine where he ever came up with the things he included in those Opening Day cartoons.

Opening Day 1948

Opening Day 1948

Opening Day 1947

All of us at The View from Fish in a Barrel Pond wish everyone out there the most successful of Opening Days, no matter the weather or the cost of their rod. Of course, the definition of “successful” will vary from angler to angler; Quill Gordon will be happy if the toilets flush.

 

 

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Flashback Friday Shaving Edition: Chuck Heard a Scream

The chill I feel lately is due to more than just ditching the long-johns earlier than might have been prudent. Every fall a beard grows on my face and every spring I hack it off. It’s a bit of a shock to the system, not to mention friends and the cats, but it is spring and an old man’s thoughts turn to shaving.

A barbaric ritual that has been taken to extremes, the shaving of our various body parts supports a multi-billion dollar industry that pats itself on the back for selling us razors with as many as six(!) blades because, well, we’ll buy anything. Or steal it; most modern multi-blade razor cartridges are so expensive that they are kept under lock and key, or behind the counter with the ingredients for crystal meth.

Shaving didn’t used to require a “system,” as pointed out by Remington in this ad, aimed at outdoorsmen, from 1964.

remington 64

Civilized? Maybe, at least until the “rechargeable energy cells” start to run down, turning those 4 roller combs and 348 cutting edges into a low-power clam shell, yanking dozens of whiskers at once and leaving a fellow to return from the woods half-shaved and looking like his shaving kit included a weasel. Continue reading

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Flashback Friday: The R Word

(It is the end of March and Opening Day is less than a month away and the days of the week have lost their meaning around here. With the countdown on, Flashbacks can occur at any time.) 

One of the great things about America is that one has the right to go on being offensive, even as the offended holler, “Stop!”

Some of us get offended that others are offended by our offensiveness and take a stand against Political Correctness by continuing to offend, maybe even ratcheting it up a notch or two. Some of us just say whatever we want because it is our right to do so.

Some of us will say that, whatever it was, it was meant in a good way and no disrespect was intended. Unfortunately, attempts to atone for these inadvertent offenses often come up so short they only make matters worse and give critics another bone to gnaw on.

Some of us will stay on the sidelines, so to speak, and not speak at all, listening in wonder as others say the things they are free to say. Daniel Snyder can call his privately-owned football team whatever he wants as far as Quill Gordon is concerned. It’s a free country and it is his team, but he’s not been doing himself many favors lately by clinging to a seven letter word beginning with “R”.

Very few people will agree that the treatment of Native Americans has been exemplary. Even famous outdoors writers like H.G. “Tap” Tapply, who wrote regular columns for Field & Stream, used offensive distortion to help his readers realize how good they had it compared to dirty savages.

sportsmans notebook

At the end of one column in the late 1950s, dispensing advice for avoiding bug bites while outdoors, Mr. Tapply closed out with a bit of what he no doubt saw as appropriate humor.

 

Pork Rind?

There ain’t much right about that sentence, other than the last 11 words. Some day we’ll pull out another of Mr. Tapply’s gems like the one where he recommended carrying a gun on fishing trips because you can always just spend the day shooting crows, snakes, turtles and frogs if the fishing is slow. Continue reading

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Flashback Friday: Size Matters

A better writer than I once wrote something about the measure of an angler being not how large a fish he or she can catch but how small a fish he or she can catch without being disappointed. I think it was John Gierach, whose forthcoming book is titled, “All Fishermen are Liars.”

Another writer, better than anyone ever, is credited with something to do with never lying about the fishing where others know you but especially never lying about the fishing where others know the fish. That was Mark Twain, who was pretty sure all men, fishermen or not, are liars.

fish ruler

Overstatement, exaggeration and embellishment are vital components of our fishing heritage and culture. With a wink and a nod, we chuckle at what a bunch of good-natured rascals we are, telling all those stories like we do, as did our grandfathers and others who have gone before. Telling lies is a time-honored tradition of our sport and some of us find it no great insult to be called a pack of liars. Continue reading

Categories: Flashback Fridays, Fly Fishing, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Flashback Friday: Late, but with Appropriate Shoes

It’s surprising how scuffed the back of a magazine can become when it spends six months in a pile, waiting to be photographed for a blog post, especially considering the fact that I have magazines in better shape that were printed 70 or more years ago. Some things are just not made to last anymore, or at least stand up to normal use, and I’m pretty sure the guy in this Louis Vuitton ad is about to ruin his shoes. If his shoes aren’t ruined by the water flowing over those rocks his suit will be ruined for sure if he takes another step, not to mention the damage to his coccyx .

Louis Vuitton shoes

Not that those shoes are intended for use as suggested by this ad, unless they have fancy aluminum crampon bars attached to the soles, but even then their finish would surely be marred. While it might be hard for some to imagine a reasonable person wearing those shoes anywhere but to the office or a funeral, my experience at Fish in a Barrel Pond is with fly fishers, not reasonable people. Continue reading

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Flashback Friday: That Time There Wasn’t One

crying-angler

Categories: Flashback Fridays | 2 Comments

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