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Period fishing.... a BLAST!
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Yaquina143
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Real Name: Anonymous

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 1:01 pm    Post subject: Period fishing.... a BLAST! Reply with quote

Recently I became interested in period angling, the techniques of building a period correct angling rod, etc. Being an avid fisherman for my whole life I thought that bringing that interest into my reenacting would be fun. I started researching info on period fishing/angling (circa 1760-1800) and have dug up some great information and techniques. I thought I would share some of the info with the forum.

First off, I highly recommend these two books...

A History of Angling by Charles C. Trench.

The Colonial Angler by Ken Reinard.

Online there is little on this subject, however Paul at http://www.historicanglingenterprises.com has been a great source of information and has some great products as well. Check it out.

I have made myself a period angling rod and associated gear and took the day off from the studio to go give it a try. Needless to say, here in Oregon you can't throw a rock without hitting a stream or pond with fish in it so it was no time at all before I was standing next to a loving little pond, packed full of trout, bluegill and bass.

I put my pole together, tied the fly to the line and did a bit of dabbing lightly on the waters surface... and nearly instantly I had a fish roll the water surface and BAM!, I had hooked my first fish with gear entirely period to the 18th century! What a great feeling!!

I ended the morning with two trout and my limit of bluegill!

If you have never tried period style angling, I highly recommend it for a loving afternoon.

Cheers!
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Don Beltrami
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Joined: 15 May 2007
Posts: 76
Location: New England
Real Name: Don Beltrami

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 6:24 pm    Post subject: period fishing Reply with quote

Good angling website- but the impression I get is that most fishing by the "middlin" classes was done with handlines. If I want to use a pole, but no reel, how should the line be attatched to the pole? I know it seems like a stupid question, but enquiring minds want to know. - Don Beltrami
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Yaquina143
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Real Name: Anonymous

PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 1:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think I buy the "gentlemen only" theory in regards to angling and I certainly think that no matter what your class, an angling rod would and could have been used.

I really don't believe for a minute that angling was only for the rich or high social circles. No doubt the best and most advanced equipment of the day was in the hands of the well off gentlemen, but that doesn't mean that the poor or working class didn't enjoy throwing a line in the water once in a while. Just look at our society today, most of the people I see on the shoreline of lakes and streams are working class folks.

I have been making angling rods off and on all week and the kind I have been making range in style from quite fancy to simple, but they all have the same basic design. A simple bamboo cane pole, ranging from 10' to 14' feet long, in four or five sections. I have a couple of rods that I made for myself, one has a simple finish and the other is stained, oil finished and wrapped in places with silk thread (for a handle, etc). The latter rod would have been more of an "upper class" rod, but other than the fancier attention to the finish, there is no difference between the two.

In regards to your question, it would seem that the line was attached to the tip of the pole by simply wrapping the line to the tip with some silk thread. Simple.

I think the poor or working class would have had/used angling rods, but they would likely be simple rods, cut from the shoreline from one of the many types of woods available. Sectional rods would have been expensive and most likely in the hands of a "gentlemen" or a passionate poor angler willing to drop the money on one.

This doesn't mean that a common frontiersman wouldn't have owned a sectional custom made angling rod. Back then just like today, angling was a sport, a hobby, ... and people are never to poor to spend money on their hobby. I am sure that there were plenty of people along the frontier who took their angling VERY seriously and did their best to acquire the best equipment they could.

The thing that facinates me the most is the fact that the fishing creel has remained virtually unchanged for over three centuries. I guess it is an example of "if it isn't broke... don't fix it."
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Tim Richards
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Joined: 15 May 2007
Posts: 21

Real Name: Tim Richards

PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don, I don't know how they attached the line to the pole back then, but as a wee lad my grandfather and grandmother would take me back along the crick for trout. We'd cut a small sapling and fasten the (braided, usually) line good and tight to the butt end, then run it to the tip and loop and tie at the tip. Tied it to the butt end just in case the tip happened to break; we still had control of the line.

I wonder if set or trot lines weren't the most common way of fishing with line. I've read numerous accounts of fishing, mostly related to the Upper Great Lakes, and set lines were often mentioned though the occasional pole showed up on occasion, especially late 18th century and 19th.
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Walton45
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Joined: 16 May 2007
Posts: 19
Location: Texas
Real Name: Paul W. Jones

PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 9:07 am    Post subject: Period Fishing/Making Period Rods Reply with quote

..............


Last edited by Walton45 on Sat Sep 15, 2007 10:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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diggler
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Real Name: Anonymous

PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yaquina,

What size hooks are you using? i have some eyeless 'period' hooks, but they seem too big for trout. maybe good for Largemouth bass.
And what are you using for bait?

much appreciated,
cheers,
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Lloyd Moler
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Joined: 16 May 2007
Posts: 297
Location: Priest River, Idaho
Real Name: Lloyd Moler

PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dana,
I picked up a 16 foot cane pole down in Texas a few years ago, and bought the book "Colonial Angler's Manual" last year at Monroe.
I just haven't had time to put everything together yet. Too many projects and honeydo's.

I hope to get my set-up made this year though.

_________________
With this I remain, My Dear Sir, Your most Humble and Obedient Servant

Lloyd Moler
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Yaquina143
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Real Name: Anonymous

PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 10:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Period Fishing/Making Period Rods Reply with quote

Walton45 wrote:
Yaquina,

Could you descibe with some detail how you make your rods?

Are they jointed? If so, how?


Well, that all depends. Some of the rods I make are short, perhaps 7' feet and only connect in one spot, others are several sections that make up a rod of about 15' feet. The connections are done in brass that I get from a custom metal shop here in town.


Quote:
Also, since you make scalps, will you now be making and selling period rods?


As a matter of fact I am making a few rods for sale. If you are interested than please let me know. I will be posting some pictures later on tonight.
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Yaquina143
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Real Name: Anonymous

PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

diggler wrote:
Yaquina,

What size hooks are you using? i have some eyeless 'period' hooks, but they seem too big for trout. maybe good for Largemouth bass.
And what are you using for bait?


I have a few different sizes that I picked up here and there at trade shows, etc. I am still searching out sellers who make/sell good period hooks. If I can't find any I will probably just end up making my own.
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Yaquina143
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Real Name: Anonymous

PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lloyd Moler wrote:
Dana,
I picked up a 16 foot cane pole down in Texas a few years ago, and bought the book "Colonial Angler's Manual" last year at Monroe.
I just haven't had time to put everything together yet. Too many projects and honeydo's.

I hope to get my set-up made this year though.


I know the feeling Lloyd, but I finally put my foot down and started getting the rods and gear together. Sure glad I did, I went fishing this afternoon and had trout and bluegill tonight for dinner!
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Walton45
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Joined: 16 May 2007
Posts: 19
Location: Texas
Real Name: Paul W. Jones

PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 11:00 pm    Post subject: Period Fishing/Rods Made By Yaquina Reply with quote

....................


Last edited by Walton45 on Sat Sep 15, 2007 10:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Yaquina143
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Real Name: Anonymous

PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 11:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Period Fishing/Rods Made By Yaquina Reply with quote

Walton45 wrote:
Would be interested in acquiring a period-correct rod.

Pleae give details as to rods available and pricing.

Also, can you provide documentation for 1700's era rods with "brass connections" as you call them... and do you mean ferrules?

Thanks.


The rods I make are accurate for the period around the mid 1770's and onward.

Sectional poles can be seen in woodcuts dated as far back as the early 1500's, but there is some indication that sectional fishing poles have been around since as far back as ancient Egypt. Metal ferrules have been around for nearly as long and there are surviving examples of rods, complete with very fancy brass ferrules dating from at least the late 1700's. One surviving example can be seen in the book, The Colonial Angler.

The first ferrules were simple brass or copper tubes, connecting the rod sections together. The rods I make are made of bamboo, with simple brass fittings. The handles are capped with a lathe spun grip and wrapped with silk thread for the handle section. I have been making both simple "poor man's" rods as well as ones fit for a "gentleman".

I will post some pictures later tonight.
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Yaquina143
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Real Name: Anonymous

PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2007 2:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As promised, here are some photos of my personal gear. The poles shown in these photos are both ones that I have made and are like the ones I will be offering for sale. The darker one of the two is slightly fancier then the other; stained and with a hand rubbed oil finish. This would be more of a "gentleman's" angling rod.

The lighter colored one is a step down. The grip is made of a less expensive wood and lacks the stained finished.

Both rods are scorched. This tempers the stalk and makes it much stronger. The "poor man's" angling rod (not shown) looks much like the lighter colored rod, but lacks an end grip. The handle is however wrapped with cord for roughly 7" inches. All of them have basic early style brass ferrules. Both rods shown measure roughly 12' feet long when in use.

The lighter colored rod has one brass ferrule, and one of natural. This was not done for any reason inparticular. This is one of my personally rods and I was experimenting with different types of connections.

The rest of my fishing gear consists of my dubbing bag, which carries my tackle, flys, line caster and any bait that I might be using. Also shown is my creel, which is entirely period in construction and design. It really amazes me that creels have remained the same, even after 300 years of angling invention and design.

A note on my cork floats...

There is some debate regarding when cork was first introduced to the American Colonies. I have not completed my research on this subject but have read enough to know that there is clearly two schools of thought on this. Personally I have no problem including cork floats in my kit but their inclusion is by no means a statement about their authenticity. Once I spin out some wood floats I will probably remove the cork ones from my kit.














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Walton45
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Joined: 16 May 2007
Posts: 19
Location: Texas
Real Name: Paul W. Jones

PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2007 7:34 am    Post subject: Period Fishing/Rod, Dubbing Bag, and Other Reply with quote

//////////////////////////


Last edited by Walton45 on Sat Sep 15, 2007 10:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Susan
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Joined: 15 May 2007
Posts: 119
Location: Memphis on the Mississippi
Real Name: Susan Wallace

PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2007 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is an interesting discussion, and I complement you on your gear Dana.

However, I can't help but think the most common fishing for 18th c would be a simple hand line. That could be carried easily by the farmer taking a few minutes by the pond, the soldier, the kids or anyone. Next step up would be to cut a switch by the water's edge. In the south most likely some river cane, Elsewhere something else. Then attach the line and all to the pole. And going up one more, have some something to wind line on, much like a simple shuttle.

And what kind of knife was used to cut the switch, and how was it carried......Oh, let's not go there.........

_________________
In regards,
Susan
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