January 24, 2013
Vintage Tackle Contest: Al Loiseau Mickey Finn
By Joe Cermele
Interesting story: Reader Billy Sheahan submitted a huge list of photos to the vintage tackle contest. Apparently, everything was a hand-me-down from his grandfather, and there were some pretty neat items in the batch. But rather than pick one, I sent the whole list to resident expert Dr. Todd Larson of The Whitefish Press and "Fishing For History" blog and told him to select the item with the coolest back story. I never dreamed it would be the lone fly shown below, but this Mickey Finn does, in fact, have a pretty cool history, and I learned something about how fly shops were stocked back in the day.
Dr. Todd says:
"One of the hottest areas of tackle collecting is tied flies, especially ones on cards connected to prominent fly tiers. What you have is a classic small production streamer tied by Al Loiseau of East Hartford, Conn., who was apparently a local radio operator in the 1950s. Most American towns of any size had their local talent who tied flies for the main street tackle shop, and this is certainly an example of just such a streamer. The more commonly known the tier, the more value to the fly -- in this case, Loiseau is not very well known, which makes its value around $10 on the card to a local collector. Regardless, it's a nice piece of fly fishing history and a reminder that the tackle industry always employed tens of thousands of people like Loiseau who moonlighted making flies, snells, lures, etc."
Killer find, Billy. If that were mine, I'd be buying a little frame and making room on my office wall. Thanks for sending, and keep an eye on your mailbox, because there's a set of Berkley Aluminum Pliers headed your way.
If you've already sent me photos of your vintage tackle, keep checking every Thursday to see if I chose it for an appraisal by Dr. Todd. If you haven't and want to enter the contest, email photos of your old tackle to email@example.com, along with your name, mailing address, and story of how you acquired the gear. If I use it in a Thursday post, you get a pair of Berkley Aluminum Pliers (above) worth $50.