This week’s Throw Back Thursday post is about some old Herter’s Fly Tying Manuals.
I’ve had several Comments about Herter’s since highlighting the Herter’s No. 4 fly tying vise a couple of week’s ago. This should bring back some of the same memories…a couple of Herter’s Fly Tying books from the 1960’s.
My friend Jim Fisher used these books in the mid-1960’s as he learned to tie flies using this Herter’s No. 4 fly tying vise. I wrote about it recently in a TBT post.
There weren’t too many options back in those days. The fly shop boom and bust hadn’t started yet.
My first fly tying books were from Patrick’s Fly Shop in Seattle, WA. These are the two below with my first vise, a Thompson Model A.
You can read how I began my fly tying journey in My First Flies post.
I hope today’s post brought back a few good memories for several of my readers.
Ever heard of a herters mule deer fly? If so, do you have a photo of it and, could you send me a photo? I’ve tried all searches for it and can’t come up with anything. I came upon it in a book or something over 20 years ago and, tied it for creek and river small mouth fishing and, it worked quite well. Thanks.
Thanks for leaving a Comment. Sorry, but I’ve never heard of the fly.
I still have a stash of those old Allcock and Herter’s hooks on the upper left shelf of my fly fly tying bench in the hovel – below a couple of boxes of Cal Bird flies, including the first batch of Bird’s Nests he tied.
In the corner are two pre-production rods, the very first to use boron-glass-graphite combination fiber and ferruled with nickel silver ferrules usually reserved for bamboo rods, made by WAlton Powell. I also have his personal hexagraph, pulled from the run he made for A River Runs Through It. There are stories behind all this old stuff. If I get too far into them, we may miss the evenming hatch.
When you fish up here this summer we should include that on your itinerary. Cal Bird told me that the Herter’s hooks he preferred for his nymph and steelhead flies were Allcocks. They were identical to other Allcocks that he gave me. Could be that the Herter dry fly hooks were Sealy’s, or that they all were.
This brought back a few memories. I learned fly thing with this book from Herters when I was 8 years old back in 1963. I don’t have the old vice I started with, but I’m sure I purchased it from Herters also.
Love the nostalgia, John; thanks for posting it. Just recently, while cleaning out my hovel I found an old Herter’s catalog – about fifty years old. The pages are brittle and yellowed, the range of products is overwhelming, and the catalog copy is a hoot to read. World-famous and world’s finest everything.
When I first started tying commercially I ordered calf tails, fifty at a time, Scotch grouse by the ounce, and Herter’s Gaellic Supreme hooks, complete with the usual Herter’s brag. I thought, then, that the hooks were pretty good – and later found out that they were made for Herter’s by Allcocks of England.
Thanks for leaving a Comment. Happy to hear I struck another chord with you. I wonder what else you might have in your hovel!
When you and Karen visit the area again, You’re invited for a tour. The room is small, but the clutter is immense. If you’re not into old books, American roots music and musical instruments, a cornucopia of fly fishing junk that is heavy on the flies and materials end, you’ll probably want to leave – fast. But if you like that kind of stuff, only the aroma of steaks sizzling on the bbq or the promise of a hatch down on the river will likely cpry you out. You’re welcome, any time.
My name is Jim Fisher ( the one who’s books John took pictures for his posting ).
You got me thinking about Herter’s hooks, here is what was written in the Manual John had pictured – published in 1960.
“In England, fish hook making is centered in the town of Redditch, which as been the needle and hook center for centuries. The prominent firms there making hooks and needles are Edgar Sealey, represented by Herter’s in North and South America, Milwards, Martinez and Bird, S. Allcock and Company, and Willis.”
It does not said who actual made hooks for Herter’s. I have a couple of old boxes of Herter’s hooks and they only have
have “Manufactured of Genuine Sheffield Steel in Britian”.
It would be fun to sit down and have a history discussion with you some time.
Thank you John. I look forward to each Thursday’s post.
Thanks for the Comment Jim.