The drive back to my digs along slippery back roads took me way longer than normal and I’m tired by the time I have eaten, showered and am tucked up in bed. My laptop bursts into life and I catch up on emails before my attention is turned to all matters fly tying. Outside the air is freezing cold but I’m snug in here and thinking about some of my old tools which quite frankly are worn out.
I was looking for a new pair of hackle pliers and a bobbin holder and stupidly went on to fleabay for a gander. Of course I started perusing the ‘vintage’ section of the fishing tackle and saw a nice old box with a few tools in it so I bid and won. This particular excess did not make a big dent in my meager finances but it was still way more than I should have paid if I had just bought the two small tools I initially wanted. No matter, I am now the proud owner of yet another elderly box of tat. Will I ever learn?
What looked like a hare’s mask, some hen pheasant tail feathers, a red game cock cape (from Orvis if you don’t mind) and an ostrich feather lurked in the green cloth lined box plus some other packets but their contents were obscured. A cigar box held nine assorted spools of threads or tinsels, packets of hooks and a small bottle of varnish. Hardly an exciting treasure trove but all useful. I am tying a lot at the moment so a spool of tying silk disappears very quickly and hooks are always in short supply.
The photos which accompanied the lot also clearly showed an aluminium fly box in good condition, so if it was a Wheatley I had possibly got it at less than market price. There was no way of knowing as the box was open so the distinctive logo was not visible. Some shop bought flies were stuck in the clips in this box, maybe a dozen or so including mayfly nymphs and small dries. Peeking out from the bottom of the box was a cheap vice and there were some packets of feathers in there too.
The item which had caught my attention though was an old fly tying tool kit in an oval zippered case. I doubt very much if this tan coloured case was intended for fly tying, it is probably just for a sewing kit, but it will hold any tools I want to use perfectly well. Three hackle pliers, a couple of bobbin holders, two whip finish tools (which I never use) and various needles and threaders live in the case just now but that will change. Actually, the threaders will come in very handy. As my eyesight deteriorates a little every day now the small job of feeding the tying silk through the tube of a bobbin has turned into a marathon, so anything that reduces this particular first world problem is to be embraced.
My plan is to turn this box into a fly tying travel kit that I can stow in the car for those times I am away from home but want to whip up a few flies. Yes, I know you can buy perfectly good pre-assembled kits from reputable suppliers but I wanted to put together my own one. I can tailor it to the specific needs of my fishing and not drag along lots of materials I will never use.
So there you have it, I await delivery of my latest folly with bated breath. The tackle trade must hate guys like me who just want old stuff and not the latest shiny offerings from the far east. The box and everything in it are decades old by the looks of them but that is exactly what I like. That solid, heavy feeling in my hand of something that was made to last, functional rather than beautiful. Once it arrives I will delight in sifting through the packets and tools, repairing or cleaning the bits I can salvage and then filling the box with my own choice of fur and feathers. In a few weeks or months I will no doubt find another old box of rubbish and spend more money on that too. It could be worse, those fellas who have a mid-life crisis and rush out to buy a sports car or acquire a mistress seem to take on much more than I do with my wooden boxes filled with feathers.
3 thoughts on “At it again”
You purchase some valuable stuff! I like the older, heavier tools as well. Those in the far east tackle trade can stick it.
I guess we all find what suits us over time. I often share a boat with guys who use the latest, lightest rods and they can cast further and fish for longer than me but we catch roughly the same number of fish so for me it comes down to how things ‘feel’. I am the same when it comes to fly tying, I prefer feathers and fur to synthetics, they just seem to be ‘right’ to me. I’m really looking forward to using those old tools,, not because they will allow me to make better flies but just ‘cos of the way they feel in my hands. Us old anglers are an odd bunch!!!!
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I wouldn’t call us an odd bunch … we’re more of a dying breed.