Fly Fishing Tackle 18th Century Style 2
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 | Simon
The rods used in 18th century fly fishing tackle had butts made from deal, ash or willow, with tops made from hickory or hazel – the tops by now had the standard whalebone extension. "Bambou cane" was just starting to be used in the construction of top sections, chiefly for salmon rods. An experienced angler could expect to throw twelve yards of line one-handed, and seventeen yards using a sixteen foot rod with both hands. It’s debatable as to whether anyone would have even attempted to cast single-handed with a sixteen foot six rod.
Making tackle as a business began at least as early as 1600. Fishing writer, Gervaise Markham, suggested that his readers buy their rods in haberdashers' stores, where there was a 'great choice'. But by the 18th century, the tackle trade was well established to provide everything a fisherman might need – as well as many they didn't.
One of the many suppliers that sprang up was the great firm, Ustonson, which began trading in the 1760s and which was to supply tackle to King George IV.
Making rods alone was all well and good, but it took very little time for the commercial possibilities of reels became were recognised. The Kirby firm advertised "the best sort of Winches" in local papers by 1726. And by the latter half of the 18th century, brass brass winches of various designs were being advertised for sale. It was during this period, the second quarter of the eighteenth century, that fishing became popular with merchants and shop keepers, which may account for for why the fly fishing tackle trade expanded so rapidly at the time.