Thursday, March 10, 2011


March 10, 2011

Vintage Tackle Contest: Martin Fly Tying Kit

by Joe Cermele

I'm willing to bet that this week's winner in our ongoing vintage tackle contest will dredge up memories for a lot of you. Do you remember your first fly tying kit? I got mine when I was about nine years old and don't think one usable fly came out of all that material. Still, you have to start somewhere. This vintage kit was sent in by Ryan Matt. It's the only one I've received so far in the contest. Ryan wrote:

I picked this Martin fly tying kit up at a flea market in northern California. It was never used and is in great condition, except the head cement which has dried up.

Okay, Ryan...moment of truth. Let's see what vintage tackle expert Dr. Todd Larson of The Whitefish Press and "Fishing For History" blog had to say about your flea market find:

"Is there a better gift for a young boy or girl than a fly tying kit? What you have is an excellent example of how to teach a kid to not only love nature, but to love angling. It is a Martin Fly Tying kit sold in the 1960s by the Martin Tackle Company of Seattle, Washington (no relation to Panther Martin, the Italian spinner company). The Martin Tackle Co. was founded by Joe L. Martin in the early 1930s as a manufacturer of salmon plugs, but by the 1950s expanded into other areas of tackle, including fly tying kits. These kits were often used by Boy Scout troops. In fact, eventually the Boy Scouts offered their own official kit. Back then the market was overflowing with similar kits and the most popular was made by Tack-L-Tyers. They usually have a value of $10-$30 but I suggest you purchase a new bottle of head cement and gift it to a young person in your life. You can view a selection of vintage fly tying kits by clicking here."

Solid advice from the good doctor! Excellent purchase, Ryan. Even if you give the kit away, I'd hang on to the cool new pliers headed to your mailbox. Congrats and thanks for sending the photo.

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, 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.

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