Fish Hooks and Friends…

Life often gives us surprises, some huge and significant, others not so much, but serendipitous nonetheless.

Last weekend at the Somerset, New Jersey, Fly Fishing Show, a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time stopped by my table. I was busy doing a demo, and as I tied a fly, I saw him and thought he looked familiar…but no bells rang if you know what I mean. He waited until I was finished, and then stepped forward, extended his hand and said, “Hi Don, Glenn Peckel.” We originally met eleven years ago. I was pleasantly surprised. He’s from NJ and was a member of the Ray Bergman TU Chapter. We had quite a long time together, talking, very enjoyable.

Funny, weird, almost scary thing about this – I was thinking of Glenn and wondering about him just a day earlier that week…why he popped into my head after years of not even a passing thought of him, I’ll never know. Perhaps the impetus to think of Glenn occurred as I crossed the Tappan Zee Bridge into Nyack, New York; Ray Bergman’s home town, and I knew Glenn lived nearby.  Suddenly his name was in my mind, and I merely thought about the fact that I had not heard from or about him for many years. This was a little puzzling, but I have had it happen before. This is the part of the story that I needed to tell in order to tell the rest of the story. As I crossed the bridge and drove south on I-87, the CD player thumped playing Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Vicious Cycle – Dead Man Walking, All Funked Up, Jake and other great songs, loud enough to make the windshield-mounted rear-view mirror quiver with each whump of the bass drum, so much so that the cars viewed in the mirror vibrated into a repetitive, rhythmic blur, I wondered about Glenn. How he was doing. If he was still around. Yeah, sometimes I like my music loud…I like many kinds of music but as my friend and fellow fly tier Tom Baltz from Mt. Holly Springs, Pennsylvania, says, “Sometimes I just wanna hear screamin’ guitars.” Me too.

And as I drove on, Glenn slipped from my mind once again, as just another curious passing thought.

As I wandered about the show floor Friday afternoon, about 5:15 PM I ended up at Mike Martinek’s table. Mike asked, “Hey Donnie, you want a beer?”

“Sure,” I replied, and he handed me ten bucks and said, “Go get us a couple Yuengling’s.”

I returned shortly and as Mike and I talked, out of the blue he asked, “Do you know Glenn Peckel?” I was a bit surprised that Mike seemed to snatch that name from thin air.  Long story short, Mike informed me that Glenn had experienced a personal tragedy some years back and it understandably had some impact on him, and that he hadn’t heard from him in quite a while.

So, another long story short, Saturday morning, Glenn was standing at my table, after visiting with Mike, he and I renewed our friendship at the show. Now, getting to the point of this post, Glenn said he had some Edgar Sealey wet fly hooks that he was going to send me. I was delighted, and of course said, “If you do I’ll tie some flies on ’em and send ’em to ya’.” I did the same thing when Mike Martinek sent me some Mustad 36712 Limerick bend hooks.” (Those flies are back a ways here in the archived topics).

The hooks from Glenn arrived on Wednesday this week. They are No. 1733 B size #6 Limerick bend hook, (really nice), the box is in mint condition and full, a hundred hooks. Still wrapped in the wax paper, it has no wrinkles so it was never opened after being packaged at the factory. It is nice to have friends like Glenn.

The Sealey hooks are very close in style to the Mustad 36712, and just a hook-eye length longer than a Mustad 3399 or 3906. So, tending my woodstove fire this morning, sipping coffee, I cracked them open and laid out six hooks. The first fly I tied was the Lachene, Plate No. 5 from Ray Bergman’s Trout. Next I’m going to tie a Jenny Lind, both of those patterns chosen because I was tying them last night for an order. I’ll also do a Ray Bergman and a Dr. Burke. Two others as well, don’t know yet which patterns; maybe the two Fontinalis patterns from Plate No. 10. Yeah, I think I just made up my mind on that…

I just came to the computer to look up Edgar Sealey Company, and what appears below is what I found. I must get back to work, tying, but when I finish the flies for Glenn, I’ll photograph them and post the pictures here.

All I can say about the information below is the fellow in England that provided this info on a UK Forum is “Doc.”

“Edgar Sealey & Sons started as a hook-maker some time around 1930, and are listed in the Kelly’s Directory of 1932 at Brookhill Works, Hewell Road, Redditch.”

“At their peak in the 1950s, they were employing around 100 people, but they were taken over by Dunlop Sports in 1960, and became more of a distributor than manufacturer, though they continued making hooks until they closed the factory and moved to Falmouth in 1981.”

“Some of their machinery was bought by Vince Green, and is still used in the manufacture of Sprite hooks.”

“Their reels were all made by J. W. Young and at one time were Young’s main distributor.”

(This information was posted in response to a fellow in possession of a Sealey fiberglass rod, which concludes the information given. – Don)

“It is likely that your rod was actually made for Sealey by Archie Harrison of Horizon Rods, who, though having retired many years ago, is still making rods and fishing and playing golf twice a week.”

(The words in quotation marks above are from a post by “Doc” on an English fishing forum). Thanks Doc, whoever you are!

The history of many old companies comprises an interesting facet to our hobby. And interesting it is, the bond of friendship enhanced in some cases by nothing more than some gifted fly tying hooks.

Collecting by Bob Mead

This link is to an article my friend Bob Mead, realistic fly tyer from Scotia, New York,  wrote for the January News Letter for

It is informative, entertaining, and somewhat humorous; it made me smirk, smile, and a couple times I laughed out loud. Bob’s writing is well-worth your time to look this up for a read. This article is the first of a three-part series on collecting, a subject about which Bob Mead is very knowledgeable.

Copy the line into your web-browser.

Trout Plate No. 3

I will write a more detailed update to this post in a few days or a week. For now, I just want to say that I started tying these 48 flies on Tuesday evening, December 14th, and what you see here – the finished replica of the wet flies from Ray Bergman’s book Trout, was the end result of my work by noon on Friday the 17th.

It was an enjoyable experience – therapeutic, relaxing, rewarding – to tie another set of wet flies for another frame. I did the tying at my family cabin in Tioga County, Pennsylvania, and the mounting of the flies and assembly of the frame at my mother-in-law’s home in Cogan Station. A benefit of the last period was that my first-born grandson, “MJ,”

This is me, December 17, 2010 with Plate No. 3, wet flies from Trout

was there for an extended weekend. He will be two later this month.

All things came together for a memorable experience!