Fishing Lines: Grey's eminence lures big bucks to the Boston tackle party
Sunday 04 November 2007
This is going to be a boys' weekend. I don't mean we'll all be drinking 28 pints, doing a conga down the street with underpants on our heads and swearing undying love to a lamppost. It's not that sort of occasion.
Nor will there be countless incidents of debauchery and licentiousness, with embarrassing mobile phone pictures of us fondling or being fondled by scantily clad lasses. It's not that sort of weekend either.
In any case, most of us are getting a bit past that sort of stuff, or have higher things on our minds. There won't be any women around at all, with any luck. They would just spend their time grumbling.
You might assume, then, that I'm headed for a serious fishing session, on the bank for a48-hour cast-in, living oncholesterol and tea. But no. While fishing is integral to the weekend's delights, a rod will only be raised to savour its taper or admire its finish.
The occasion is Lang'sbiannual sale of classic tackle,to be held at Boxborough, Massachusetts. But this isn't just a fishing sale. It is 2,462 lots of angling pornography.
Hundreds of collectors will be here, drawn by some of the rarest rods, reels and books. There are also dozens of fishy items with links to celebrities such as Bing Crosby and Ted Williams. Some of the stuff even bears a presidential seal: a creel inkwell belonging to Grover Cleveland, the USS Houston's fishing log of a trip with Franklin D Roosevelt, or Herbert Hoover's rod.
The biggest interest, though, will be sparked by memorabilia owned by Zane Grey. More than 12,000 people registered to bid online, a record, at Lang's last auction, purely because it contained some rare Zane Grey bits. Though he was a vain, selfish and deeply unpleasant man, the author whose books sold better than anyone else's for more than a decade is revered all over the world.
Last time round, old line spools and bits of pottery owned by Grey sold for hundreds of dollars. What will people paythis time for the really good gear: his fighting chair, his leather trousers and his coded letters to his lovers?
Who owns that sort of stuff? Someone with a great deal of money. Some of the books and tackle come from a collection acquired by John Moores, the owner of the San Diego Padres baseball team.
I guess that if you can afford a baseball team, the price of a presidential fishing reel won't frighten you off. Moores can't be all bad, though; he's giving the proceeds to charity.
Money to money, of course. I'm going just to observe the jamboree, rather than to be a player. With dozens of reels estimated at $5,000-$10,000 and one stunning lure (a Riley Haskell Musky Minnow, if you're interested) at $30,000-$50,000, this is for heavy hitters. The potential bidders include several billionaires.
More to the point, several museums will be among the congregation. In the US, with history stretching back only a few hundred years, they value their heritage.
In the UK, the spiritual home of angling, there still isn't a fishing museum to treasure our tradition. And we accuse the Americans of being philistines...
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
Latest in Sport
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more
Germany vs Argentina World Cup final 2014: Five reasons why Argentina will win the World Cup
Thomas Vermaelen to Manchester United: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger thwarting Louis van Gaal over transfer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 final preview: German team ethic tests Lionel Messi's ability to meet the challenge
World Cup 2014: Robin van Persie gives his bronze medal to eccentric Netherlands fan moments after being handed it by Sepp Blatter
- 1 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 2 Japanese plant experts produce 10,000 lettuce heads a day in LED-lit indoor farm
- 3 War is war: Why I stand with Israel
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...
£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...
£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...