Fishing Lines: I couldn't afford the creel deal,so I had to settle for a funny hat

So much for my dreams of acquiring a piece of Zane Grey memorabilia. Having travelledall the way to Boston, hopingto pick up some knick-knacks from the famous fisherman's estate, I ended up with nothing. Unfortunately, several thousand others with a lot more money turned up to the auction with the same intention.

I didn't really want Zane's leather trousers, which appear in so many of his pictures. Good job: they sold for $8,750 (£4,175). And goodness knows what my wife, Riva, would have said if I had forked out $19,500 for his rather battered personal pennant, sporting the letters ZG.

Nope, not a thing for me. I guess that I could have put up my hand for two empty wooden line spools, which sold for "only" $150. But nothing linked them to the author, except that they were supposedly found in his house at Altadena, California.

I also fancied an inkwell in the shape of a creel, once owned by the former president Grover Cleveland, but at $2,500 that was too much, even with its pedigree. I didn't get near Bing Crosby's reel ($5,200) or Hoagy Carmichael's rod ($4,750).The total sale took more than $2.5 million.

But I did manage to buy something: a hat. It wasn't Zane Grey's panama, which seemed a bit steep at $525, especially as the catalogue said of it: "Many photographs of Grey around the world feature him wearing similar hats..." However, I'm exceptionally pleased with my purchase, a well-used cap decorated with grotesque flies and badges.

That's because its previous owner was Ed Zern, doyen of humorous fishing writers. He died in 1994, and I don't think anyone, before or since, has matched his wit.

Here's a typical Zern Q & A:

Q: When I became engaged, my fiancée said she understood how much I loved to hunt and fish, and promised never to interfere. Now we're married, and she nags me night and day to giveup outdoor sports altogether. She says if I loved her, I'd gladly stay home. If this keeps on, I'm going to blow my brains out. Please give me whatever advice you can.

A: Since trajectory isn't important here, our recommendation would be a .35 Remington with 200-grain soft-nose bullet.

Or how about this book review? "Although written many years ago, 'Lady Chatterley's Lover' has just been reissued by Grove Press, and this fictional account of the day-to-day life of an English gamekeeper is still of considerable interest to outdoorminded readers, as it contains many passages on pheasant raising, the apprehending of poachers, ways of controlling vermin, and other choresand duties of the professional gamekeeper.

"Unfortunately, one is obliged to wade through many pagesof extraneous material in order to discover and savour these sidelights on the managementof a Midland shooting estate,and in this reviewer's opinion, this book cannot take theplace of J R Miller's 'Practical Gamekeeping'."

Zern even set up his ownclub, the Madison Avenue Rod, Gun, Bloody Mary and Labrador Retriever Benevolent Association. I'd like to think that owning his hat makes me an honorary member.

A poster by Durham Constabulary
Arts and Entertainment
books New York Times slammed over summer reading list
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine