Bikinis, Castro and The Third Reich

February 15, 2004 By: Marshall Cutchin

Just when I finish shrugging off Sports Illustrated’s use of bikini-clad fly fishers to sell magazines, I find out that “In 1946, every ad for fly lines had a girl in the bathing suit,” that Hemingway was encouraged to take Castro fishing at gunpoint, and that the Ashaway Company used the same symbol to sell fly lines as the one co-opted and corrupted by the Nazis from an ancient Native American good luck sign.
Vic Johnson’s self-published book titled “America’s Fly Lines: The Evolution of the Modern Fly Line From Its Horsehair and Silk Beginnings,” seems to contain many interesting nuggets like this. According to the author’s Web site, the book “profiles … over 40 of the major firms selling fly lines in America from 1816 to date. It also explains the technology advances in fly line technology over the same period. This book is a valuable resource for anyone purchasing a new fly line as well as classic tackle collectors. It contains a price guide for antique and vintage fly lines.”
Leon Chandler wrote the Foreward to the book. With 166 pages and 260 illustrations, looks like a must-read for anyone interested in the history of fly lines and fly line engineering.