The Dacotah Prairie Museum featured a new exhibit entitled
“Fisherman’s Paradise”. The exhibit ran through June 30th, 2005. The artifacts that comprised this display were taken from the collection of Mike McCafferty, a former professional fishing guide and now the director of the “Northern Route to the Black Hills” office.
Mike’s extensive collection of fishing gear includes a variety of fishing rods. Early rods were made from a variety of woods, but near the end of the 1800’s, split bamboo became popular. Several of the rods on display are pre-1900 steel rods which were manufactured between 1875-1950. They were lighter and more durable, but the higher end of the market still belonged to bamboo.
During W.W.II, resins and fiberglass were used for military equipment. A military researcher, Dr. Howald, broke his bamboo fishing rod and repaired it with a piece of fiberglass tubing. After fishing with his repaired rod, he realized the potential of using fiberglass in rod construction. The first fiberglass rods were made by the Shakespeare Rod Company in 1947 and one of the first will be included in the exhibit.
Reels also have their history, and those included at the Museum can be divided into two categories: the Expansion Age and the Technology Age. The Expansion Age was named due to the surge of manufacturing of fishing equipment between 1900-1930. Heddon, Hendryx, Horrocks, Ibbotson, Pfluger, Shakespeare, and South Bend were all reel manufacturers of this time. The Technology Age (1930-1950) saw the beginning of spin cast reels and the use of modern plastics and alloys to produce lightweight reels.
Lures have long been a symbol of fishing success, and our exhibit boasts a large variety of lures dating back to the 1920’s. Names like “Pikie Minnow”, “River Runt”, “Flatfish”, “Creek Darter”, “Plunker”, “The Champ”, and “Crazy Crawler” bring back exciting memories for those who love to fish.
To view other past exhibits, click here.