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Spring-Loaded Fish Hooks, Traps & Lures
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Engelbrecht & Skiff Fish Hook
The Engelbrecht & Skiff Fish Hook is the first invention ever patented in the United States of America that had to do with catching a fish, and therefore, its historical significance is profound.

This style of fish trap employs a "flat spring." Only a few other fish traps ever employed this type of spring, the most recent having been patented and made in 1875.

The Engelbrecht and Skiff Fish Hook is set as thus: the striking hook, which is attached to the flat spring, is moved into a vertical position, which thus compresses and puts tension on the spring. The line-tie on top of the hook is a sliding bar of hand-forged steel and is inserted into a slot cut into the striking hook, thus setting the fish trap. The trap is sprung by either a downward movement of the bait hook (a fish biting the hook) or by an upward movement of the line; either of which action would disengage the sliding bar to which the line is tied from the striking hook, which the flat spring now forcibly sending the striking hook into the top of the fish's head.
Engelbrecht & Skiff Fish Hook
Patent Date: July 28, 1846
The mechanism itself for this fishhook is generally attributed to George W. Griswold of Pottersville, NY, "in the vicinity of Schroon Lake."

This spring-loaded fishhook, like other fish traps to follow, had the great advantage over conventional one-piece fishhooks in that it could be left unattended by the fisherman and still catch fish. Therefore, one can see that this could have been used either singularly on a fishing rod or by leaving it unattended, as long as the line was anchored to a boat or some other point on the surface. A multitude of these traps could also be hung from a trotline, a line that would have been stretched across a stream, river, or lake and which would only have to be checked from time to time, as one might now check a conventional trap line set for fur bearers.

The example shown here, one of only two known to exist in collector's hands, still retains an original horsehair leader.

From patent text: "the invention of a hook for catching fish, operated by a (flat)spring, a lever, and a slide, whether working as described above or in any other way."

To learn more about this and other spring-loaded fish hooks order your authographed copy of Spring-Loaded Fish Hooks, Traps & Lures today!

Additional information on hooks can be found at:
Whitefish Press and Ronn Lucas Sr. and Friends