Trea­sure in your tackle box

The News (New Glasgow) - - PICTOU COUNTY - Don Ma­cLean Don Ma­cLean is an out­door writer and bi­ol­o­gist who lives in Pic­tou County.

As you clean up your fish­ing gear for an­other year, take a few mo­ments to have a look at some of your tackle.

Sport fish­ing col­lecta­bles are very pop­u­lar right now and some of the prices paid at Amer­i­can auc­tions are mind-bog­gling. I was re­minded of this last week when I read about an auc­tion held of fish­ing gear owned by the late Bernard “Lefty” Kreh. Mr. Kreh was a fa­mous fly tier, tackle de­signer, fly cast­ing in­struc­tor and writer who was a lead­ing an­gler of the 20th and 21st cen­tury. He was well loved and re­spected, so his gear was highly sought af­ter by peo­ple who wanted to have some­thing to re­mem­ber him by.

A lure which he had a hand in de­sign­ing, the Musky Charmer, sold for an im­pres­sive US$21,000. While most of us don’t have any­thing that valu­able in our tackle boxes, you never know what you might find. Fish­ing lures are one of the most pop­u­lar col­lecta­bles and, as avid col­lec­tors will tell you, there are four main names which are highly sought af­ter:

HEDDON — This com­pany be­gan man­u­fac­tur­ing lures in 1902 and, shortly af­ter that, had rep­re­sen­ta­tives through­out the United States as well as Toronto.

CREEK CHUB — Named af­ter a small bait­fish, this com­pany was formed by three In­di­ana fish­er­men in 1906. They ap­plied for a patent in 1919 to spray paint lures through net­ting. This gave their lures a scaly ef­fect and made them more re­al­is­tic to fish. This in­no­va­tion made the com­pany very suc­cess­ful, as did its de­vel­op­ment of the div­ing lip, which made the lures “wig­gle” in the wa­ter. While these in­no­va­tions changed the face of fish­ing and are still used to­day, the com­pany closed in 1978.

SHAKE­SPEARE — Es­tab­lished in Michi­gan by Wil­liam Shake­speare in 1890, the com­pany started out man­u­fac­tur­ing only reels and didn’t pro­duce fish­ing lures un­til 1901. Its early lures are rec­og­niz­able by the pro­pel­lers in their nose and are highly de­sired by col­lec­tors. PFLUEGER — This com­pany started out in an Ohio farm­house, but grew rapidly and, by 1900, it was is­su­ing a 126-page cat­a­logue. Its main lure man­u­fac­tur­ing pe­riod was from 1906 to 1930 when it man­u­fac­tured mainly wooden lures. The com­pany grad­u­ally switched over to mak­ing reels and was sold to Shake­speare in the 1970s.

As with any an­tique, the con­di­tion is very im­por­tant and the bet­ter shape your lure is in, the higher the price it will com­mand. The high­est prices are paid for lures which are in the orig­i­nal boxes and have never seen the wa­ter.

Avoid re­plac­ing hooks or touch­ing up the paint on any old lures; the more orig­i­nal the con­di­tion, the bet­ter. Col­lect­ing old fish­ing gear adds an­other di­men­sion to our sport and the hunt for old gear can be a lot of fun. While old lures are of­ten dif­fi­cult to find, other tackle — such as fish­ing rods of bam­boo, green­heart and steel, gaffs, creels, flies and fish­ing books — are all very collectable and avail­able in our area.

If you want to find out more about this as­pect of sport fish­ing, a great on­line source is an­tiquelures.com.

Two ex­cel­lent books are Old Fish­ing Lures and Tackle, Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and Value Guide by Carl F. Luckey (Krause Pub­li­ca­tions) and The Col­lec­tors Guide to An­tique Fish­ing Tackle by Sil­vio Cal­abi (Wellfleet Press). So, when the fish­ing sea­son closes, you can still troll the aisles of your lo­cal flea mar­ket and maybe hook a ma­jor find.

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