Fishing equipment enthusiast gives advice on collecting | Outside
The National Fishing Lure Collectors Club is made up of members who organize in regions of the country with the primary purpose of preserving the history of ancient fishing gear and gear.
Steve Hays, former president, said the club was started in Springfield, Missouri by a small group of outdoor enthusiasts in 1976. It is the oldest and largest buyer’s club. , sells and trades antique equipment.
He said the fishing gear is considered antique if it is over 50 years old and the items collected by members have been used to furnish museums so that they will be preserved for future generations.
Hays recommends that those hoping to sell their equipment do not change the conditions of the equipment.
“Most collectors don’t want material that has been polished and cleaned,” Hays said. “They want to be able to see the beauty of metal aging and its originality. Some of the oldest and rarest pieces are very raw, handmade and if you saw them you would think they were junk. But due to the ingenuity and the way they tied the hooks, and the way some of the hooks would come out on springs and catch the fish, these are some of the most desirable.
He said the group follows a code of ethics and is able to identify new fishing baits that have been painted to look older than they are.
“One of the main reasons that so much old fishing gear is available is that fishermen often continue to use the bait they used to catch their first fish,” Hays said. “They stick with what they know well and they feel confident in the gear they used to fish. But when they went to the bait shop, they bought some bait that they intended to use but didn’t end up using it. About 75 percent of fishing lures sold in the country have never been used for fishing.
He said the club has members from all over the world and different countries have different histories of creating fishing bait and rods and reels.
Hays said collecting fish lures is almost exclusive to the United States. They were used by Native Americans near the Great Lakes during the winter to hang them in a hole which they dug in the ice to attract large fish and used a spear to harvest them. Fish lures were created to resemble frogs or mimic smaller baitfish that attract larger fish.
He said the history of fishing gear in the United States began when the colonists of the 1700s used pieces of material from England.
By the mid-1800s, some of the metal decoys and reels were made by artisan jewelers. They would make coils one by one and sign them and some of the designs on the coils were different from any other country.
Most fishing lures from before 1920 were handcrafted by a small group of people. From the 1930s until WWII, the rod itself was machine made but everything put on it was done by hand. The wooden decoys were also spray painted by hand.
During World War II, the creation of most of the tackle was delayed because metal products entered the war effort.
Fishing equipment gradually became more and more mass produced and after 1970 the fishing equipment was machine produced and small companies were bought by larger companies who bought patents and kept the names of ‘origin. The majority of fishing lures are no longer made in the United States.
The club hosts events statewide and will sponsor an antique fishing tournament in September at the Poosey Conservation Area near Jamesport, Missouri. The fishing lures used will be those created before 1940.
An annual membership fee of $ 35 includes a quarterly magazine and other publications. He said the club members are experts in the history of fishing and include family members of the original manufacturers who created the fishing tackle.
For more information visit www.nflcc.org or contact Hays at 315-597-4793.