MYHRE: Why not start collecting vintage fishing tackle? | Outside
You will soon learn that serious collectors are primarily interested in “like new” collectibles. Some decoy collectors only consider purchasing decoys that came in the original box. Sometimes the original boxes are worth more than the lure itself. As the fishermen clung to their lures, they usually threw the box away.
How you are going to collect is up to you. Some focus on a single lure maker like South Bend or Heddon or Shakespeare. Some only collect wooden lures, although there are also many plastic lures. Some only collect the first casting reels. Some only bamboo stems.
My accumulation – I hesitate to call it a collection – is eclectic. I have a bit of everything. Rods, reels, caps, spoons, flies, and so on. None of this is worth much, mainly because much of it is in very good condition.
Some of them, however, hold great sentimental value to me. For example, in one of these boxes I found a small container filled with 3/8 ounce hair templates. Each in a plastic sleeve. They were linked by CJ “Cap” Kennedy. Cap lived in Arnolds Park, Iowa, and ran the bait shop near the Highway 71 bridge in the 1950s and early 1960s. He tied and sold “Rock-A-Roo” bucktail jigs. until his death in the late 1970s.
They were the best jigs out there at the time. I knew Cap and fished with him. I asked him to tie jigs for me, not because I wanted to fish with them, but because I felt they were part of fishing history and needed to be preserved.