Antique and vintage fishing tackle has become highly collectible, both for its workmanship and appearance and for the nostalgic memories it evokes of a simpler time. Hand-crafted designs create a folk art feel, attracting collectors from a range of backgrounds. In addition to lures, collectors seek rods, reels, decoys, and licenses, plus items by early makers such as Heddon, Creek Chub, Shakespeare, and Pflueger.

Fishing lures are designed to resemble fish prey, such as a frog or a small fish, and are often very colorful and detailed. Lures have been made from a variety of materials over the years, like bone, plastic, bronze, and rubber. But in the collecting world, wooden lures are the most desirable. These were first made commercially in the late 1800s by Heddon and Pflueger. Until that time, wooden lures were created by hand by individual craftsmen.

Antique and vintage decoys are also a popular collectible. Fishermen cut holes in the ice and used the decoy to draw fish into spearing range. Decoys became popular in the upper Midwest in the mid-1800s and were banned in 1910. However, during the Depression, the prohibition ended and decoy factories reemerged. The most sought-after fishing decoys are those created by notable carvers such as Harry Seymour and Yock Meldrum.

Collectors also seek out antique rods and reels. The earliest rods were made of wood and were usually long, sometimes with a bamboo tip; bamboo wasn't used to make the entire rod until the late 1800s. Split bamboo fly rods are considered the most collectible rods today, but collectors also seek casting and spinning rods made of fiberglass, bamboo, or steel. Most collectors have at least a few reels to add to their assortment of antique fishing gear. There are many types of collectible reels, such as single action, multiplying, and automatic fly reels, level wind and non-level wind casting reels, and Ambassador casting reels.

Finally, vintage fishing licenses are very popular. From the 1910s through the 1940s, many states issued small badges for anglers and hunters before switching to paper licenses. Badges from Hawaii, Michigan, Connecticut, and southern states, such as North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Mississippi, are the most in demand. Some states' early paper licenses are also in high demand, for example those from Pennsylvania in the 1920s.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Bob Vermillion - Folk Art Tackle

Bob Vermillion - Folk Art Tackle

Bob Vermillion started collecting lures at age 16. Accordingly, his handsome site is dedicated to his love of folk-… [read review or visit site]

Joes Old Lures

Joes Old Lures

Joe Yates' website is a great showcase for hundreds of old fishing lures, providing high resolution photos and in m… [read review or visit site]

Mrlurebox.com

Mrlurebox.com

Take a big bite - you won't want to just nibble at Robbie Pavey's gallery of over 300 antique fishing lures, many w… [read review or visit site]

AntiqueLures.com

AntiqueLures.com

This extensive site features over 500 pages of information on pre-1940 wood fishing lures and lure boxes. Start wit… [read review or visit site]

Oldfishinglure.com

Oldfishinglure.com

This site is sure to snag you with its great collection of fishing lures from the early 1900s. Includes lures from … [read review or visit site]

TackleCollecting.com

TackleCollecting.com

Larry Nicholson's site dedicated to vintage fishing lures. Features beautiful images of lures and boxes from Fred A… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Umco Possum Belly 4500upb Tackle Box Loaded To The T With Vintage LuresHeddon 150 5 Hook Minnow Solid YellowUnusual Fat Round Expert Minnow 5-hook Clark Keeling Woods Or Unknown Glass Eyes1905 Heddon 102 MinnowVintage Hardy Brothers Princess Fly ReelPre-1916 Heddon No. 20 Baby Dowagiac Minnow Frog Spot Cup Rig Glass Eyes Pre-1910 Heddon Killer Wooden Minnow 2 Belly Weights Brass Cup Unmarked PropH-i Tonka Prince 7 Ft Bamboo Fly Rod Ex+ With Original Bag & Tube!1909 Shakespeare No. 43 Submerged Heavy Casting Minnow Competitor To Heddon 1751916 Moonlight Ladybug Wiggler, Milky Glass Eyes, Shovel Nose, Classic Paw PawHeddon Dummy Double 1913 Football Rig Hardware Dowagiac Underwater MinnowAntique 1920s Winchester No. 9212 Five-hook Underwater Wooden Minnow Unique PropHeddon Tadpolly Early # 6009k In GoldfishPflueger Medalist 1492 Fly Fishing ReelHeddon 350 Musky Surfusser Huge Props/glass Eyes Toilet Seat Hdw. Green ScaleHeddon 150 5 Hook MinnowAntique Rare Pfeiffer's Glass Minnow Tube Fishing Lure Boxed With PaperworkCreek Chub 5424 Surface Dingbat In Ultra Rare Redwing Blackbird Color/new In BoxVintage "heddon" Deluxe (president) Bamboo Fly Rod #50-8 1/2'-2f-hdh Or EGranger Deluxe Bamboo Fly RodHeddon Musky Minnow #300 Six Hook..green Scale!Shakespeare Wonderod 1245 Panfish Special Fly Rod 6 1/2 Ft, Ex W/ Bag & Tube!Shakespeare Wonderod Fy920 Presidential Glass Fly Rod 7 Ft, Skeleton Reel Seat Vintage Flo-line Lou Meyer Co. Flo Line Rare Odd Fishing Reel Floline Fish ReelsF.e. Thomas Bamboo Fly RodOrvis Fullflex Fly Rod, 7' 6" Trout Action, Bag And Tube Shakespeare Whirlwind Spinner, Mi Circa 1910. Revolving Wood LureVintage Fishing Reel Perfect 1920 3.3/4 Inch All MetalVintage Johnson Princess Pink Fishing Reel - New In Box - Model 100-aBeautiful Wright & Mcgill Fiberglass Fly Rod In Tube And BagSaracione Fly Reel Shakespeare Wonderod Fy910ul Professional Glass Fly Rod 6 1/2' 5 Wt W/ Bag/tube!Very Old Metal Fishing Box Full Of Vintage Fishing Flies - Very Rare - L@@kSouth Bend 323 Bamboo Fly Rod, 8', 3/2, Bag And Tube Pflueger Medalist #1394 Fly ReelVintage Montague "vl&a Expert" German Silver 4 Screw Name Engraved ReelVintage Heddon Dowagiac 300 Green Crackleback Musky Minnow In Down Bass BoxVintage Walton Speed Lure Spinner Fishing LureVintage Orvis Impregnated 99 8 1/2' 2/1 7 Wt Bamboo Fly Rod W/ Sock, Tube C.1965Early Heddon Or Pflueger Coast Minnow Small Size 3 Belly Weights Painted GillsOriginal 290 South Bend Bamboo Fly Rod In Bag 71/2 Ft-- Two Section 2 TipsShakespeare Ca. 1911 Punkinseed Wood Minnow Huge Glass Eyes Hand Painted GillsVintage 1940's Hurd Super Caster Fishing Reel For Rod Combination Detroit RareVintage Eger Or Shakespeare Large Frog Skin Skin LureVintage Horton Bristol Blue Grass No. 3 Casting Reel Nickel Silver & Jeweled ExShakespeare Wonderod 922 Panfish Special Fly Rod 6 1/2 Ft, Ex+ W/ Bag & Tube!Shakespeare Wonderod Fy910ul Professional Glass Fly Rod 7 Ft 5 Wt W/ Bag & Tube!Early Jay Mcevers Totem Sunfish~folk Art Fish Spearing Decoy~ice Fishing LureVintage Chippewa Skipper Fishing Lure, Antique Tackle Box Bait, Musky Stergon Moonlight Pikaroon & Baby Jointed Bass-seeker 20s Glass Eyes Antique Wooden LureHeddon Fat Body 150 MinnowVintage Antique Tackle Pflueger 5 Hook Argyle Glass Eye Wood Minnow Fishing LureVintage Fenwick Feralite Ff70 7' 5/6wt 2pc Glass Fly Rod Fishing Tackle Rare!!!Heddon 175 Heavy Casting Minnow 1911 Glass Eye Painted Gills Musky Hooks Cup RigVintage Large Saltwater Wood Glass Eyes Masterlure Surf LureSet Of 59 1936-1975 Pennsylvania Resident & Non-resident Fishing License BadgesCreek Chub Special 200 Wiggler Fishing Lure Toad Van HoutonVintage Heddon Dowagiac 150 White 5 Hook Underwater Minnow Early Dlb Box Nice !Hardy "marquis" #6 Fly Fishing ReelMeek #3 Tournament Casting Reel