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    

Pflueger Golden West Fly ReelEarly Hardy Perfect Fly Reel~ Stan Bogdan #1 Salmon Reel ~ Fly Fishing ~Heddon Premier #115-8' -1 3/4-f-h D H Or E. Never Fished.flyrod E Bamboo Estate!Sage Light Line Graphite Iii Fly Rod Gfl 581 Ll Wt. 5 Length 8'1" 2 7/16 Oz Ex!Creek Chub Sucker Antique Fishing Lure Wooden Glass EyesRare Wilcox Wiggler Fishing Lure Outstanding! Uncleaned! Glass Eye Articulated8' Thomas & Thomas "special Trouter" Fly Rod1917 Creek Chub Bait With Scarce Introductory BoxVintage Early Pflueger Medalist No 1494 Fly Fishing Reel Usa Montana EstateEarly Hardy Perfect Fly ReelOrvis Ultrafine 7'9" 2 Weight Unsanded Graphite Fly Rod Ex!Hardy Uniqua Trout ReelArbogast Tin Liz Sunfish Old Fishing Lure Glass EyesCreek Chub Jigger B/w In Correct 4111 Box Old Fishing Lure Glass EyesLeonard Model # 4099 Bamboo Fly Rod 8ft.Winchester Multi Wobbler Lure~ Pflueger Hawkeye Fly Fishing Reel ~ Hard Rubber And German Silver ~Hardy Perfect Fly ReelHeddon Spin Diver Rare Yellow!!!!Vintage Phillipson Paramount Bamboo Fly RodRare Vintage Hardy Perfect 3 7/8" Duplicated Mk Ii, Fly Fishing Reel,salmon ReelWinston Bamboo Fly Rod 9ft 3inch Doug Merrick 7/8 WeightVintage Hardy Bros. The Princess Fly Fishing Reel W/blue Case, Made In EnglandEarly Pflueger All In One Lure Box~ Hardy Brothers Anglers Knife #3 ~ Fly Fishing Tool ~ Alnwick England ~7059cop Flaptail Musky Copper Sheen With Correct Marked BoxHeddon No Eye Lucky 13 ~ Natural Scale, W/box, Toilet Seat Hdw, Wood Lure, ToughVintage Antique Tackle Paw Paw Ice Fishing Spearing Decoy BaitScarce, Reel Lure W/box, Springfield Novelty Co. Mo Circa 1930's, Wood LureGorgeous, Unfished Heddon Baby Vamp ~ Strawberry Spot, W/box & Cat. Wood Lure18 Old Fishing Reels: Hendryx, Pflueger, Meisselbach, Shakespeare, EtcScarce 8' 6" Hawes & Co. Tournament RodHardy St. George 3 3/8" Fly Reel-3 Screw Hub!!!Great Creek Chub Midget Dinger LureVintage Corbin Tackle Box Loaded Heddon Creek Chub Pflueger Lures Glass Eyes~ Vintage Solid German Silver Fly Fishing Reel ~ Leather Case ~ One Of A Kind ~Early Orvis Flies On Original CardSouth Bend Surf Oreno In The BoxVintage Goodwin Granger Bamboo Fly Fishing Rod 1938 Patent Very Nice No Reserve!Pflueger Medalist Fly Reel Trademark 1496 Stamped Over 1396 Very Rare 1930's Vintage Fishing Lures A Lot With No Tackle Box Heddon And More Some In BoxesEarly Mcharg Superior Bass Fly On CardVintage Heddon 740rob Punkinseed Fishing Lure W/box ... Rockbass - Wow!!!!!!!!!9' Hardy "the De Luxe Rod"Wonderful Vintage Michigan Spotted Frog Ice Fish Spearing / Bud Stewart !Stunning South Bend Musk-oreno Aluminum ')\\\\ Old Brown Kennedy Kits Tackle Box Filled With Old Lures & TackleVintage Fishing Lures Huge Tackle Box Umco 4500u Full Of Lures 150+ And TackleKennedy Vintage Tackle Box Loaded W/heddon , PfleuegerHeddon Gamefisher LureEarly Vintage Orvis Impregnated Bamboo Cane Fly Rod 9' 3-pc., 2 Tips, All OrigNew Never Used Vintage Fenwick Fs85 2 Piece 8.5' Spinning Rod Salmon Bass Trout1933 Edward Von Hofe Fishing Lure Tackle Reel Rod Catalog Spoting Goods W/ Price Rare Large Ideal BobberVintage Geen Natural Spin Bait 2" Body ExcellentJamison Nemo Old Fishing LureCreek Chub Dinger Lure "rare Color!"Vintage Abercrombie & Fitch Metal Fishing Tackle BoxRare Vintage Geen Combination Spoon Bait Excellent