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]

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]

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]

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]

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    

Early Jay Mcevers Totem Folk Art Spearing Fish Decoy Lure Ice FishingAbu Ambassadeur 5500 D Direct Drive Classic ReelVery Rare Garcia Ambassadeur Record 5000 ReelHl Leonard 50df Tournament 8’ Bamboo Fly Rod -rare FindLot Of 4 Joe Yee Lures Great Lot Of Early Tackle Items, Heddon, Mcharg, South Bend....1967 Hardy "midge" Palakona 6', 2/1, 2 Oz. Featherweight Split Bamboo Fly Rod W/Vintage Heddon 3 Hook Wood Box Minnow Fishing LureTruline Fishing Rod - Hd8Vintage Heddon 3 Hook Wood Box Minnow Fishing LureCreek Chub Plunker #3231 Rainbow Fire In Box, With Hangtag, Pocket Catalog Ex++Heddon Vamp Rare Orange Black Spot In Correct BoxAntique Vintage Chicago Rud Spring Loaded Fish Animal Hook Trap LureRare Hardy Bros Of Alnwick 3” 3/8 Contracted Perfect 1912 Check Blue/green AgateVery Rare Miller's Reversable MinnowVintage Leonard Mills Fly Reel Fly Fishing Reel 3" Diameter 3 Or 4 Weight?Vintage Wooden, 5" Glass Eyed Fishing Lure, No NameCarl Christiansen Retired Sea Run Brown Trout Fish Decoy LureOriginal Vintage Danny Pichney Rare Model Saltwater Surf Fishing Plug LureShakespeare Minnow In Correctly Marked Wood Box1916 Vintage South Bend G.e. Bing Hooks Midget Surf-oreno Lure Tuff Crackle BackOscar Peterson - Fishing Decoys - Spearing Decoy - Folk Art Lure - Ice Fishing Vintage Edward Vom Hofe Model 501 - Sz 6-0 Fishing Reel ''d 426'' ???Old Heddon Wood Box Paper - "the Why Of It"Rare Clarks Round Body Minnow1946 Wright & Mcgill No.8642 "granger Champion" 8-1/2', 3/2 Split Bamboo Fly RodFishing Lure ... Folk Art .. Unknown Maker ?? ...... Vintage ???Beautiful Hardy Hallokona "the Phantom" #5 2 Pc.6 10" Fly Rod W/sock/tube N/rVintage Texas Farmers Piggy Perch Nice ColorsSimplicity Snowblower Excellent Condition 1930's Pflueger 3 Hook Spotted Neverfail Minnow Lure - Excellent ConditionVintage Chippewa Old Fishing Lure Fisherman RepaintTackle Box, Full Of Old Fishing Lures, Wood, Heddon, Chub Creek, Jitterbugs PlusVintage Orvis Battenkill Fly Fishing Rod Brandt ZimmermanVintage Metal Big Tackle Box, Packed Full Of Old Fishing Lures, 2 Reels, Etc, NrVintage Garcia Mitchell 510 Spin Reel & Garcia Conolon 2581 Matching Rod RareBarfighter Musky Fishing Lure Magnum Size Great Condition!Hardy St. George 3 3/8 In Makers Leather CaseAntique Fishing Lure Bait Winchester 9200 Multi Wobbler With Adjustable FinsVintage Wood Don Musso Super Strike Saltwater Surf Fishing Striper Plug LureRare "florida Shinner" With Box And Papers 1928Jacobs Wood Pollywog Frog, Green/black/white, Vicksburg, Michigan, RareOrvis Full Flex Fiberglass Fly Rod 7 1/2'1939-40 Heddon #206 "lone-eagle" Jeweled Casting Reel, Scarce Original Gold Box,Excellent And Beautiful South Bend Vacuum Bait In Brilliant Red Spotted ColorOld Heddon Zara Spook 9250 Gds Mackerel Fishing Lure & Box Un Fished Bass PlugVintage Edward Vom Hofe 1919 Fishing CatalogVintage Reel Abu Garcia Cardinal 54 Never Used In Box ( 811105 )19thc Antique English William F Homer Fishing Fish Diorama Glass Display CaseScarce Late Model Heddon Rainbow 101 Minnow With 2 Piece Hardware And BoxSuperb 1960's Sewell Dunton #160 "anglers' Choice", 6', 2/2 Split Bamboo Fly Rod Bamboo Fly Rod F.e. Thomas, 7' 3", 2/2, Bag & TubeRare 1937-1939 Heddon No.115 "greenleaf" 8-1/2', 3/2 Split Bamboo Fly Trade RodVintage Wood Creek Chub Pikie Fishing Lure In Box Black/white 711!!!Stunning South Bend 5 Hook Minbuck Minnow In Rare Color Vintage 8" Heddon Musky Vamp LureWi Lure Early 1920s Biff Bait Co Double Wobbler Lure OpVintage Pre Rapala Storm Wiggle Wart #v63-lot Of 6-rare Naturistic Green CrawdadCyclone Saltwater Fishing Lure Plug """rare""" Austin Signed 2007Vintage Edward Vom Hofe 1929 Fishing Catalog