Antiques & Collectibles: Catch your limit of old fishing equipment

Fishing lures found in boxes with Jim Kieffer at Sarah's Uniques and Jim's "Man"tiques, St. Charles
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It's that time of the year when you start to get the pontoon, runabout and fishing boat ready for the season.

Don't forget the retro folding beach chairs, picnic gear and the aluminum webbed chairs all popular in the 1950s, now very popular collectibles found at garage or estate sales, auctions or just in the basement or storage shed of your own home.

Many people have these items tucked away in their homes in surprisingly good condition, along with some that have weathered the years to become favorites. Folks are replacing the webbing, fabric or re-staining the beach chairs.

Also still popular are the sturdy metal chairs being repainted in vivid colors with matching seat covers that can be a great look on the dock or grass by the cabin or cottage. These vintage chairs can carry a price tag from $2 on up, depending on the chair and the condition. I even love the look of vintage wicker.

3 things in 1


Let's talk fishing! There are many reasons that folks fish. For the sport, for food or just for the quiet relaxation on the shore or in the boat.

I believe that Bob Frank, of Winona, can combine all three into one. As a longtime resident and a vendor at Treasures Under Sugar Loaf, Frank started collecting fishing poles, gear, lures and more "when I was quite a bit younger," he said. "I worked as a meat cutter in a local grocery store and after working … I found fishing as a way to relax and bring home some food. Surrounded by the Mississippi River and lakes, it was no problem to find a place to fish and relax. I now have a nice collection of items in my booth that I do add to at least twice a week."

Glenn Vinton, of Winona, is the owner of Backwater Custom Tackle . "I am a professional walleye fisherman and started at an early age," he said. "(I) continue to compete professionally in the FLW (Fishing League Worldwide) Walleye Tour and the Full Throttle Walleye Circuit. I do workshops, seminars teaching my skill, and I also sell new lures, blades and more."

Wayne Carrigan, owner of Root River Lures , in Chatfield, said, "I have well over 100 antique bait casting reels and several hundred old fishing lures dating back to 1910. A majority are from the '30s and '40s. My favorites are tackle boxes sold with all the contents. As I sort, I start to wonder where the box and tackle have been, what the owner was like, and what kind of experiences he had.

"I have a few reels and lures in the $50 range," Carrigan said. "I'm definitely not in it for the money, but I do know that both reels and lures can be valued into a thousand dollar range. I have found that the secret to high-end collecting is condition, and a lure with their original box brings a premium, while some collect for sentimental value as two of my favorite reels are from my Uncle Bob."

Carrigan also likes to make lures. "Through purchasing antique reels I started picking up a few old fishing lures, and the next thing I knew, I was focusing on lures and started making my own in 1997," he said.

Find vintage gear

Look anywhere that tackle has been sold for more than 40 years. I have even heard that around the old banks of your favorite fishing lakes or rivers, some lures have been found under brush.


"I find most of my old fishing lures at flea markets, auctions and garage sales," Carrigan said. "Of course (I've found them) on the various websites, but nothing like holding the items in hand. I know enough about the lures to know if it's a good deal, but stay away from high-priced items. Honestly, a $10 lure that I know a story behind would mean more to me than a $500 lure purchased at an antique fishing show."

Chris Rand Kujath, of Old River Valley Antique Mall, Stewartville, said, "We have tons of fishing gear, carrying around 1,000 fishing lures, creels, fish floats, anchor, port holes, nets and more. When it comes to fishing lures, the one that is most desirable is the old wooden lure with glass eyes. Our lures start at $3 and up. More if they have the original boxes. We have a couple of cases full of fishing lures."

Jim Kieffer, of Sarah's Uniques and Jim's "Man"tiques, St. Charles, said, "I have a lot more lures in the shop now than in the past. That includes a collection of hard-to-find old lures in the boxes at a price range $5 and up. Some are antique and some are just good old lures to fish with. I carry all sorts of fishing gear and some old and newer reels priced up to $30 — that includes some collectible names."

Related Topics: FISHING
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