Many years ago, and I do mean many, the fishing lures that I used are now classified as "Vintage". These old lures which are sought after by collectors had their time and place in my tackle box. It was these same lures that fooled many a fish when I was young so I got to thinkin'... Will they still work?
It seems that these proven and time tested tools of the 50' and 60's have been forgotten except by those that want to display them in a showcase. Look in any angler's tackle box today and not a one will be found! Instead you will see lures made of rubber in every shape and size. Plastic lures that are detailed and decorated with the latest manufacturing techniques. All types of metal lures with spinning blades and skirts just to name a few. It seems that every time you visit the tackle store there is a new "magic" lure being introduced.
Late last year I attended an auction near Bloomsburg, Pa. and they happened to have a old tackle box with some vintage lures. The bidding was furious but I hung in there and won the war. My intention was to resell them on EBay. Then, after doing a little research, it became obvious that my emotional bidding caused me to overpay a bit. Just for the record... I ended up with about fifty dollars worth of obsolete lures for a bid of almost twice that. To save face and justify my loss it was decided to forego the resale and give these classic lures another chance to catch a fish. My thought was that it had been a long time that any fish saw these offerings and that should make them the new "magic" lure.
Being pretty special for what they are I needed a unique place to try them out. They deserved more than the mighty Schuylkill River, Marsh Creek or Nockamixon Lake. Ummm... Then it hit me. Canada! I just happened to be planning a visit across the border (see "Fishing Fever" #34) and packed them up with my gear. As luck would have it during that trip, three of us took time to trek back into the woods, via 4x4, to a hidden small lake that I figured would be the perfect and deserving spot to let these lures, once again, prove themselves.
It was early morning as I tied on a "Heddon Crazy Crawler" in hopes of some top water action. A precise cast landed the lure just in front of some lily pads and I paused to let the water settle. After about five seconds I began a slow retrieve. The Crazy Crawler is a floater and has two ear like metal flaps on its sides. These cause the lure to wobble back and forth. I moved it about ten inches and WHAM ! I set the hook hard and knew inside that something very memorable was taking place. The now hooked fish, lure and me were as one. In just the short time it took to land this nice two and a half pound bass I had flashbacks to my youth and was overcome with emotions. It was a part of "Fishing Fever" that was new to me and I will forever cherish it.
Thrilled with the immediate result of the first lure I gently retired the Crawler back to it's compartment in my tackle box. Now it was time to try a different one. I chose a "Paw Paw" Baby Jointed Pike. This lure floats but dives when retrieved. The depth is relative to the speed of retrieve. This next cast was to a more open water area to ensure I would not be getting hung up on weeds. My first few turns of the reel were deliberately fast to get the lure diving to a depth of about two feet. A solid jolt in my rod indicated that a bass could not resist the Jointed Pikes' wiggling action. Thirty seconds later I was holding up another bass of about two pounds.
Simply put, I had now proven to myself that these vintage lures, from my younger days, were still effective and fun to use. I enjoyed a few more casts with various other oldies before I closed my old tackle box with a smile. It was time to return to the present and use more modern tackle.