Folk Art Fishing Lures

Home Made Antique Fishing Lures

Hand Carved Wooden Lures

Hand Painted Fishing Lures

Hand Made Wooden Fishing Lures

Homemade Wooden Lures

I Buy Antique Fishing Lures!

 The wooden fishing lures of the early 1900s were pricey to say the least, and plug-casting was a sport for the well-to-do gentleman. Premium wooden lures often cost $1.00 or more, making a well-stocked tackle box a substantial investment. Anglers, however, are both patient and ingenius, and often decided they could build the proverbial "better mousetrap" by making their own hand carved wooden lures. Today we know these eccentric creations as folk art fishing lures, usually hand carved and hand-painted. Unique as snowflakes, these antique hand made lures are coveted by collectors today. Here are some of my favorites.

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Click on photos to enlarge

  The homemade wooden minnow to the right came from Michigan and has a line tie on each end, and a paint job that resembles the early Trory and Pardee Minnow lures. The mouse below has a braided tail made from fishing line - and metal ears. One of my favorite folk art lures is the egg-shaped creation (BELOW RIGHT) with the grooves and the early square box swivel.  I suspect his one might date to the late 1800s.

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The large rotary head (RIGHT) has been suspected to be a Hagen Impeller from Wisconsin, but others say it is a homemade antique lure. The reverse pecker-head (BELOW CENTER) looks a little like a Jim Donaly bait - but it came from Michigan. The colorful lures (BELOW RIGHT) hail from Chicago and closely resemble the Jim Dandy baits - right down to the twisted wire hook protectors.  

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Fly rod anglers also created their own brand of folk art fishing lures. The wooden bass bugs (RIGHT)  are well-made and old, and the white one may be a Walter Wilson bug, made in Shelbyville, Ind. The red lure with white hair (BELOW LEFT) has a body cased in leather. The colorful wobbler (BELOW CENTER) was built using Moonlight Bait Co. hardware. The quadruple spinner (BELOW RIGHT) is a mystery. It originated in upstate New York and has a cork body hand wrapped onto to the shaft. Its four bladed prop is painted red on one side and luminous on the other.  

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The big tarpon bait (RIGHT) was found in south Florida. The rotary head lures shown below are interesting, but quite typical of homemade wooden lures from the 20s and 30s. The trio of colorful folk art lures (BELOW CENTER) came from Chicago and the banana-shaped one is very well machined. The two wooden minnows (BELOW RIGHT) resemble a Heddon Artistic Minnow and Bucktail Surface Bait. Both have belly weights and marked Heddon props.

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The mouse and water sonic bait (RIGHT) resemble Creek Chub products, including the  Jigger. The green-gray mouse (BELOW CENTER) is a folk art lure made to copy the Shakespeare Pad-Ler. The Peckerhead bait (BELOW RIGHT) has wonderful patina and early, long-shanked Bing's treble hooks. These folk art lures likely date to the 1920s or 1930s.

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 The early handmade lure (RIGHT) includes an external belly weight, which could date this piece to the pre-1910 years. The shaft going through the lure beside it is reminiscent of a FLying Helgramite, but we likely will never know the maker. The leather-tail minnow (BELOW LEFT) came from New York and is half-decoy and half lure. Other baits (BELOW RIGHT) are made from a clothespin, and from glass lamp beads.  

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  The plump lure at top of photo has a diving lip that resembles a Creek Chub product, but the lip is fashioned from an old metal can. The belly hardware is a Neverfail hook hanger made by Pflueger. The lower lure is crudely made and painted, but the precise placement of its two belly weights makes it likely that it was built to catch fish. Folk art lures are almost always hand carved wooden baits.

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I Buy Antique Folk Art Wooden Lures!