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Vintage Fishing Gear – What to Look for

You can’t help but smile when you think of childhood fishing trips. Our fathers and grandfathers collected plenty of fishing gear during their days, and we are always intrigued by the intricate lures, and beautiful reels and rods we see at estate sales in Gig Harbor, Tacoma and Olympia. If you’re looking to add to your collection, here’s what to look for in vintage fishing gear.


Fishing lures are artificial bait designed to attract, or lure, a fish. Vintage lures are fascinating, especially those with an intricate design. These are always a good item to buy because they were difficult to manufacture. Also be on the lookout for lures in their original packaging.

Popular and valuable brands include Heddon, Pflueger, or Creek Chub Bait Co. This will be noted on the bottom of the lure.

Fishing Reels

Reel are the circular piece attached to the fishing rod and are used these to reel in your fish.

Vintage reels come in a variety of materials including brass and wood and are a true piece of art. Wooden reels made by Davide Slater are made of wood that was seasoned perfectly so that they will never warp.

When looking to add to your collection try to find reels from brands like Hardy, Vom Hofe, Conroy, Meek, and Milam. These are typically the most valuable.

Fishing Rods

When it comes to fishing rods, you will want to look for rods that have been well taken care of. Because they are usually made of wood, and are often not displayed or stored properly, vintage rods will usually age quicker than other components.

The most popular type of fishing rod is made of bamboo. These were created around 1845 by Samuel Phillippi who created the first split bamboo rods. Early rods were also made of hickory and ash.

Fishing Creel

Fishing creel are the baskets fishermen use to bring home their fish. Today, large outdoor retailers sell creel that resemble a cooler, but vintage creel was made of willow or wicker with leather enclosures, as well as leather, and metal. They were made to stay submerged a river’s bank while the fishermen would fish and would keep the fish cool and fresh.

All these elements are fun to use but are also popular as décor. So, whether you’re looking for décor in your home, or to add to your collection vintage fishing gear is always popular. Check out our next estate sale, you might just find what you’re looking for.


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