Some say that fishing gear from the days of old has a sort of romance to it—perhaps a
reminder of simpler times or a memory of a childhood excursion. With that emotion, and a bit of
nostalgic thinking, a collector will find an entire world of fishing gear available.
The earliest evidence of fishing gear dates back China in 4th century B.C. During that time,
anglers fished with bamboo rods, silk line, and needle hooks.
The first modern fishing gear appeared during the 1700s and 1800s when rods, reels, lures,
baits, creels, bobbers, and tackle boxes became available commercially. It was from this time
period to the '40s that fishing equipment experienced its golden age. Equipment made during this
time period continues to increase in value.
Early fishing creels were made of leather as well as wicker and willow. Bonham’s
auctioned a rare 19th century example for nearly $13,000 in 2008, a record-setting amount
The Phantom Minnow is considered the earliest version of the false minnow. It was
produced in the late 1800s and was one of the first baits to have both a barbed and treble hook
A fishing decoy made in the '30s by Ray Albert Thompson of Park Falls, Minnesota sold for
a record $15,000 at a 2008 Guyette and Schmidt, Inc. auction