Fishing for Treasures: Antique Tackle for Auction

Auction houses are the new cool, as hip and trendy shoppers flick through the lots and bid for buried treasures.

Quality fishing tackle like brass reels and split cane rods are particularly popular with punters.

Here’s our guide to fishing for timeless treasures.

No flies on us

antique fishing tackle flies

Collectible flies
Source: Hardy

Durham Ranger, Green Highlander, Kate, Silver Wilkinson, Thunder and Lightning, Black Doctor, Jock Scott.

Not runners at the Kempton races, but names of handmade fishing flies by legendary craftsman Ken Middlemist. Ken is the last of the breed of fly-dressers trained at Hardy Brothers’ tackle manufacturers in Alnwick, Northumberland.

Only fifty of these sets of flies were tied – a ready made collectible waiting for your bite.

Reel in a bargain

antique spinning reel

Rare reel
Source: Mullocks

Planning a visit to the sale room? Check reels for age, quality and rarity. And don’t forget – famous names command top prices: look out for Hardy Brothers, Allcocks and Mallock of Perth.

A Roller Back Coxon Ariel reel fetched a world record £6,600 when sold at renowned auctioneers Mullock Madeley in Shropshire in 2011.

This rare Hardy’s reel from 1932 is valued at between £2,400 and £2,800 for the upcoming March sale at the same auctioneers. It was engraved for its original owner which adds a personal touch to a classic piece.

Rod tips

bamboo fly fishing rods

Bamboo fly rods
Bamboo Flyrods

The bamboo used to make the best split cane rods was originally found in one river valley in Guangdong Province, China.

As the demand grew for these rods, so did the price of genuine ‘Tonkin’ Cane.

Antique rods made of this stuff can fetch upwards of $2500 at auction in the US.

Red Herrings – Don’t be lured

fake fishing lures

Alluring fakes
Source: Joe Yates

To avoid picking up a red herring – always double check the provenance of any prospective purchase.

Record prices for antique fishing tackle has lead to a rise in the numbers of unscrupulous sellers peddling their dodgy wares. Collector Joe Yates warns that collectors should know their onions before splashing the cash.

‘The key is education: knowing what things look like, what they feel like, just educating yourself of what to look for.’

Common frauds and fakes to watch out for are repainted antique lures, brass reels stamped with fake stamps and cane rods that have split and been shoddily repaired.

Going once…

Start your collection by looking online on Ebay and other internet auctioneers. While online auctions miss out on the hammer-and-gavel factor, you can bag bargains galore if you know what you’re looking at.