May 19, 2011
Vintage Tackle Contest: Actual Lure's Skip Dip Spin-Ster
By Joe Cermele
Check out the photo at left, which was recently submitted into our ongoing vintage tackle contest by Timothy Owen. It might be hard to believe, but I guess you could say this is a super-early predecessor of lures with incredibly realistic finishes, such as those made by Live Target and Yo-Zuri today. I know, it doesn't look like much, so I'll let vintage tackle expert Dr. Todd Larson of The Whitefish Press and "Fishing For History" blog explain exactly what Mr. Owen found in an old tackle box he picked up at a flea market:
"What's more real than an actual minnow? How about one dipped in plastic. Preserved baits had already been around for over 50 years when on August 15, 1939, Englishman F.J. Nevison patented a method for "preserving fish, frogs, etc." in cellulose, an early plastic. Although World War II interrupted his production plans, after the war ended his dream was realized in the form of the Actual Lure Company of 392 Fifth Ave. in New York City. From the late 1940s until the late 1950s, Actual Lures became fairly popular with American anglers. Minnows, frogs, and insects were preserved in plastic and then rigged into fishing lures. Note that time has yellowed the plastic on this lure, but when brand-new, the plastic was clear and the minnow visible. Your lure is the "Skip Dip Spin-Ster" model with molded fins to make it spin in the water, and is worth $10-$25 in its original tube. For a picture of the patent, a 1952 ad, and pictures of additional lure models, click here."
That's a pretty cool, find Timothy. I'm not sure I can say it would still catch you fish, but if you ever run out of bait, you can use your new Berkley pliers to crack that puppy open and get the minnow out. Congrats, and thanks again for sending the photo!
If you've already sent me photos of your vintage tackle, keep checking every Thursday to see if I chose it for an appraisal by Dr. Todd. If you haven't and want to enter the contest, email photos of your old tackle to firstname.lastname@example.org, along with your name, mailing address, and story of how you acquired the gear. If I use it in a Thursday post, you get a pair of Berkley Aluminum Pliers ($50).