June 30, 2011
Vintage Tackle Contest: Homemade Ice Fishing Rod
By Joe Cermele
For the first time in our ongoing vintage tackle contest, I selected an item that was seemingly not mass produced, but made by an old-time angler with a knack for using what was handy to get into some fish. Mike Vlasak sent in the photo, and he wrote:
Attached is a pic of what I assume is a vintage homemade ice fishing rod/reel combo. I got it from my uncle who used to clean out basements and attics for people. I believe it is homemade because after an inspection with a magnifying glass and touch-up with some varnish/epoxy remover to clean a metal band around the handle, I found (I believe these are the letters) LB FILE COMPANY, CINCINNATI OHIO. It is a solid brass rod through a wood handle with a brass reel. I would like to know if it is indeed homemade.
Of course, nothing sways vintage tackle expert Dr. Todd Larson of The Whitefish Press and "Fishing For History" blog, though he did have to call in some big guns to get a value on this cool collectible. Dr. Todd says:
"This is a classic example of what we call "fishing folk art," and a piece of collectable ice fishing tackle to boot. I believe what you have is a fishing rod made from an old filing cabinet rod originally manufactured by the famous Globe File Co. of Cincinnati, Ohio. I asked my friend Jeff Kieny, author of the forthcoming book Vintage Folk Art Fishing Lures & Tackle and a leading expert on folk art tackle, to take a look at it. Jeff writes: "This is a curious and unusual ice fishing rod and reel combo in an especially odd configuration. Although it doesn't appear to exhibit a high degree of hand workmanship and decoration that folk art collectors lust after, your combo is unique, creative and collectible. I would value it in the $30 - $50 range." As a sidenote, there was a manufactured rod made from World War II surplus jeep radio antennas that had a loop in the middle like this called the Stubby that looked a bit like this. To view a vintage ad from Globe File Co. and information on folk art fishing tackle in general, click here."
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 email@example.com, 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).