April 18, 2013
Vintage Tackle Contest: Russelure Flyrod Model
By Joe Cermele
There's nothing I love more than vintage tackle that proves a point: Back in the day, a fly rod was just another tool used to catch fish. No one cared if you were only a dry fly guy or thought you weren't the real deal if you used split shots or coneheads. Case in point, this Russelure Flyrod model submitted by Bill Harp. It's basically a metal spoon designed just for the long rod. Dr. Todd Larson of The Whitefish Press and "Fishing For History" blog is most familiar with the company, as they are still in business today.
Dr. Todd says:
"The Russelure is a west coast institution. Invented by J.K. Russell in California in 1947 as a kind of metal equivalent of the Helin Flatfish, it soon became a best selling lure that was made in a huge number of sizes and colors, from the tiny fly rod size like the ones you have to the large saltwater versions (with interchangeable colored jackets) popular with surf casters. The company was sold in the 1950s to the Barth family, and then again in 2009 to the Felts. It's still available today, unchanged since it was first introduced, and still catching fish. Early Russelures brings around $10 each in the box, and a complete set of early fly rod versions in the box could bring as much as $75. To see a 1949 ad for the Russelure, click here.
Great find, Bill! Now tie that thing on an Orvis rod and go fishing the Madison with it...but if anyone gives you any flack, I didn't tell you to do it. Thanks for sending and keep an eye on your mailbox, because there's a set of Berkley Aluminum Pliers headed your way.
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 (above) worth $50.