These lures represent a small sampling of some I’ve either retired after time served, or deemed too cool to cast. I don’t know many fishermen without such lures hanging in the basement, den, or garage.

The large sucker on the right was hand-made by my friend Mike Bromelow of Musky Snax. Mike turns out a limited amount of lures a year, but he insisted I hang onto this one after a photo shoot, and begged me to fish it. Mike, I have failed you. It’s been on the boat with me twice, but this lure is a rare piece of art in my eyes. It would be like trolling a Picasso painting for marlin.

The Rapala in the middle? That fooled the biggest tarpon of my life–a 200-pound Costa Rican beast. The fish’s sandpaper mouth ground the lip to a stub and ripped the wire through the back. It was brand-spanking-new before that 2-hour fight. That tarpon is the first and last fish this lure will ever catch.

The lure on the far left is a Twisted Surface Swimmer. The guys at Twisted jumped into the hand-turned wooden striper plug game a few years ago and quickly jumped right back out. Their lures have become so coveted, I’ve been offered up to $200 for that mahi-pattern beauty. But I’m not selling…Twisted produced some of the most gorgeous paint jobs I’ve ever seen on saltwater surface swimmers. Go ahead, call me crazy for not letting it go.

What’s the story behind some lures hanging on your wall?