Baits, Lures & Flies photo

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more ›

The photo below was entered into our ongoing vintage tackle contest by Mike Laven. I liked this lure because it’s mean looking (that’s a lot of hooks!), but vintage tackle expert Dr. Todd Larson of The Whitefish Press and “Fishing For History” blog liked it for a different reason: it’s incredibly old and rare. Mike wrote:

After getting let go from my automotive engineering job I had some extra time on my hands and started looking at fishing lures on eBay and Craig’s list. I submitted a “wanted” ad and I received a response quickly. This was one of the lures from a bunch I paid $60 for. The previous owner said he found it in an old wheel bearing grease container in his late father’s barn. What an awesome buy for my first lure purchase! Any idea of its worth?


So unique is this lure, Dr. Todd had to call in some back-up. He compared notes with fellow collector and writer Bill Sonnett. Here’s the scoop:

__”You have a very old and very rare lure on your hands. It is an F.C. Woods Expert Minnow, and an example of one of the earliest wooden casting plugs in fishing history. The Expert Minnow is one of the most confusing for collectors, because it was manufactured by four separate companies (Holzwarth, Woods, Clark, and Keeling). Fortunately, we have collectors like Bill Sonnett to help us sort all this out. Bill wrote a brilliant history of the F.C. Woods models, and according to him, what you have is a round-bodied “economy” model Woods Expert with the perforated propellers made in Alliance, Ohio ca. 1903-1905. In current condition the value is $300-$400. It’s one of the all-time greatest fishing lures. To view Sonnett’s history of the Woods Expert, including an ad for this minnow, click here.



_Can you say “ca-ching,” Mike? What an incredible purchase for only $60! You are now in the top three for highest appraisal value in this contest thus far. Congrats, and keep and eye out for your new pliers.

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, 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).