Though we’ve seen plenty of topwaters, flies and spinners in our ongoing vintage tackle contest, trolling lures are few and far between. This Fishmaster, sent in by Doug Tichenor, caught my eye because though old, it has a striking resemblance to some offshore trolling lures still being produced today. Doug wrote:

__This is a Fishmaster lure from the Fishmaster Sporting Goods Co. in Wollaston, Massachusetts. It is plastic with a 36 inch monofilament leader attached to a plastic attractor. The lure fills with water and turns while being trolled. I actually caught a lake trout on it once! I acquired the lure from an uncle years ago.___ ___


As vintage tackle expert Dr. Todd Larson of The Whitefish Press and “Fishing For History” blog, explains, this a fairly rare version of the Fishmaster, simply because all pieces are intact. Dr. Todd says:

__”The Fishmaster Sporting Goods Co. of Wollaston, Massachusetts, was one of the many tackle companies to reinvent themselves because of World War II. For Fishmaster, their calling was the nascent plastics industry. Founded in the 1930s (they were listed in the 1936 Fisherman’s Handbook), they are best known for their Fishmaster lures which were constructed of a type of plastic known as “Nitron.” The Fishmaster was an updated version of a 200-year old British lure known as a phantom or devon, complete with hollow body and wings on the sides spin the lure through the water. There were at least four models and at least three sizes, and at least seven colors, and they came in an attractive two-piece cardboard box. They were sold from as early as 1946 to as late as 1954. Yours is in great condition and is complete (they are often found without the leader or keel), so it should be worth $20-$30. For a picture of some Fishmasters in boxes, click here.”



_Excellent find, Doug. Thanks for sending. Your new pliers are en route!

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).