Baits, Lures & Flies photo

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Here’s a strange little entry into our ongoing vintage tackle contest. The lure below belongs to Macon McCoy, and there are two things that make it unique. First, it’s supposed to mimic a bird that’s fallen out of a nest. Second, there is a whistle built right into the lure, which I assume you’re supposed to blow before casting to mimic a screeching baby bird. Question is, do we have a serious lure here, or a pure novelty item? Let’s see what Dr. Todd Larson of the The Whitefish Press and “Fishing For History” blog has to say about it.


Dr. Todd says:

“Finding a bait in the box is a wonderful help in identifying a lure, but it doesn’t always tell the whole story. Your lure is definitely an Old Dominion Lure Co. Sneaky Bird, made and sold in the 1970s up until 1980 or so in Crewe, Virginia. The interesting thing about Old Dominion lures is they were designed by a man named Doc Shelton, more famous for his “Ford Fender” cowbell rigs and spinners that originated in the early 1930s. Alas, these lures were not a great success (just by looking at it you might guess that) and the company went under, leaving thousands of unsold stock which has filtered onto the market and sells for $10 each or so. The company also sold a Mr. Whiskers topwater bait, which was another bird imitation I believe. They are interesting and fun lures but with so much “new” old stock it will be some time before they are collectible.”

Macon, you still get an A for weirdness with this lure. Perhaps it’s not collectible yet, but a lure with a built-in whistle is a new one on me. If you ever fish the Sneaky Bird, I’d love to know your results. Thanks for sending, and enjoy the Rapala Classic Collector Fillet Knife that’s 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, 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 Rapala Classic Collector Fillet Knife (below, $70).