Vintage Tackle Contest: Sears & Roebuck Fish Bait Oil

The liquid attractants you bought just last week smell bad enough. Imagine the stink that would fill the room if you took the cork out of this bottle of oil from the 1930s. This unique entry was submitted into our ongoing vintage tackle contest by Brad Smith, who found the goop in an old tackle box that once belonged to his grandfather.

According to Brad, the instructions read: _Put about two drops of this oil on your bait, and if there are any fish around, they will surely bite. _ So let's see if Dr. Todd Larson of the The Whitefish Press and "Fishing For History" blog thinks any tackle collectors would bite on this item if it went up for sale. Dr. Todd says:

"The idea of liquid fish attractant is nearly 150 years old, having first been advertised in the 1870s. By the 1930s, when your fish scent was sold by Sears, the titan of mail order commerce, there were a number of competing products on the market. There were even numerous home recipes; one popular recipe ca. 1910 was 3 parts Oil of Rhodium, 2 parts Oil of Cumin, and 1 part Tincture of Musk (one drop per bait).

Your bottle of fish scent was likely manufactured by the Walling Keith Chemical Co. of Birmingham, Ala., makers of the popular Gypsy Fish Bait Oil brand. I don't know how well it worked, but it is worth $20-$30 to a miscellaneous tackle or bottle collector. To see a 1940s version of the Gypsy Fish Bait Oil, click here."

Excellent find, Brad! So if you're a frequent poster here on the blog, I have to know...have you taken a whiff? I'd be curious. Enjoy the Rapala Classic Collector Fillet Knife that's headed your way, and thanks for submitting.

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 fstackle@gmail.com, 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).