This week’s entry into our ongoing vintage tackle contest comes from Tracey Johnston, who acquired this lure when he purchased an old tackle box full of rusty baits. Though he identified a bunch of the lures, this striped topwater left him a bit stumped. No worries, Tracey…vintage tackle expert Dr. Todd Larson of the The Whitefish Press and “Fishing For History” blog to the rescue.


Dr. Todd says:

“The Horrocks-Ibbotson Company of Utica, New York is largely forgotten today, but there was a long stretch when H-I (HICO) was the largest fishing tackle manufacturer in the world–dwarfing even Pflueger and Shakespeare. They manufactured everything from rods and reels to lures, lines of tackle they got into over the course of decades by purchasing numerous other companies and folding them into the H-I family. You have a HICO Bait dating from ca. 1950. They have a distinctive paint pattern that is impossible to mistake for any other lure. In nice condition like this one, it is worth $10-$15. To see a picture of a HICO bait in the box, click here.”

To be honest, $10 to $15 isn’t much more (and it’s less in some cases) than what you’d pay for a similar lure nowadays. If I were you, Tracey, I’d try to stick a pike or bass on that thing! Thanks for sending, and enjoy the Berkley Digital Tournament Scale 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 Berkley Digital Tournament Scale (left, $40).