We’ve seen a few other flatfish lures in our ongoing vintage tackle contest, but this one caught my attention because it was specifically designed to be fished on a fly rod. Owner John Ball says this is one of many vintage tackle items left to him by his great uncle. So is this shrunken version of the popular muskie and trout bait worth more than its big brothers? Dr. Todd Larson of the The Whitefish Press and “Fishing For History” blog has the answer.


Dr. Todd says:

“Charlie Helin, developer of the Flatfish and proprietor of the tackle company bearing his name for many decades, was a truly iconic figure and a world-class self-promoter. He invented the legendary flatfish in 1933, and it soon became one of the best selling lures in fishing history. Originally made in one size only, it was eventually offered in everything from the muskie size down to the fly rod F6 size you own. The color of your bait is one of the most popular, Orange. The combo you own is an early one, dating to the 1940s, and despite the fact millions were made in every size, yours should be worth $15-$25 as it is in excellent condition. A neat color chart showing the 37 colors you could get this lure in can be found on the Helin Tackle Collector web site by clicking here.”

Too bad $25 only buys you like 3 nymphs or dry flies these days. Just kidding, John. Killer find! 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).