How many of you remember buying a pack of panfish poppers like the one in the photo? I’m a child of the 80s and even I remember buying something similar, though these poppers, submitted into the vintage tackle contest by Richard Luckett looked a bit older. Richard says they belonged to his wife’s father. I was curious as to whether a vintage version of something you can still find at Costco had any value. Dr. Todd Larson of the The Whitefish Press and “Fishing For History” blog has the verdict.

Dr. Todd says:

“You have a set of fly rod poppers that represent a seismic change in the American tackle industry. Beginning in the late 1940s and really picking up steam in 1957, imported fishing tackle from Japan began to flood the market. By the time Iowa’s Dura-Pak began selling imported tackle in the 1960s, it had completely changed the way Americans fished. Cheap (both in construction and price) tackle ruled the day, and the period 1960-1975 was lamentable as many staples of the American tackle industry, from Pflueger to Creek Chub, either went out of business or were bought out…

…Your Dura Pak popper (sold out of a United Dairy Farm store ca. 1970) is not really collectable, but it is a piece of American tackle history. I’d personally bust it open and take it out on the local farm pond and fish for some big bluegills. “

Not a money-maker, Richard, but a piece that definitely helps tell the story of what the tackle industry has become today. Now take the Doc’s advice and go catch some slabs. 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).