Baits, Lures & Flies photo

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more ›

By Joe Cermele

This Pop Top Flexo Plug was entered into the vintage tackle contest by Owen Brown, who found it in a tackle box that was donated to the fishing club at the school where he teaches. I picked this one because, while I don’t own a lot of vintage lures, I happen to have one of these new in the box. I found mine at a flea market years ago. What’s cool about these Flexo Plugs is that they’re made of soft foam material. So let’s see if Owen and I are big money winners per Dr. Todd Larson of the The Whitefish Press and “Fishing For History” blog.


Dr. Todd says:

“Charles I. Burke of Traverse City, Michigan was a research chemist. In 1949 in his Detroit basement, he began to play around with a new soft plastic he had helped developed to manufacture flexible work gloves. He etched a mayfly nymph into a steel plate, poured the plastic into his crude mold, and a legend was born. At first Burke Lures, as it became known, only made fly rod flexible plastic insect lures, and they were hugely successful — he sold $100,000 worth of them in 1954. He moved the company to Traverse City, Mich. and continued expanding. In 1960, he launched the soft, flexible line of plastic (not rubber, a common mistake) lures known as Flexo Plugs. Your Pop Top #2014 Flexo Plug was one of the most popular and successful Burke lures, made for over three decades in a number of colors. They are worth $5-$10, and still catch fish. You can see a picture of Charlie Burke, as well as a Burke lure in the box, by clicking here.”

Ten bucks isn’t buying us new Ranger boats, Owen, but considering yours was free and I paid 50 cents for mine, I’ll take it! 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).