This week in our vintage tackle contest we have a strange looking topwater with an even more bizarre name. This Gatchell’s Guest belongs to John Walker, who got the lure from a friend in Michigan. Per Dr. Todd Larson of The Whitefish Press and “Fishing For History” blog, the story behind this lure belongs in the “X Files” of tackle collecting, if you will, and is a UNID…which is kind of like a UFO in old lure speak.


Dr. Todd says:

_”The “Gatchell’s Guest” Mouse has been a mystery lure for some time, and it seems a ripe candidate to use as an example of an UNID. A UNID is an unidentified lure in the tackle collecting community. I would guess that around 10% of all fishing lures in collector’s hands are UNIDS, largely because many manufacturers did not bother to mark their goods. While a production lure stands a good chance of being identified eventually, a lure like the “Gatchell’s Guest” will only be identified if someone finds an advertisement, another example in a marked box, or the maker (or a descendant) comes forward. Until then we have only theories; here’s one. There was a prominent sporting goods merchant in Buffalo, Wyoming named Jim Gatchell (there is a nifty museum where his drug store used to stand). Could this be the namesake of the “Gatchell’s Guest?” Only time will tell. As it stands the lure is worth $20-$30. If and when a positive ID comes, it will double in value.”


Maybe you need to play detective and get on the case, John…you could discover that this mouse is the missing link to a legendary catch that’s becoming fishing lore in some corner of the country. Have fun sleuthing. Thanks for sending, and keep an eye on your mailbox, because there’s a set of Berkley Aluminum Pliers 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 pair of Berkley Aluminum Pliers (above) worth $50.