This week in our vintage tackle contest we’ve got an oddity that looks kind of like some old-time torture device or wild west dentist’s tool. But fear not, it’s only a wacky fish hook submitted by Ron Binger. Ron bought it from his neighbor who didn’t have any information about it, but Dr. Todd Larson of The Whitefish Press and “Fishing For History” blog had no trouble tracing the backstory of this unique piece.


Dr. Todd says:

“When it comes to fish hooks, it would seem almost every inventive angler felt they could build a better mousetrap, so to speak. Only in this way can we can explain the thousands of patents issued over the years for different styles of fish hooks. You have one of the most ingenious. Patented in 1955 (#2,719,379) by Vincent Fritts of Dover, New Jersey, this interesting hook clamped a minnow or eel using a spring device. My friend Jeff Kieny, author of the book Patented Hooks, Harnesses and Bait Holders_, wrote ‘This neat gizmo was like a spring loaded garage door…’ He also notes that it is a very rare hook. Considering this, I would value this hook at $75-$100 and likely more, if two hook collectors butted heads at an auction. It’s a terrific example of American fishing ingenuity.”_


That’s not a bad price for an old piece of metal, Ron! Great find, though as far as fishing is concerned, I’d think that thing would make a live bait look so unnatural, you’d never get a strike. 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.