This week in our vintage tackle contest we’ve got a spoon with no maker’s mark, yet it’s made from mother of pearl. You don’t see these natural material used much in lures these days, with exception of some very high-end trolling skirts designed to score marlin and tuna. This lure was in a tackle box Ross Henshaw bought at a used sporting goods store in Oregon. Dr. Todd Larson of The Whitefish Press and “Fishing For History” blog has more insight on the origins of this historic lure material.
Dr. Todd says:
“Mother of Pearl (known scientifically as Nacre) is the inside body material produced by certain mollusks such as clams and oysters. It is the same material that makes up the outside skin of a pearl. It has many positive properties as a fish catcher, particularly among them that it is very durable and iridescent. While native Pacific Islanders long ago learned the value of the Mother of Pearl spoon, it was in the nineteenth century that American tackle makers caught on to the idea. Most tackle makers offered their version and since the material is very difficult to work with, few marked them. So what you have likely dates from 1900-1920 and is worth $10-$20. It’s a great collectable and will still catch fish!”
Sweet find, Ross. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.