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The Mystery I Found Inside My Grandma’s Old Tackle Box

tackle box

My brother and I found an old tackle box belonging to my maternal grandmother and here’s what we found. Ever seen any of this stuff before?

In the annals of old fishing tackle, collectors often find things that can and will turn out to be some of the most valuable stuff of fishing legend that you can imagine.

While that’s probably not the case here, what you will see is a lifetime of fishing fun and prowess collected and then left behind by my mother’s mother that will bring a smile to your face and have you reminiscing about the ‘old days’ of fishing when you were growing up.

My grandmother passed away at the ripe old age of 93 on April 13, 1995 in her adopted hometown of Brockport, NY. I knew her as the one of the most loving women and patient fisherman I have ever met. When she put her mind to it, no fish was safe, and when the fishing was bad, she had one saying that no one in our family ever forgot:

“You’re not holding your mouth right!”

Yeah, that’s her holding up a big, Canadian northern pike back in 1966. That girl could fish!

tackle box
Craig Raleigh

I was literally four years old, but I can remember that we ate everything they caught… everything. She was a pro at deboning a pike and could skillfully take all the y-bones out of one so that even a little child was safe eating it.

But first, she had to catch it and this is what she used. Check out the pictures I took and see if you can help me identify some of it.

1. The old and the new

tackle box
Craig Raleigh

The tackle box is a model 4250 from the Plano Moulding Co Plano, Illinois. Some of what you can see in the first photo is a Rebel weeR, Big O, three different Lazy Ikes, an old Rattlin’ Spot, several odd spoons, a Rooster Tail spinner, an old soft-sided Hula Popper, two Mepps with-a-minnows including one that’s a #5, one-ounce monster, two old hook de-gorgers, an old school can opener, a really, really old school can opener, a giant Rebel PopR with meat hook trebles, a pike jaw spreader, and some old stuff I have a better picture of.

2. Such a wide range

tackle box
Craig Raleigh

Check out the River Runt and the old Bayou Boogie, Every size split shot you can think of, a choice of bobbers, spinners, spoons, and even an old file.

3. She liked small

tackle box
Craig Raleigh

All the spoons are quarter ounce or smaller. Most of them are Dardevles with a few odd ones in there as well. All kinds of Mepps and Rooster Tails and every one of them size #2 or smaller. Along with those, some odd crankbaits including a Hellbender with a plastic tail.

4. Familiar faces

tackle box
Craig Raleigh

The names are familiar like Eagle Claw, and Mister Twister, but even though the packages look decent the stickers are from a store that’s been out of business since I was a kid: Big N.  An old chain stringer from the stone age of fishing, and several packages of dry and wet flies. Notice the logo that says U.S. Tackle Corp (but made in Japan)

5. This says it all

tackle box
Craig Raleigh

Two of her old NY State fishing licenses: one from 1968-69 and one from 1972-73. You can just make out her birth date on the bottom- 11/23/02. That’s not 2002 ya’ll as you can see her age at the time was 70! Maybe the best part is that inside the ring (that I needed to hold it all down) you can see the fee for a senior in NY at the time: NONE.

6. Some interesting stuff

tackle box
Craig Raleigh

Maybe not so much the Bayou Boogie or the spoon which could be anything, but the odd plastic plug with the weedless hooks is a weird one. The clear plastic popper is almost a complete mystery. It has twist on/off threads and can be opened. She seems to have put colored material on the inside along with some old BBs for sound! Also you can just make out an unopened package of a Berkely crapping fishing rig with a date so old on it that I just can’t read it. A cork, of course, was the choice of the veteran angler to hold all your hooks.

This might not be a treasure trove for some collector, but when you stumble on a family ‘heirloom’ like this, you can call it whatever you want, and I say that it’s priceless.

Feel free to look through the pictures again and see if you can ID some of this stuff better than me. Some of it had the logo on it and others not so much.

What else do you see?

Pictures via Craig Raleigh

NEXT: 5 ANTIQUE FISHING LURES THAT MIGHT COST MORE THAN YOUR CAR

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The Mystery I Found Inside My Grandma’s Old Tackle Box