Sunday, July 15, 2007

NFLCC Nationals 2007 Show Report, Part II

NFLCC Nationals was all it was advertised and more. Over the next four days I will be posting pictures of the people, displays, and tackle I ran across in my three days in Louisville.

National Show Report, Part II:
Great Tackle Seen at the Show

NFLCC Nationals, Louisville, Kentucky (July 11-14, 2007)

Although the displays get much of the attention at the NFLCC National shows—and justly so—there is so much amazing fishing tackle displayed on people’s tables that aren’t part of the show competition that I think they sometimes get overlooked or forgotten. Today I will concentrate on some of the neat pieces seen around the show floor, some of it for display and some of it that was for sale.

I was speaking with a couple of Heddon collectors who agreed that if you were a novice collector looking to build a collection over the long run, this would be the time to get into underwater minnows. I have not seen the prices of Heddon 150s, for example, this low in over a decade or more. I think it may be because people perceive these as being out of their price range, but trust me, with some diligence you could easily build a nice collection of Heddon 150s at reasonable prices in two or three years time. There were some amazing Heddons for sale, such as the collection of pristine Heddons owned by Garry Johnson.

An incredible array of Heddon Vamps from Garry Johnson’s collection

While some collectors concentrate on one company, or even one color from a company, others like to collect by region. Terry McBurney and Jack Bright brought a really excellent collection of made in Michigan lures to be displayed at their table.

A great “Made in Michigan” display of rare lures

Of course, company collectors were everywhere at the show—Bagley, South Bend, Arbogast, Heddon, Creek Chub, Pflueger, etc. collectors were legion. Many of them brought displays to show off their collection. This had both an up and a downside. The upside is that these collectors allowed us to see some incredible fishing tackle, many of it so rare we won’t ever be able to see it anywhere else. The downside is that because there were so many displays such as this, it made walking the floor almost impossible. I would get sidetracked staring at someone’s display and 20 minutes later, someone would poke me in the side and say “hey buddy, you’re drooling all over my table.” Despite my best efforts I did not actually make it to every table at the nationals. I blame all of these displays for this. Here are two incredible displays, the first of early Pflueger metal (in two photos) and the second an excellent display of John B. McHarg metal lures so you have an idea of what I’m talking about.

Top of the Pflueger Spinner Display—yes, that is indeed a Flying Helgramite in the middle, along with a May Bug Spinner, Pflueger Admiral, etc.

Bottom of the display containing Fancy Pflueger blades.

A tremendous collection of McHarg shield baits, ball baits, American spinners, and others

One of the real pleasures of walking the floor is seeing collections of tackle you don’t collect. I had the privilege of looking at a tremendous casting weight display, for example, and a nifty collection of folk art baits from the table of Jeff Kieny. Here are two examples, the first a really clean display of reel oilers and the second a nice display of vintage fish hooks from Rob Lucal.

Nifty display of reel oil bottles

Tremendous display of early spring snap hooks

Another real joy of the show is having friends come up to you and show off their most recent additions to their collections. Chris Labuz was kind enough to show me his new H&I poster, for example, and Andy Foster his unbelievably rare Redifor paper. Don “The Lure Guru” Ludy simply floored me by showing me the rarest piece I saw at the show—a Ben Howe Reciprocating Reel catalog. Here are two neat pieces I just had to show. The first is a great Shapleigh Fluted Spinner box that Gary Smith added to his collection.

This Shapleigh box is much smaller than any of the other Diamond Fluted boxes I have seen

The second was a really bizarre home-made level wind mechanism attached to a reel Jerry Shemechko purchased. These “after bar” add-ons, as I call them, make for some of the most entertaining pieces in any collection!

The long wire is depressed to keep the line from resting on the level wind bar

The final photo for today came from the center of the show floor, and simply could not be missed even if you tried. Miss Abu was quite popular at the show.

Miss Abu showing off her big pike

Coming Monday: The Incredible Displays
Coming Tuesday: How to Add to your Collection on Less than $50 a Day

-- Dr. Todd

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