Most of us hit the tackle boxes at flea markets, yard sales, and estate auctions with the same thought in mind - we want to find that cache of vintage baits that hopefully are still boxed, unfished, and that have never shared a compartment with a plastic worm! Sometimes that happens, but most often the lures we find appear to have caught tons of toothy fish, are in common colors, or have been reconfigured by previous owners.
You know the rest of that story. That’s when as true collectors we continue the search by dredging through the bottom of boxes hoping to locate some other interesting tackle item, such as this nifty bottle of Gypsy Fish-Bait Oil. It was manufactured by Walling Keith Chemicals Inc., of North Birmingham, Alabama, and described by them as “an aromatic fish lure.” It came in a cardboard tube with metal screw-on cap, instructional insert and order form, and flier showing additional Walling Keith fishing products.
Information on the bottle label and the paper insert/order form indicates the product derived the name from the origin as a “age old formula used successfully for centuries” by Gypsy fisherman on the Danube River. The bottle and insert certainly make interesting reading, as many of the old tackle ads and testimonials did.
The Walling Keith Company also offered a book 99 Secrets of Catching Catfish, and a lure called the Bogo Bop Bass Bug. Every field find obviously can’t include an early Evolution or Underwater Expert, but it is still fun to uncover some item like Gypsy Fish-Bait Oil that an earlier fisherman placed his trust in.
Thanks Steve! Awesome piece of history here. Anyone who wants to submit a similar piece, please feel free to do so!
-- Dr. Todd