Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Celebrity Fishing Tackle

An auction on eBay got me thinking about celebrity fishing tackle and why people are willing to pay enormous amounts of cash for it. One of the former roadies for the legendary Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd has put up a lot of rock memorabilia from the band's deceased guitarist Ronnie Van Zant, who died tragically in a plane crash on 20 October 1977. One of the items that Van Zant apparently gave this roadie was a bass fishing rig (an Ambassadeur 5500C reel with 6' Eagle Claw Worm Rod) which he has now put up in an eBay auction.

It is difficult to understand the appeal of such items from a fishing history point of view. From the stand point of a rock & roll collectable, this item might have an appeal from those interested in accumulating Lynyrd Skynyrd items. But is this a fishing tackle collectable? Van Zant was not an important figure in any sense in the history of fishing, but he was a great musician and important in the history of pop culture. I will be interested to see where this auction ends. Will this be purchased by a tackle collector (its listed in that category) or by a Skynyrd fan? Or someone who is both?

Celebrity fishing tackle has taken on great interest of late. Zane Grey items at the recent Lang's auction is evidence of people willing to pay a mint for celebrity owned fishing items. The difference, of course, is that Grey was actually important in the fishing world and the author of numerous articles and books on the subject. Hollywood legend Cary Grant's tackle box was purchased a couple of decades ago and I suspect if it went to market today it would bring a feeding frenzy despite the fact Grant was a marginal figure in fishing history. And yet a reel owned by U.S. President Grover Cleveland, a man very integral to the growth of fishing in America, went for less than half of what I considered its true value a couple of years ago at auction.

A custom-built Doug Irwin guitar owned by Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia sold recently for six figures. Interestingly, when Jerry requested that extra weight be added to the guitar, according to the article in USA Today, "When Ram Rod [the roadie] was asked to add weight to the instrument, he tucked his son's fishing lures inside its open cavity, and they can still be heard sliding around." Maybe it sold to a celebrity fishing tackle collector...

What would a fishing reel owned by Britney Spears bring? Brad Pitt's tackle box? In our celebrity-driven culture I shudder to think.

I'd be interested in hearing from anyone on their thoughts on this subject.

--Dr. Todd

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Van Zant reel ended at $660.00. Whether it went to a rock-n-roll guy or a tackle collector is unknown.

No comments: