Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The American Snelled Hook, Part 4: Eppinger--A Tackle Maker and Dealer

Lou J. Eppinger is justly famous as one of the most important tackle makers in American fishing history. The inventor of the Daredevle casting spoon and a host of similar metal baits, his lures are so omnipresent in the fisherman's tackle box that it is easy to forget that for the first three decades of his career, Eppinger concurrently ran a tackle and taxidermy shop in Detroit under his own name. His early catalogs, in fact, are filled with tackle from many other manufacturers, in addition to his own wares, meaning he was a manufacturer and trade house as well.

Eppinger's was the place for Michigan sports to buy their tackle, and perhaps meet the man himself, in the 1910-1940 era. Not only was his presence everywhere in the shop, but he always hired the best staff. It was Lou Eppinger, for example, who hired a brilliant young taxidermist named Paul H. Young to come work for him, setting in motion the career of one of the greatest bamboo rod makers of all-time.

Today's snell is a nifty small hook envelope (2.25" x 3.5") that came with a dozen #12 trout hooks in it. It's a cool hook envelope and a reminder that even in the 1930s, when this envelope was sold, you could walk up to Eppinger's at 6340 Schaefer in Detroit and buy your fishing tackle.

-- Dr. Todd

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