Don't Get Bit When Buying Lures

Here's how to avoid getting stung.

Outdoor Life Online Editor

The sad truth is there are people out there that misrepresent collectibles. Always remember that if it's too good to be true, it probably isn't. This certainly isn't always the case, but let the buyer beware.

Items found at church rummage sales are usually a safe bet as are those typically found at yard sales. However, if you run into someone who says, "I have a Heddon Whiz Bang [BRACKET " no such lure "] in hot pink. I know it's worth a lot, but I need some cash now," look out. Another prime suspect is the guy who walks up to you at a tackle show (he's usually never an exhibitor) and says, "Hey I have some good stuff out in my car." Watch out. Phillip "Gabby" Talkington, a good friend and a fellow member of The National Fishing Lure Collectors Club (you can reach him at www.antiquelures.com), has allowed me to use his expertise and knowledge to keep the lure collector from getting bit.

Sniffing Out Fakes
"The part of the hobby that scares me the most is repaints and fakes," Gabby says. When the price of common lures got above $200, it was just too much for some unscrupulous people to fake paint jobs. Protect yourself, it's easy to ask for a return privilege. Any honest dealer will not be offended. On eBay honest dealers will allow you to return an item in the same condition for a full refund less shipping, unless the item was sold "as is."

Collectors need to do their homework. Get a 10X loupe to inspect the paint job on lures or if your really serious, get a black light (new paint will glow). Lures that have great paint and rusty hooks should be an automatic heads-up. Heddon marked everything. If it looks like a Heddon but is not marked as such, beware. The NFLCC is in the process of suspending any member who knowingly represents a lure that is a fake or a repaint.

The collector is a researcher, historian and a horse trader, but above all, he must be honest and above board in his dealings. A good reputation is a real asset in assembling a collection. The two lures in the photo are both Bill Norman "Middle N" types. The top lure is a real Bill Norman lure, the bottom lure is a repaint. The bottom lure was "Custom Painted" and sold as such. It was also made up for a bass tournament and not authorized by Bill Norman. The heads-up on the repaint is the paint on the lip. Years down the road this lure could be sold as a rare Bill Norman color unless you know what to look for. This "customizing" has been going on since James Heddon threw his first lure in the water.