Grandpa’s Tackle Box

I have often talked about how close I was to my grandparents.  Both my Mémère and Pépère have been referenced here, often.  (Heck, they have their own hyperlinks). 

90031266_133937986664 (1)But, It’s high time that I spread the love a little bit, and share a story about my Dad’s parents. 

Today’s post will be about my Grandpa. 

Sadly, much of my memory of my grandpa is muddied by my age, and the passage of time.  You see, my grandpa was my first grandparent to pass away.  It was February 1975.  I knew as much about death as any five year old does, which, is admittedly very little.  A lot of what I “knew” about death in early 1975 came from A Christmas Carol.  To me that meant that those who care about you will come back to visit you (as Jacob Marley did to Ebenezer Scrooge).     

One thing about my grandpa, was that he was an outdoorsman.  I have memories of him telling us stories from his adventures, and I have memories of doing outdoorsy things WITH him. 

He once showed me a giant bruise on his leg (It was a GIANT multi-colored bruise  Bigger and more colorful than my five year old self had ever seen!).  He proceeded to tell us the story of how a large rock rolled down a steep hill at my Uncle Ron’s cabin, and how the rock hit his leg, giving him that nasty bruise. 

There was the time we were spending time at our “choo-choo house” (don’t ask – there will be a post about that in the not too distant future) grandpa pulled up in his car.  I remember running out to meet him.  Once I met up with him, he brought me to the back end of his car, opened the trunk, and removed a big pail  full of clams.  He and I sat and shucked  (opened) all the clams.  I don’t know if he was going to eat them or not, but he told me we were “looking for pearls” inside the clams! 

There was also the time he and I spent an afternoon together (also at the choo-choo house) shooting slingshots.  He had a factory made one (which I proudly own), and for me he had a “hand made” slinkshot (like Dennis the Menace).  We were shooting rocks at some cans set up across the dirt road from the choo-choo house. 

I remember a boating (likely fishing too) trip with my dad, my grandpa, and myself.  I recall really feeling like “one of the guys” that day. 

I found out much later in life that he (as I do now) enjoyed hunting (link) a little bit too.  (Link to part 2)

But, You already know how this story ends. 
I lost my grandfather two months before I was six years old. 
Way too early.


The pictures below are of my grandpa, my sister, and myself (with a “cameo” appearance by my Pépère)

(Left) – Grandpa, myself, and my sister in front of the fireplace at my mom & dad’s first house.  This would have been very close to the time that he told us the story of the rock.  In fact, he was siting in the couch on the left side of that photo when he told us the story.

(Center) – Grandpa and my sister.  In the right of that photo (almost in the background) is my Pépère.  This photo (despite my sister being in it (wink)) is a favorite – BOTH my grandfathers are in the same photo.  I wish I had more like this.

(Right) – Grandpa with my sister at my grandpa’s house.   Many years in the future, I would spend a lot of time helping mow that lawn, and take down the fabric awnings you see above the window (retracted).  

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Yes, there are a few fun memories, but from what I know of him since his death was that FISHING was his thing.  Grandma often told us how much he loved to fish.

Photos below, left to right…

(Left) Grandpa fishing.
(Center) My Grandma, likely dragged out fishing (looks like it was taken on the same day).
(Right) My grandpa and grandma on an ice fishing trip. 

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When I think back about my grandpa, “fishing” is one of the first things I think of.  When I am out fishing I feel a definite connection with my grandpa, and often spend a little time “visiting” with him.      

Yes, my grandpa passed away when I was a very young lad, but my grandma (his wife) on the other hand lived on for MANY years afterwards.  In fact, grandma was my last living grandparent.  She passed away thirty years later - in 2005.  Grandma and I were good buds through the years, and I often spent some quality time just hanging out with grandma.  Towards the end of her life, grandma could no longer live in her home alone, and was moved to an assisted living facility.  When that happened, my dad and his brother (Uncle Ron - who’s cabin, hill and rock caused the aforementioned nasty bruise) had to clean out her house. 

Not too much longer after her house was cleaned out and sold, grandma moved from transitional care, to full time nursing home, and eventually (at 93 and a half years old – yes, you get to add the “half” to anyone who makes it to 90…  They earn every “half year” at that point!) I lost my last living grandparent. 

Some time after grandma’s passing, I was given a gift from my dad and my uncle.  While clearing out grandma’s house, they came upon their dad's (my grandpa’s) old fishing tackle box.  They planed on passing along grandpa’s tackle box to me but not before my uncle took it with him in order to research the old lures found within. 

When I received it, I was beyond flattered. 

The tackle box is kept with our family’s tackle boxes, but as an “heirloom” item it is never taken with us when we go fishing.   In fact, it is often pushed behind all the other tackle boxes when we return. 

As they say, out of sight, out of mind. 

Today was a beautiful day outside.  I spent most of the day working on a couple of projects in the garage.  While I was working, I noticed an edge of Grandpa’s Tackle Box peeking out from behind the other Tackle Boxes.  I decided today was the day.  I wanted to document Grandpa’s Tackle Box here.



Yes, my dad and uncle found an old photo of my grandpa fishing, and hung it safely inside Grandpa’s Tackle Box.
Here is the whole photo, and a close up of my grandpa, fishing.

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One of the things I noted was how meticulous my grandpa kept his tackle. 
Almost every piece still had it’s original box.

I’ll go through the box, left to right – top tray and then bottom portion.

You can see my uncle’s research in a couple of the photos. 
He jotted down some notes and some collector values, then placed the note inside the (original) box with the lure. 


First up.  A Lou J. Eppinger K231 (number 18) 3 1/2” red and white Daredevil spoon.   

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In the compartment with the Eppinger spoon is this oddity. 

The box is in German (?) – and is labeled Bergmanspirken.  I took (and combined) photos of each side of the box.  As best as I can tell, it says “Lagligt skydd” on the cover, “För Gädda, Abborre___ös, Laxöring och Röding.” (underline is missing or unintelligible letters) one another side and “INR VARUMÄRKE” on yet another.

It is a very heavy lure.  Hard to see it in the photo, but it is triangular, and solid metal with a single barbed hook.

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Now, and little more commonly know brand…  Pflueger.





The Pflueger #3796. 

A 2 3/4 in “red head” with a propeller and spinning head.

According to my uncle’s research, this lure was in production from 1930-1952.

According to MY research, my grandpa paid $1.59 for it at Montgomery Wards.

Not only did my grandpa keep the lure and the box – he also kept the original instruction sheet!

















Next up, we have a South Bend “Bass-oreno” #973
this one is Red and White, 5/8 oz, and 3 1/2 inches.











A personal favorite, the Fred Arbogast #7504 “Hula Popper”   (I have a couple myself!

This one is yellow.  I have red and white ones, and a larger yellow one similar to this one.








This next lure is also one of my favorites from Grandpas Tackle Box.

The Heddon D350-XRY – Go Deeper River Runt – 3 1/2 inches.
Why is it a favorite?  Not really sure.  I guess I would have to say that it has a nice feel to it. 

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Who can go fishing without a Johnson’s Silver Minnow?

I know I can’t! 

The Johnson’s Silver Minnow has been a staple in MY tackle box since I was a teenager (and spending my hard earned money on fishing tackle)

This golden shiny example is slightly larger, and more gold than the Silver Minnows that currently reside in my tackle box.








Another example of a lure very similar to one I have in my tackle box..

The Helins wooden flatfish X5 – 3 inch.

This particular model (wooden X5) was manufactured through 1948.
They began changing the sizes, colors, and manufacturing materials after 1948.







One more example of the meticulous care that my grandpa had with his lures…

A “made in Finland” Rapala CD-9-G – 3 1/2 inches – in gold coloring.

This one had the box, and also had the instructions / sales brochure still in the box with the lure.






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Another Rapala

This one is the CD-11-GRF – Red – 4 3/8 inch.

Another Rapala made in Finland.










This beautiful specimen is the South Bend Midge-Oreno.

This is the 3/8 oz, 2 1/4 inch, Red and White version.

That is NOT the original box, but it sure fits nicely in there.  I can see why my grandpa put it in this box!








Now, we move to the bottom tray.  The bottom of Grandpa’s Tackle Box contains several ordinary fishing lures (none documented by my Uncle) – many boxed together. 

Floating (pun intended) around the bottom tray were several bobbers of various size, shape, and condition.  There is weights, hooks, and swivels, a spinner and hook rig, and some jigs. 

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There was another small box containing a large spoon and two spinners. 

The back of the orange and black spotted spoon was stamped “FLASH BAIT 66 MPLS, MINN”

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Another oddity (at least to me) was this spoon.  It was GIANT!  I should have measured it.

The Original Doctor Spoon – The 2 in 1 lure.

The instructions (printed on the back) explain how you can convert the spoon into two different (yet equally effective) versions by using the split rings at the head and base – interchanging which end attaches to your line and which end attaches to the hook. 

Another tidbit I found interesting was that the Original Doctor Spoon was made by the Prescott Spinner Company located not far from where I live – in Beautiful Mankato, Minnesota!

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The last lure in this tour is a “Lazy Dazy #503”

Unlike most of the top shelf lures (which were wooden) the Lazy Dazy (proudly?) boasts that it is “Made of Plastic”

I don't know if this is a knockoff of the well known “Lazy Ike” lure (which I own a couple of, and was the first lure I ever received as a young boy!), or if the Lazy Ike is a knockoff of the Lazy Dazy. 

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What fishing tackle box would be complete without a knife (or two) in it? 

Not mine, or My Grandpa’s Tackle Box!

(Top) Sheathed knife.  This one is pretty hefty and has a heavy duty blade (that is corroded and rusted).
(Middle) – Garpin Tackle Company filet knife
(Bottom) – Uh… I don’t know here… I am pretty sure this is just a plain old kitchen knife.  If it is, I am certain my grandma didn’t know it was in there, because I am pretty certain that my grandpa would have got an earful from my grandma! 

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Well, there you have it.  My Grandpa’s Tackle Box. 
For being the avid fisherman he was, he sure had a humble collection of fishing lures. 

I don’t know how true this is, since I really don’t have any recollection of it, but when I picture my grandpa out fishing, I get the feeling / vibe that he was a “hobo fisherman”… What I mean by that is that he was not a “gear guy” who had to have all the best fishing lures and equipment. He didn’t take fishing “too” seriously. 

He seemed to be a guy who only bought what he needed, and took great care of the things he had. 

He seems as if he would have been as happy fishing from the shore or on a dock as he would have been in a boat.

He seems like the kind of guy who could rig up his line (likely, on a cane pole) and just sit back smoking his pipe (as seen in the photo above) while patiently wait for the fish to bite.

He seems like he was the kind of guy who didn’t much care if the fish were biting or not – because “a bad day fishing is still better than a good day working”.

So, I’ll wrap this up with a hop, skip, and a jump up two generations.  Just a couple quick pictures of MY tackle box.

There is a short story behind this box too.  I had an almost identical box from the time I was a young lad.  Over the years, the latch broke, and I have since had a couple of tackle boxes that I have been less than pleased with.  I had explained my dissatisfaction with my tackle box and had been explaining what my old box looked like – when low and behold – about a week later, Best Bud Ed sent me some photos of a tackle box he bought me at a local second hand store!  Other than the color (my original had a green bottom), they were identical.  The “down side” to the box Best Bud Ed found was that many of the dividers were missing.  This, did not bother me, as I still have my empty and broken original!  I will simply pull the dividers out and repurpose them in this box!

I used it once in the fall, and ended up storing it away for the winter before replacing the dividers.  Until then, what you see is what you get!

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  1. It's nice that you have some special memories of your grandfather even though he passed away when you were so young.

  2. What a great tribute post! I'm sure your Grandpa would find joy in knowing something that was important to him lives on in memories and treasured heirloom status!

    I love both the simplicity and durability of this.

    Durability in the fact that there is very little plastic. The latch on Grandpa's tackle box was built to last, and the condition of the box shows heavy use... yet it held up. Unlike the plastic latch on your later generation box, that broke and rendered the rest of the box useless. Durability in materials that lasted and tackle well-loved and cared for. Your Grandpa was from a generation that did not have an easy-come-easy-go attitude and it shows in his care of his tackle.

    And simplicity. Look at the size of his collection versus yours! And, I'll bet (no disrespect to you) that he could outfish you with half the equipment. Technology is a wonderful thing, and I somtimes appreciate it in the advanced gear for my outdoor hobbies, but there is something to be said about honing a craft through simplicity and instinct.

    And, that's what I see in this post! It's too bad you didn't get opportunity to "wet a line" with your Grandpa, but it's really neat that your Dad and your uncle made you the keeper of this small, but significant, piece of family history!

  3. I love your blog and I hope to see more insightful posts soon.

  4. I love your blog and I hope to see more insightful posts soon.


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