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HickoryHollow

How Did It All Start?

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I did it cause I'm cheap and because I wanted to make money.  The cheap part came in because I didn't want to spend anymore money losing $12 soft swimbaits.  And pre-2008 all the guys who were making money were hardbait painters.  A run of the mill paint job would go for $30 and a real good one on a proven bait would go upwards of $50.  It was fun while it lasted.  When I first started painting there were only a handful of good trigger men and only a couple of exceptional ones.  TU kicked out some real good painters over the last 5-6 years.  Now days your photography skills better be as good as your paint. Sort of got old paying all the profit to Paypal & eBay.  Every time I turned around there was a fee for this and a fee for that.  It sort of fee'd me right out of the game.  If someone calls or I need a few to replenish my own stash then I paint.      

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Jim explained that some of the baits in the Moser collection were never sold to the pubic. They were what he called proto types. So, he wanted to know how I came by them. Unaware was I at the time what this meant but I knew they were different or special. Now that I have made a few bait myself; I understand the personal relationship between lure maker and prototypes. These baits were passed to a trusted friend as a gift or to give the baits a try. Some may be one of a kind and difficult to name or identify. This reinforced my belief that Boots and Doc must have been friends at one time. 

 

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Once I exhausted the local leads, I once again turned to the internet and google. This time my search led me to nice folks at the National Fishing Lures Collectors Club. At first I was very skeptical of any genuine help might be gained after my experience with the ebay collector. The first things they ask you to do is lay out all the contents of the box and take a photo. This is done so they can get an idea of what is in the box. Then, you are paired with someone in your area.  I was directed to Gibby Gibson. Gibby quickly replied to me and explained that I indeed had a nice collection of TN Shad. He then shared with me some personal photos of his own collection of TN Shad baits along with some really nice Fred Young Big O's. Now this really got me thinking. Do I have any Big O's. Why would he send me photos of these lures? 

 

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( to be continued)  :)

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Edited by littleriver
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Gibby invited me to come and visit him at the NFLCC winter regional convention in Gatlinburg, TN. He said at the convention he could look at the baits and give me estimate of lures value and help me identify them. The convention was only a month away and 45 minutes from the house . The wait was brutal but I thought at last I would get some answers.

 

http://www.nflcc.org/events

 

I was venturing into unknown territory but couldn't wait. I arrived early with baits in hand. At the door, they collect a five dollar entry fee. I wasn't expecting any fees but luckily I had the cash on me. For my entry fee, I would receive my lure visit with Gibby and could look the over the many members display tables as long as i liked. It was here at the door where I met Gibby. After introductions, he led me to small roped off area  near the front of the room. This space was reserved for walkins like me. Here Gibby would set with visitors and their treasures for a one on one evaluation. Gibby started with the handmades. He pointed to some foil baits and said here you have some Real McCoys. And i see you have Top Secret and a couple of Creek Minners. There is a Hammerhead and Chugger. I was struggling to remember it all by this time. And as far as values. The best stuff I had; most of it had issues. Many of the baits had cracks around the belly where what I now know the ballast is located. Gibby explained that these baits were most likely stored in a basement( little did he know how right he was) where the climate was not controlled.  With temperature and humidity changes this was what happens. He said the best thing I could do was store these baits inside and if they were his, he would  put them under glass to prevent handling. Some of the metal flake was falling off during the evaluation. Even with that said, some of the baits were worth a hundred dollar bill but most were in the thirty dollar range. Gibby also pointed out a factory repaint and some baits that were obvious hybrids. Hybrid in that they were were handmades equipped with some factory equipment. Then there was a a whole group of handmades that Gibby could not say. He said I would probably never  know the name of these baits. It was this moment I asked about Big O, to me some of these unkowns looked like a Big O to me . He said I did not have any Big  O's but I did have a really nice collection of early TN Shad. Though a bit  disappointed, I was more than happy with the information Gibby shared about the baits and the Moser baits. Gibby also looked over the factory baits. Most of those were of little value with one exception. Doc had a little wooden Heddon pumpkinseed in his box. This little bait was worth a hundred dollar bill too. Gibby recommend I put it in my pocket. Seems, these are popular among the collectors. I followed Gibby's instruction, thanked him and spent the rest of the morning looking through the rest of the room. I was impressed by the quality of the baits in the room and the  nice folks sitting behind them. 

 

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Armed with a better idea of what I had and did not have; I focused my search on discovering the identity  the mystery baits. After hours of online searching, I landed on Joe's Old Lures. Here I found a message board where I could post pictures of the baits to fish for answers. After listing a couple of pictures, it wasn't long before I started getting bites. 

 

(to be continued) :-)

 

 

 

 

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  I really wanted to play in the NBA as a kid growing up in Indiana. Well I wasn't 7 foot tall  so I took my semi artistic talent and made a trout swimbait lure that sold on ebay for a good amount of money back in 2007.  I had lots of advice and help from Dean aka Lure Professor and some great advice from lots of guys here on TU.. Fatfingers...rowhunter etc to name a few... I think I had been making lures for maybe 2 weeks..that 2 years protype testing is kinda overrated.. either your bait works or it don't!...Some guys caught some big fish on my baits and word spread fast on the net. Next thing I know I had over 900 baits to paint for guys and I got slammed with orders on ebay.  Took me 1 year and 9 months to paint all those baits..plus a blown economy to slow it all down some 7 years later. 

 

 But the real reason I do this is for the passion of creating something for someone else.  How cool is it to know that any day of the week someone might cast one of the baits I created and catch a memory on the water with their father, son, daughter or loved one.  My bait might be the topic of the day at the camp site up in Canada.  Or maybe they are talking about what bait caught the biggest fish in a local club tournament in Alabama... Whenever, I hear the name Sparkle tail.. .I always think of my father buying me my first lure.  A guy by the name of Hubbard in Brookville,IN came up with this jointed shad rap style bait that Dad and I used most of my childhood down on Sugar Creek in Hancock County Indiana.  Boy did we catch a lot of smallmouth on this bait and have a blast doing it.  I just say the name sparkle tail and I have tons of childhood memories.  Thank you Mr. Hubbard.  That's why I make lures. I hope someday some grown up kid will thank me too!   

 

Tater 

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First person to respond to my post was Gibby Gibson. I was a little surprised and embarrassed. Gibby simply posted what a nice collection of TN shad baits I had and how nice it was to see them. What I did not know Gibby was publicly and personally authenticating the baits for the group. 

 

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Next, I received an email from Wayne Mullins. A long time collector of TN Shad baits and once head of the local chapter of NFLCC in my area. Though Wayne presented more back story to my growing knowledge of TN Shad baits, what he really did for me was define the role of collectors and the NFLCC. NFLCC collectors role is to preserve and pass down the many baits and their history for future generations. As far as I know, they are the only ones doing it. 

 

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Chugger was the name of the bait that caught the eye of collector/ lure maker Jack Compton. Jack was really interested to know if I had any interest in selling this little top water chugger. I told Jack my plan to keep the collection complete and pass down what I could learn about them to the next generation. Jack was eager to help as much as he could. He told me he had collected the baits for years and had met Boots and Jim personally. Jack shared a story about Boots the man that was less than flattering. 

 

(to be continued)

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Edited by littleriver
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It all started for me over 30 years ago when I started painting and weighting smithwick rogues. This was before they had the pro rogues which were already weighted. I was a guide on Table Rock and the table rock bass just loved the purple and chatreuse color we painted up. Well the other guides wanted some painted and then the tournament guys wanted some. It just keep growing. The internet came along and I can remember a time when we were the only custom painted lure company on the net. Now, there is like a zillion of them and now, most of the major lure companies have ther own version of the purple and chartreuse. Started making some balsa square bills for a few years and had ideas for other lures when Bass Pro Shops ask me to design some lures and paint schemes for them. I'v been doing that for the last 6 years. Its been a great ride when you get to do what you love for a living. I love all of the people here and their sharing of their get ideas and talents. Its hard to make a living  making and painting lures. If you stick with it, and put in the hours, and have a genuine love for it, you can do it. I applaud all of you!

 

Hughesy

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It happened at one of the lure conventions in Gatlinburg. Jack said Boots arrived at the show with a black eye. Boots was known to take a drink on occasion and liked a game of poker too. To Jack this was slight on the man's character but to me it only added to it. Though we would like to think our heros are perfect, it is nice to know they are human too just like everyone else. Jack was a great help and really gave me a look at Boots the person and not just the lure maker. Jack also sent me a box of his own baits. Jack had been selling his creations at the lure shows for years but had recently given it up due to health issues. The lures were great surprise for the whole family.

 

I spent the next few days thinking about Jack's baits and began to have thoughts of making my own. No talent, no skills, no experience, no tools, no money and no time (wife and three small children). What was I thinking? Despite the obstacles, one slow night at work, I cut the end of an old broom handle off and began carving. 

 

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I sent Jack the picture the next morning. A week later another packaged arrived. This time Jack sent me some homemade carving knives and box of basswood to get me started. He said, if I was going to do it, to do it right. I could never repay Jack for his gift. Jack's generosity still astounds me to this day. I probably carved fifty or more baits with the knife Jack gave me before I met Gene aka (Lincoya) here at TU. Gene was kind of enough to host me at his house and show me the ropes. Though, I could carve a bit ,there was alot i did not know. I like to say Jack gave me a knife but Gene taught me how to sharpen it . 

 

That is how it all started. Where it ends is anyones guess. I just try and take it a day at a time or one lure at a time. One thing is certain, without these old lures and great folks they led me to meet; my life would not be as full. Thank you !

 

to be continued ;-)

 

ps.

Here is a couple more links that may be of interest . One is a list of honorary members to the NFLCC. Perhaps you'll find some information on your favorite lure maker. The second is an article with a bit more information on George "Boots" Anderson. 

 

http://www.nflcc.org/services/honorary-membership

 

http://www.nflcc.org/images/honorary/george-boots-anderson.pdf

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Edited by littleriver
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@ Mark 

 

Glad you enjoyed it and  happy to share it. Sorry it took so long.........I thought I was going to lose you a time or two.  :lol:

 

@Nate

 

Yes, Gene is not only very good lure maker but a very good person to boot. He is not alone, however. Through this site, I have met and continue to meet some of the most nice generous people anywhere on the planet.  Namaste

Edited by littleriver
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Started out late last winter.  Looking for something to occupy my time.  Stumbled across probably this site.  Decided although I have no artistic ability I could probably slap some paint on a lure.  Bought an airbrush, some paint and blanks and once I figured out how to get the paint out of the airbrush started in.  Lures came out to my liking and the fish liked them.  Havnt been painting for a while, but cold weather is coming. Will start again.  Found a pony head jig mold in Who would of thought it  Arkansas the other day.  Will start making road runner type jigs this winter.  They had a 1/4 oz. and an 1/8 oz. Size.  Bought the 1/4 and should of snagged the 1/8.  12 hr drive kinda far to go back and save 20 bucks on a mold.  Anyway, thanks for all the information I have already found on this site.  Maybe will be able to add a little to it one of these days.  Been a fun ride so far. Arne.

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wow a lotta history. i started from watching my dad,in the 1950,s.after chasing girls and marriage i started.my passion soon became a job..from buyouts,travelling fom canada to bagley bait co. we did re-paints and building baits for the toothy critters up here on l.st clair..life now is slower near 70 still building and passing things on to my son and the younger folks.remember every failure becomes a learning curve to succsess.this site is an awesome curve for the future and present builders.

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