It started with memories of my Grandfather Ivol Howard driving me from the loading dock at his small town grocery store, to the "worm man" outside of town. We picked through flats of night crawlers, loaded the choicest ones in a Folgers coffee can, jumped back in the '65 Ranchero and headed for the farm pond. It was summer in Kansas, the air smelled like hay and the cicadas were croaking in the trees. I don't remember catching tons of fish, but I do remember my Grandfather's warm smile as he struggled to release the tree bass I had caught.
Every day I would beg to go to the pond and Grampa would give in half of the time. We would open barbed wire gates, drive across pastures and honk at cows in our path. We would fish until dusk, or when the mosquitoes began to devour us, then head home for fried chicken (Grandma knowing we weren't bringing any fish).
These were my early magical memories that have spawned a lifetime love for fishing. Oh, to now have my Grandpa's tackle box would be such a boon. Alas, it went missing with the death of my Uncle John. I do vaguely remember its contents, (or I mentally invent what should have been in it), wooden lures and plugs of distinction and envy.
I have been a minor lure collector since the 80's. I never had the resources to really get anything rare or valuable, so I console myself with looking in collector's books and dreaming. I find the old lures so intriguing. My interest in antique lures and my hobby of fly tying crossed paths one day. I was thinking about the fact that even if I owned a "Kent Frog" or an "Expert Minnow," (which unfortunately I do not), I would never have the joy of plunking it in the lake. They just don't make our Grandfathers lures any more. So I decided to try to carve my own lures from wood.
I quickly found that my new hobby, unlike fly tying, would offer no instant gratification. I struggled to locate hardware and components that would satisfy my aim at old time quality. I realized that I would have to invent, scrounge or fabricate some of what I needed. By trial and error I plodded forward. I have come a long way in a short period of time. Partially due to my persistence, and partially due to the help and inspiration of some other lure carvers I have had the good fortune to become acquainted with.(a special thanks to all of you!!) There are not a whole lot of us, considering the amount of fishermen (and women) out there. I have found immense enjoyment in carving lures. As a hobby it combines my love for fishing, my interest in all things old, and provides an outlet for my creative and artistic abilities. Plus, you get to play with your artwork when you are finished.
My hope is that I will continue to improve, and that others will approve.
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