<
>

BASS Reporter's Notebook

Treasure-hunting myth or fact? Many old, rusty tackleboxes are tossed into the trash with valuable lures inside.

Believe it or not, that's still true, says Bernie Schultz, a Bassmaster Elite Series pro from Gainesville, Fla., who also happens to be an avid collector of vintage fishing tackle.

"A lot of antique tackle really does get thrown away because people don't realize it has value or historical significance," he said.

When he has time off from the Elite circuit, Schultz enjoys exhibiting pieces from his collection at various shows, such as one recent consumer event in Savannah, Ga. Like most such shows, it was part convention, part swap meet and part public education.

"We want to help preserve tackle by building awareness," said Schultz, a member of Florida Antique Tackle Collectors, which collaborated with the Carolina Antique Tackle Collectors club to put on the show. "Our efforts are to preserve it and conserve it."

Antique tackle is a business for some people and a hobby for others. For Schultz, who spends much of his time on the road traveling to, practicing for and competing in Elite Series events, collecting tackle is a hobby, and he has never had his collection valued.

"It's not about profit-making for me. Some of the stuff I collect is valuable, some of it is not as valuable — value is in the perception of the collector — it's a gray area," he said.

It's not about size, either.

"I used to have a really large collection, but I've sold off or traded off (items) to focus on certain types of lures or reels that have my interest," he said. "My focus now is lures made in my home state and small companies that are more turn-of-the-century — 100-year-old companies."

Schultz first became widely known as an expert in antique tackle a few years ago when he appeared on The Lure Collector, an ESPN2 segment. Schultz co-hosted the mini-show with ESPN Outdoors personality Jerry McKinnis.

"Each week we featured some aspect of vintage tackle," he said. "Because of the popularity of that show, I built a Web site, bernieschultzfishing.com. People can peruse the site and gain some knowledge, plus use the links to other sites on the subject."

For those who want to discover the possible value of what they find inside an old tacklebox, Schultz recommends www.joesoldlures.com – especially its message board.

For those who might wonder whether Schultz has used a piece from his collection, the answer is yes.

"I have never fished any of the rare, obscure or valuable lures in my collection, or what I deem as valuable — remember, value is a matter of perception — but I have fished with lures others might regard as vintage or valuable," he said. "They perform very well."

FULFILLING A WISH

Michael Iaconelli's fame as a Bassmaster Elite Series pro ranges far and wide among people of all ages.

Katie Shockley, a terminally ill girl from Shreveport, La. -- site of the 2009 Bassmaster Classic -- recently got her wish to talk with the Runnemede, N.J., pro, a five-time BASS winner and the 2003 Bassmaster Classic champion and 2006 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year.

Iaconelli called the 10-year-old, and as they chatted he learned Katie was also a fan of country music star Kenny Chesney, who was scheduled to perform a few days later in Shreveport.

Iaconelli phoned Chesney, who then invited the girl and her family to the concert and sent a car for her.

Mary Ann Tice, executive director of the Shreveport Regional Sports Authority, was more than impressed.

"I'm sure he didn't do that to gain any recognition," Tice said of Iaconelli. "But with his phone call and with his contacting Kenny Chesney, he sure made one little girl very, very happy."

Tice was contacted by the Louisiana State Police's Grant-A-Wish program, and she helped relay the girl's wish to meet Iaconelli through BASS.

NEW STICKS FROM A BIG STICK

2009 Bassmaster Classic champion Skeet Reese has partnered with fishing tackle manufacturer Wright & McGill Co. of Denver to produce a new series of fishing rods.

Wright & McGill officials said Skeet Reese Signature Tessera rods will be debuted in July in Orlando, Fla., at ICAST, the fishing tackle industry's annual trade show.

"The look of the rods will certainly be aggressive, reflecting my personal trademarks," said Reese, the 39-year-old Bassmaster Elite Series pro from Auburn, Calif., and winner in 2007 of the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year title. Reese also is in contention for the 2009 title, now in second place in the AOY standings.

Models will be offered for popular fishing techniques, such as drop-shotting, flipping and pitching, and throwing swimbaits, crankbaits and jerkbaits.

SKEETER EVENT SET

Bass-boat maker Skeeter, an official boat sponsor of the Bassmaster Elite Series and other BASS tournament trails, hosts a popular tournament of its own. The 2009 Skeeter Owner's Tournament is set for June 20-21 on Lake Fork in Texas.

Last year's event was one of the largest in the company's history. It attracted 1,630 anglers competing from 808 Skeeter boats.

This year, Skeeter will give away more than $150,000 in cash and prizes, including a Skeeter ZX200 powered by a Yamaha VZ200 to the overall big-bass winner. More information is available at www.skeeterboats.com.

NEXT UP FOR ELITE SERIES

After a few weeks off, Bassmaster Elite Series pros are packing for the June 3-6 SpongeTech Tennessee Triumph on Kentucky Lake out of Paris, Tenn.

The event is Wednesday-Saturday, not the usual Thursday-Sunday for an Elite competition.

Festivities for the fans include a Friday, June 5, performance by Nashville recording artist Greta Gaines after the weigh-in at Paris Landing State Park in Buchanan, Tenn.