Almost 30 years ago, West Harrison, Ind., resident Rich Dickman,
a longtime fisherman, was competing in a local tournament.
''I noticed a few folks fishing with old lures, and it reminded
me of my grandpa's gear,'' said Dickman, 52, a retired Procter
& Gamble employee. ''I discovered there was a national club of
people who collected old lures, rods, reels and other equipment so
I went to one of the chapter meetings up in Kent, Ohio.''
Dickman was hooked. He returned home to the West Side of
Cincinnati, sold his Ranger bass boat and started to build a log
home in Indiana on 10 acres of land near the Ohio border.
There is a good-sized pond stocked with largemouth bass and
''I'm strictly a catch-and-release man when I fish that pond,''
he said. ''I even file the barbs off my hooks so I won't injure
But the real catches in Dickman's life - aside from his wife,
Carol, who shares his enthusiasm for collecting - are the lures,
rods and reels that fill boxes in the cabin's basement and a shed
near the pond's dock.
''I've got so many reels,'' Dickman said. ''There are some
marked G.F. Spicker that aren't very expensive but they were
imported from Germany by Mr. Spicker who had a business on Main
Street from 1868-75.''
He has reels dating back to the 1810s and '20s.
''A watchmaker in Paris, Ky., actually developed one of the
earliest spinning reels,'' Dickman said.
Dickman goes to shows and trades lures with other collectors.
He has a large lure called a Zane Grey Teaser, which is used to
''He was a noted fisherman as well as an author,'' said Dickman,
who didn't know the value of the teaser, but added, ''I have seen
some lures at shows go for as much as $40,000.''
Dickman's must unusual lure is a ''Myopic Minnow,'' one that is
hand-carved and resembles the Don Knotts character in the movie
''Incredible Mr. Limpett.'' The lure was made by an optician and
actually has glasses.
His favorite lure is a surface lure called a Tiny Torpedo. His
rod is a custom-made one by Gary Armstrong and is sensitive to the
''If a fish passes gas, I'll feel it,'' said Dickman with a
He has an unusual collection of Heddon Reels, which were made
in Dowagiac, Mich., from 1913-40 before another firm bought out
the company but retained the name.
Asked if he had any idea how many rods, reels and lures he has
in his basement and shed, Dickman said, ''I don't know but it's
wall-to-wall fishing equipment.''