Honest Appraisals on Fishing Tackle
Looking for MN Tackle and Company History
Retired Lures
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Lure of the Month
August 2021
Each month, I feature fishing tackle on my website that I find interesting.  If you have a lure that you would like to see featured or have any comments on the lures I have already featured, please let me know.  I would like to hear from you!
Live bait has always been an effective way to catch fish. Today, when you mention live bait, people thing of minnows, worms, and leeches. One live bait that was widely used, but not so much anymore, was frogs.

Casting and trolling with frogs could be difficult. They tend to fall off the line or a fish can bite and not get hooked. Around the turn of the century (late 1800s), a man in Wisconsin had the answer. He devised a harness that held the frog in place, and added hooks in the head, legs, and near the arms (body). If you were a frog, it appears to be a torture device! A patent for this harness was granted in October of 1904 to W. R. Ketchum (yes, that appears to be his real name).

Ketchum used his name cleverly in slogans for his frog harness. He boasted he made “the latest and best bait-casting device on the market” and it “never fails to Ketchum”. And, he had a catchy slogan that stated “A fisherman may fish and a fisherman may lie. What a fisherman can’t Ketch a fisherman may buy. No need to lie or buy if you use a Ketchum’s Patent Frame Gang”. 

Each bait harness was made by hand and sold in a box that had a picture on how to rig up your frog. Also, each box had his long slogan (mentioned earlier) printed on the side. While this is not the first and definitely not the last live bait holder for the frog, it is probably the most collectible due to its unique design and box.

This happens to be one of the first baits that I ever collected. My father, brothers, and I used to catch frogs in the late 1960s and early 1970s and sell them by the pound to a local dealer, presumably to be used for bait. We caught hundreds and hundreds of frogs by hand, although I never seemed to catch as many as my brother Bruce. Anyway, when I saw this bait at an auction in the early 1980s, I had to have it. Lucky for me, no one was interested in it even though it was 80 years old at the time, so I was able to add it to my collection. It now has lots of company as it is displayed in my “frog harness” case.

Ketchum’s Frog Casting Frame Gang
W. R. Ketchum
Portage, WI

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Welcome to my Retired Lures Website!

This site features antique and vintage fishing lures as well as some other bits of information.

If you have information you wish to share, especially on the history of MN tackle companies, please contact me. 
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