September 2017
“Gun Cleaning Box” Lures
Carl Heinzerling
Garrett, IN
While I have never been a member of the National Fishing Lure Collectors Club, I have gone to some shows that they sponsor and have even had displays and lures for sale at them.

A number of years back I went to a show in Milwaukee, WI and was on the search for any baits that I could add to my collection. To be honest, I wasn’t having much luck this time, but still found it interesting to see what people had for sale and the prices they wanted for fishing tackle.

After making a few rounds, I gravitated towards a table where they had a silent auction going for several lures. One item for sale was said to be two folk art lures found in a gun cleaning box that belonged to Carl Heinzerling.

Now, if you are a lure collector and that name doesn’t ring a bell…you need to study a little bit more about fishing lures. Carl was one of three people that started the Creek Chub Bait Company located in Garrett, IN in 1916 and it grew into one of if not the biggest fishing lure manufacturers in the world. Many of their baits are higher sought after by collectors today.

These items did not resemble any baits that CCBC manufactured, but I know Carl was experimenting with new baits all the time. Could they really be baits that he made? I know years earlier some homemade baits were sold found in his tackle box that were prototypes to many popular lures, but these didn’t match any CCBC baits. Well, I do like folk art baits and then looked “pretty cool”, so I put in a silent bid. As I walked away, I thought to myself I would never win as my bid was quite low.

Some time passed and I decided it was about time to leave the show. It was then announced that the silent auction winners would be announced soon, but that didn’t slow me down for I only placed one bid on the one item…and I would never win with my low bid….

“And the winner of the Carl Heinzerling lures found in his gun cleaning box at his estate sale, Mark Fuhrman!”

What? It must have been a joke. But it wasn’t, so I walked up…paid for my lures…and got them. As I paid, a collector by me said “Wow, I thought they would go higher than that”.

I walked back into the showroom to look at my lures, and two collectors approached me. “Oh, you won them…huh? How much did you bid?”

“Not much” was all I said.

“Really, man I should have bid.”

The second collector then said “I was going to bid, but I just thought they would go quite high”.

Then, one more collector walked up, asking what I bid.

I never did give a dollar amount. I am not sure why. It was time to go, so I left after a short conversation.

Now, are these really lures that Carl made? I don’t know. Are they higher valuable? I doubt it. But, I still like them and I can always dream.