FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – Fishing lure collectors from around the world are showing off their fishing gear at the Grand Wayne Center throughout the weekend.
The Grand Wayne is playing host to the National Fishing Lure Collector Club convention, comprised internationally of more than 3,000 fishing gear enthusiasts. In the Summit City, approximately 1,000 members and their families are at the convention center swapping stories of lure manufacturers no longer in business while also trading antique pieces. Other fishing equipment is also on display like reels and rods.
One of the co-hosts, Bob King, of Ossian, says he and other hosts submitted their bid to host the convention two years ago and have been planning the weekend’s show for about 18 months. King says that to an average person, lures might look like any other piece of fishing equipment, but to collectors, they are works of art and pieces of history. He says much of that history originates from the Fort Wayne area. Some of that history will be on display, Friday, at the Three Rivers Festival.
“We have a display out there of Fort Wayne made fishing equipment from the last century, and you can see some of the things that were made in Fort Wayne. And the history behind it, the craftsmanship. It’s things that are pretty much lost at this time but it was a true art.”
John Birchfield, of Cincinnati, Ohio, began collecting lures in 1993. He says he loves collecting lures and teaching kids about the fun of fishing. Birchfield says the conventions contain museum-like collections.
“All the lures. I love lures. There's no place you can go, probably in the world, and see this many. I’ve been to six or seven of them. Always see something new.”
Christine Bush, who made the trip from Jay, New York, says there is a history that comes with each lure. She says her husband is the big collector, searching for New York metals from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
“If you look at some of the old metal work, it’s like works of art, so like little jewels. It's hard to believe people fish with these things and didn't care if they got lost or whatever and there's a lot of history, lot of stories.”
Visit Fort Wayne says $700,000 in new money will be spent in the Summit City over the course of the convention ending Saturday. That is money that otherwise would not have made it to Fort Wayne. They say 1,100 hotel rooms are booked by members of the NFLCC and their families.
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