Vintage Tackle Contest: Spence Water Scout

By Joe Cermele

The lure below belongs to Matt McHenry, and it didn't come from his grandpa or a yard sale. Matt writes: I found this in the rocks of a local lake the other day. Coincidentally it was after I'd lost a shakey head in the same spot. First, kudos on a great on-the-water find (those are always fun), and second, according to Dr. Todd Larson of The Whitefish Press and "Fishing For History" blog, you found a lure with an interesting history that incorporates everything from the start of the Strike King lure company, to Mr. Bill Dance himself.

Dr. Todd says:

"The Clark Water Scout is an old Missouri lure that first appeared in the late 1920s as a hand-carved bass bait, and that received a patent for its unique mouth piece keel in 1934. It went through a number of improvement up until 1966, when it was purchased by Charles Spence, who renamed it the Spence Water Scout and launched Strike King Lure Company to manufacture it. It became a huge hit with tournament anglers, and its success was assured. What you found is a version of this lure called a "Bill Dance Spence Scout" which was used often on Bill Dance's fishing show. It was originally made of wood in the 1980s, which is what I believe you have, but is now made of plastic (and many people complain about this change having effected the action of the lure). They are worth $10-$15 but are certain to go up in value in the future as people start collecting lures from this time period. "

Hey, $10 to $15 will at least by you a few packs of shakey heads, Matt. Good find! Thanks for sending, and keep an eye on your mailbox, because there's a set of Berkley Aluminum Pliers headed your way.

If you've already sent me photos of your vintage tackle, keep checking every Thursday to see if I chose it for an appraisal by Dr. Todd. If you haven't and want to enter the contest, email photos of your old tackle to fstackle@gmail.com, along with your name, mailing address, and story of how you acquired the gear. If I use it in a Thursday post, you get a pair of Berkley Aluminum Pliers (above) worth $50.

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