July 2007 Issue
When it comes to lures, Ron Kotch Sr. loves taking the bait. The Canal Fulton resident owns what he estimates to be several thousand of the colorful fishing decoys, many of them antiques.
The sport has been a part of the 64-year-old's life ever since he could stand, hold a pole and go fishing with his dad. "It's so important to me, I guess it's only natural that I develop a vintage tackle collection," says Kotch, who holds records for Eastern chain pickerel and tiger muskie.
"Right now, I'm putting together a Jitterbug collection because those are the ones I used most as a kid. I'm always on the lookout for any unusual colors."
His most prized possession: a 1906 Heddon Musky Minnow, still nestled in its box. A friend purchased the lure for $16 at a flea market 20 years ago. Kotch purchased it from his pal for $10,000 six years ago.
"That's a pretty good story in itself," he says with a chuckle. "I tried to buy it for years from him, but not at that cost. Prices escalated pretty high for a while. I'm not even sure I could get my money back from it at the moment."
But like an avid sportsman happy with his big catch of the day, Kotch is not fazed.
"[This lure] may be the only one in the world in the correct box," he says. "I know of one where the lure itself sold for $16,000, but it didn't have the box."
"Actually, I think the box could be worth more than the lure."