For the love of fishing

Duane Biewer, Minot, has an extensive collection of rare and odd fishing tackle

Photos by Kim Fundingsland/MDN Main: Duane Biewer, Minot, holds a single hook Red Eye, one of hundreds of old fishing lures in his collection. Biewer has been a collector of fishing tackle for as long as he can remember.

You name it. He’s probably got it in his collection or is hoping to find one. Duane Biewer, Minot, has an extensive collection of fishing tackle that includes hundreds of hard to find, rare and odd items.

It’s not surprising for a man who has had fishing in his blood as long as he can remember. As Biewer puts it, “I’ve been fishing since I could walk. Dad and I fished for bullheads and northerns from day one and it’s been bred into me. Fishing and hunting. That’s all we did when we weren’t in the field.”

Biewer, now 67 and retired from his career with the railroad, says he has been “collecting fishing stuff since the beginning of time” and that he received several items for his collection from his father who “collected stuff for me down in Lidgerwood.”

Unique items in his fishing memorabilia collection have come from other places too, such as flea markets, antique shows and garage sales. He has a few rare items that have been given to him by people who know he is an avid collector.

“This one came out of a house in The Pas, Manitoba,” said Biewer as he held up red and white colored Red Eye that was tucked into one of many tackle boxes filled with old fishing lures.

His collection of fishing items includes virtually anything related to fishing. One of his prized tackle boxes is a real attention getter. It is a “Fisherman’s Chest” manufactured in Kansas City, Kan.

“This wooden one is the rarest I’ve seen,” said Biewer while working to open the two clasps holding the box shut. “It’s a Dickson-Clawson made out of cherry wood. It folds out. It is advertised in a 1947 Field and Stream magazine.”

His collection of old fishing reels is just as remarkable. Many of the reels from the past are in their original boxes complete with the carrying pouch, oil and maintenance tools that were often included with each purchase.

“They are not worth a whole lot without the boxes,” explained Biewer. “This one is a 2950 Direct Drive Shakespeare. I always liked them. They are from the 1950s.”

Several old Pflueger reels are in Biewer’s collection, including some of the earliest versions of today’s Pflueger Supreme. He has several old Mitchell’s and an extensive collection of early Zebco closed-face spinning reels.

“Oh boy. A lot of us kids had those model 33’s. They were a better reel than the 202’s or 404’s,” remarked Biewer.

Among his extensive collection of old fishing rods is one of his prized possession, a rod and reel used by his father.

“It was my dad’s,” said Biewer. “It was made in 1943. It’s a Pflueger reel on a steel rod, the square shape rod. Most rods are round. This one is probably four and one-half feet long.”

Old bobbers, fishing line, deepwater reels and several mounted fish taken from United States and Canadian waters are in Biewer’s unique collection too. Yet, it is the old fishing lures that are a mainstay. Included are old Daredevils, a Biewer favorite, Heddon River Runts, Creek Chubs, Red Eyes, South Bend’s Pike Oreno and Bass Oreno and many more varieties that have long disappeared from the market.

“These are Paw Paw lures,” said Biewer while displaying a frog-type lure. “I think I’ve got everyone of them. I like them so well I just don’t let them go.”

Biewer has never lost his enthusiasm for collecting, and fishing. He says having about seven tackle boxes with him in the boat, “stuff I like to fish with,” is normal. When pressed about what he considers his favorite lures to use based on his many years of fishing, Biewer said, “If I was stranded in Canada and had only a choice of two lures to live on, it would be a Mepps Giant Killer with the rubber minnow on it, or the S18 Rapala because you can catch northerns or lake trout on both of them.”

It’s not like he doesn’t have choices. He can choose from a 1935 muskie version of a Bass-Oreno, a Hildebrant, an old bucktail with a very small blade; a pre-1920 Hendrix muskie trolling plug, a giant Heddon Spook, Giant Vamp, South Bend Bee-Bop, Wiggle Devil, Ding-Bat or Moby Dick.

Looking at the myriad of lures in his collection, Biewer reminded that, “We haven’t even scratched the surface.”


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