Today, Joe's Old Lures realizes 5,700 user sessions (visitors) per day, with more than 40,000 daily page views. The majority of visitors are from the U.S. and Canada, but range from as far away as Europe, Asia, Australia, and numerous other distant lands. The site even draws attention from various U.S. military installations around the world.
Besides his own site, Joe has developed and currently maintains numerous other websites, such as those for the Florida Antique Tackle Collectors (FATC), Carolina Antique Tackle Collectors (CATC) and even my own.
When Joe's not juggling all these websites or chasing old lures, you're likely to find him fishing for bass on his home waters of Lake Wylie or Lake Norman. He also makes annual pilgrimages to the Outer Banks of North Carolina to cast in the surf for stripers and giant redfish.
He and his wife, Liz, are nearly inseparable. Both love the hobby and everything related to it. They attend National Fishing Lures Collectors Club, FATC and CATC shows together, and their fishing vacations are always dually planned. Liz has her collecting interests, Joe has his and some they share. In all, collecting is a pretty harmonious endeavor.
It's always been important to Joe that the information on his website be freely available to anyone interested. He doesn’t require visitors to register, join, pay or do anything in order to participate. For Joe, it's a public forum for a reason.
Although the door to Joe's place is always open, there are rules that must be adhered to. At the top of the message board you'll see the following statement: "This bulletin board is provided as a public forum for announcements, messages, questions, chat or almost anything else you can think of related to antique fishing tackle. Inappropriate messages will be deleted."
For the most part, Joe's is a friendly place. Yeah, like any other hangout, there's an occasional scuffle over something petty or foolish. But Joe Yates runs a tight ship. He wants the site to be safe and friendly for anyone who visits — especially kids. You could say Joe's is a "community" of collectors.
Besides the message board, Joe's Old Lures offers plenty of additional information, such as upcoming show schedules, info on collector clubs and links to other sites related to the hobby. There's an extensive index of lures from his personal collection, plus a photo gallery of rare and desirable plugs owned by many of the site's regulars.
Users interested in posting pictures can do so by visiting the tutorial at the Frequently Asked Questions page. Although a bit tedious, it's rewarding to see your images come to life on the message board for all to see. But be forewarned — repainted or reproduction lures are not welcome here. Like most collectors of vintage fishing tackle, Joe is a purist and he wants his site to reflect that by preserving the integrity of those items considered truly collectible.
If a lure is beat down to the wood, that's okay. "Old warriors" are welcome, slick and shiny repaints are not!
So, if you have an interest in old fishing tackle or merely want to replace a lost favorite plug, Joe's place is well worth a visit. Chances are good you'll find what you're looking for. And who knows? You may meet a new friend or two while you're there.