The 2018 NFLCC National Meet

tackle_gallery_1_-_stags_early_minnows.jpg

One man's junk...? The value of these early wooden minnows would shock you!

This week, the National Fishing Lure Collectors Club (NFLCC) will host its annual show in Lancaster, Pa., and because of a short break in the Bassmaster Elite Series schedule, I’m able to attend. 

Referred to as “The National,” it’s the largest show of its kind drawing collectors from around the globe.

Though the club’s name might suggest it’s purely a lure show, that’s hardly the case. Rods, reels, creels, minnow buckets, advertising, catalogs and anything else you can imagine related to fishing will be on display. And for the first time in years, the show is being held in the Northeast … which could mean an untapped bounty of fishing treasures being offered.

I can’t wait!

Club origins

The NFLCC was founded in 1976 and, to this day, it remains the hobby’s largest organization.

Its mission is “to foster an awareness of fishing tackle collecting as a hobby and to assist members in the location, identification, and trading of vintage fishing-related equipment.” However, the club’s purpose goes far beyond that. They are also charged with the task of educating the general public on the historical significance of vintage fishing tackle. And part of that involves hosting smaller regional meets to encourage recruitment. 

The club also publishes two periodicals — including the NFLCC Magazine and Gazette. Both offer insights on collecting with feature stories of vintage tackle makers and their creations. They also provide news and current events related to the hobby and classified sections.

The NFLCC has approximately 3,000 members worldwide, including some from Canada, Japan, South Africa and various parts of Europe. It’s a very diverse group, but one that shares a passion for collecting anything old as it relates to fishing. 

This year’s event is being held at the Lancaster Convention Center, next to the hosting Marriott Hotel. Doors open on Thursday (July 19) at 2 p.m. and close at 9 p.m. Friday’s hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the club auction following at 7 o’clock. Saturday runs from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The National is not for the general public, however. To gain access, you’ll need to join the NFLCC (annual dues are $35 for US citizens, $60 for Canadians, $85 for all others), and there’s a $25 registration charge. For those with the passion, it’s a small price to pay. 

As many as 1,000 patrons are expected to attend.

Rooms to go

Many of the attendees will arrive in advance of the show to participate in what’s referred to as “room trading” — where members go from room to room in the host hotel, actively buying, selling and trading. This goes on for several days prior to the opening of the actual show.