Although not nearly as appealing as the aforementioned ice decoys, theSouth Bend Bait Companys fish decoy is also highly prized ($1000) by tackle anddecoy collectors. South Bend Bait Company (South Bend, Indiana) introduced theirSouth Bend Ice Fishing Decoy #258 in their 1923 trade catalog. It is basically the samebody as their Muskie Casting Minnow with added glass eyes and a singleeyescrew/washer with a swivel attached to the top. This simple decoy measures 5 inchesand is often mistaken for a casting plug by inexperienced collectors. It was offered in twocolor finishes, silver with red head and green scale.
Ice fishing decoys boast one of the oldest pedigrees of contemporary collectibles. And, compared with its more widely collected cousin, the duck decoy, the fish decoy market still has room to grow, according to dealer Aarne Anton, owner of New York's American Primitive Gallery, which deals in American folk art.
Sold for $ 588 THREE ICE FISHING DECOYS. American, 1st half-20th century, softwood. Includes an 12.25"l. beaver, a 7"l. raccoon, and an 8.5"l. rat.
Ice fishing decoys are a great beginner’s wood carving project, and even more fun for the advanced wood carver. The classic decoy was created as a spear fishing lure and although some were carved by professionals, most were hand-made at home with what ever supplies were on hand.