Sunday, April 15, 2012


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The Umco Possum Belly Tackle box, as shown above, is a monster, the monster of tackle boxes if you're of my generation. Other than tackle box cabinets meant to be installed in boats, to my knowledge there is none bigger than the Umco Possum Belly.

I'm interested in one of these large Possum Belly boxes in great shape for a fair price. Likewise, I'm interested in smaller Umco boxes in green and other colors (not the bare aluminum ones).

I'm also interested in finding some great shape Old Pal tackle boxes.

I own several other Umco tackle boxes of differing sizes. The one I got from my Grandpa is my go to river/creek fishing box. It has the 2 trays that covers about 3/4th's of the inner box, leaving just enough room in a side compartment for a fishing reel of moderate size like the Mitchell 300 and any of the Ambassador series reels or Abu-Matic spincasting reels. It will even hold a medium sized saltwater levelwind reel like a Penn.

It is even possible to easily put two reels, if one of them is a fly reel, in the reel compartment, leaving the tray and under the tray area for other conventional tackle. Lures in the trays and live bait gear in the bottom, along with a couple of pair of pliers, a knife, some kind of Kit Gun (usually a S&W Model 317 Kit Gun with a 3" barrel) and a hook remover and maybe a stringer. Maybe a flask of some Jack Daniels or any number of other different whiskeys. But some the Gentleman Jack is one of my favorites and plenty good enough for me.

Products like Umco used to make are much missed by me, as are the Old Pal and Rebel tackle boxes of days of yore, along with a few other brands. There's not much variation in the tackle boxes out now, and I'm glad I've hung onto and taken care of the tackle boxes I got from grandpa as well as those I bought from the late 1960's to the 1980's.

I enjoy my Old Pal tackle boxes as well, and have a hankering to find a few more of that brand in decent condition.

I lamented before, more than once, how cool it used to be to walk into a K-Mart store or Gibson's Discount Center and buy great tackle and guns. They had good guns for decent prices and lots of great fishing tackle. Wal-Mart at one time, oh so many years ago when Sam was alive and running the show, used to have a fair amount of guns in every store and a fairly good selection of fishing items, far more than the stores feature today.

Gibson's Discount Center stores not only had the good stuff that the K-Marts in Houston had, like the standard Garcia and Penn product lines, but also had lots of Lew's fishing gear and other great rods and reels. I remember almost buying a Stoeger Luger (glad I didn't) and a Llama .22 mini-1911 clone(wish I had have bought that one!) at an East Texas Gibson's. The East Texas Gibson's stores had an amazing selection of rods, reels, lures and terminal tackle, with even some higher quality stuff than what K-mart carried.  We didn't have a Gibson's in Houston, the closest one was in Conroe, and once or twice a year we'd venture up to that store or any other of a number of other ones throughout East Texas. We'd be visiting kin all over East and Central Texas and Gibson's was always a great place to go for sporting goods.

K-Mart had their own line of fishing tackle, and I still have several K-Mart fly reels in use. I just gave Billy Ray a new-in-the-box unused  K Mart fly reel, black and white, to match up with one of his Grandpa's bamboo fly rods that needs a cool reel.

Likewise, I remember in my youth up to my mid-teens that Sears and Wards used to have some pretty decent fishing tackle departments as well. I bought lots of stuff at both locations, and the Ted Williams line at Sears was a great line of rods and reels.

Even Target stores, once upon a time, had fishing tackle in their sporting goods department. Nothing generally to get excited about, but it was nice when they did have something you could look at when the wife was shopping.


  1. I have had a few Umco's in my time. The 1000A in alum was a favorite. I currently have some pretty cool boxes, a nice old Sears Ted Williams and an aluminum no name that resembles Umco. The old fishing stuff is the best. My collection keeps growing...maybe I should taper it back some. Nah! Garage Sale season is here and I got cash to spend!

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Connectioneer!

    You're lucky if you're finding Umco or Old Pal boxes at garage sales. All I ever seem to encounter is crappy old boxes I didn't want to buy "back in the day" when they were new. I rarely find any decent musical equipment or fishing gear at the garage and estate sales I've hit over the years.

    What's your secret for finding the good stuff?