of the late Leo Talaska
Custom Hand Made from Cedar Wood
All LT Lures of Heddon design (in Eric's possession) have been donated to
414 West Street, Dowagiac, Michigan in mid 2015
It all started when Leo's son Eric whittled a shark shaped lure out of a piece of wood in 1987. Eric said "look, I can easily make a lure out of wood". Leo took it and finished it. Leo's wife Erika painted most of the gill lines, eyes and some other fine details on the lures. She also made the boxes. Leo and Erika attended trade shows to sell their lures.
It is estimated that Leo made about 750 hand made wooden lures of many different varieties. Materials used included squirrel tails, jewelry parts, bottle caps, etc. Some were original and some were copies of antique lures. They were all hand crafted from cedar wood. Leo stopped making lures around 2005.
Individual Lures for Museums
Created by Leo's son Eric originally around 2005, then redone in late 2014.
A large effort was made to gather and preserve Leo's very best lures before they were possibly sold.
The flies in the upper left were hand made/tied in extraordinary-unusual detail by Leo's father, Dr. Frank Talaska.
Five collectible lures in the upper left are not made by Leo and will be removed prior to donation to a museum.
Leo with his wife Erika. Erika made the boxes and painted fine details.
Jumbo Show Lures - Each about 12" long
Leo's favorite lure with 3-hooks and crackle-paint: Heddon Black Sucker, LT Serial Number 1
Eric mistakenly gave his brother the giant show frog & pumpkin seed shown here.
Donation of the pumpkin seed to the Heddon Museum encouraged as that is surely what Leo would want.
in e-commerce; they can go high with many bids
first I want to say thanks for getting in touch with me. Second, how much I have come to know and care about your dad. A month ago I had never heard of him. Then as I was on E-Bay just surfing around looking for the unusual I came across an AD for a Leo Talaska Frog. I thought to myself, hey this is really cool. What a great job of making this frog! I looked closer and I saw a tag inside the package that said ASHDOWN, AR. Holy smokes...really? Ashdown? Sure enough what I read was true. Well It happens to be a coencidense is that one of my most beloved friend's and fishing partner was born and raised in Ashdown. His name is Al Dumas. He is about 63 or 64years of age now. Well he has a birthday coming up in a week or two and I wanted to purchase this frog for him and I did. I have'nt recieved it yet but it iso n the way. I won the bid from a guy in Florida. The way he talked he has quite a few but was only going to sell that last one. That purchase led me on a quest to learn more about Leo.
At first I was to learn that he was semingly just an ordinary man who raised a family and loved the outdoors and shared that pasion with his children. But he wasnt ordinary at all. Leo was full of life and had a spirit that was kind and innocent. A Man who had a passion for creating. A man who knew the value of quality. A job well done. He was good with his hands and saw the value of creating something from nothing. He also must have been a very patient man. To do what he did had to have been very tedious. He also painted pictures I've learned. I know this...to have the patience to create what he did he must of had peace in his heart. A calmness in his spirit. Who can't love a human being such as your dad. That is a rare quality to find in anyone these days! Truely!
My dad did the same with me. He took me fishing all the time. I have been hooked since I was a sprout. He took me to Texas City Dike, Roll-Over Pass, The Jetties, The Galveston Piers. He also took me to Chain-O-Lakes and then my favorite were a set of ponds that were man made for the purpose of storing water to put out any potential fires at a chemical plant called Texas Butadiene & Co. which is now ARCO in Channelview, Tx. There were 4 large ponds that the company kept stocked for the use of its employee's. A really beautiful place. I would go there as a kid and my dad would drop me off while he went to work and I fished there all day. My dad had a few lures in his tackle box. My favorite is what I now know as a Nichol's plug in frog pattern. I would tie it on my line and throw it out there and one day I saw a Big Bass swim up behind it and took a huge leap forward to take the lure. I paniced. I tried to bring him in but as soon as it started it was over and I thought I had lost my favorite lure. That moment was turning point for me becuase from that day I never tied that lure back on. I kept it and to this day I still have it along with one more from his box. That started me collecting lures in the late sixties. I have been doing so off and on again through out my life. More off than on I think but never lost the passion for it. Today I am more than a collector. I consider myself a preserver of the past. A caretaker who's motive is not for profit of financial gain. My greatest gift is the ability to recognize and appreciate a beautiful thing. I possess numerous antiques handed down to me from my parents. I guess another thing too is that I like the idea of searching for something that is not what the mainstream is looking for. I found something in your dad and his creations, fell in love with it. So to have it or some of it is to be apart of something truley great. Money cannot replace that. Not for any price!
When I was young my parents dragged me to every antique house within a 250 mile radious of Baytown. I remember getting antique dust headaches as I kid. I guess over time what I learned and what I gained from it is priceless to this day. All the barns and attics, and shops I've been in. Now it is an epidemic. Everybody thinks they are a picker and everybody wants to find the Holy Grail they can turn into big dollars. They seek a fortune rather than a work of art. They have not the ability to touch something and feel the spirit within it. They are meerly profiteers.
One of my other passions is finding beautiful old rockers that are broken and left for dead. I restore them back to their glory. I have several chairs to work on as soon as the weather cools a bit!
Getting back to the lures. I hope one day to own at least one of every lure he made as unlikely as that may be. But such is the path of a collector. It truely is all about the Journey and the people you meet along the way. That keeps me wanting to do it more and more. I would rather invest $10 in a lure and meet somebody like me than to waist $10 in a bar and meet no one like me.
Sorry if I got a little long winded.
Thanks for taking the time to read it. Also I will ad that there have been only three people to respond to the ad I placed. Your bother Leo Jr. and a fella by the name of Everett, and You.
So far the first two I spoke with do not seem interested in parting with any lures. Putting the ad out there is a lot like fishing...you never know when you might get a bite and you never know what you might catch, but one thing is certain. If you dont have a hook in the water, there is nothing to bite it!
God Bless and have a good day.
308 Grantham Rd.,