Angler amasses sizable collection of bait
A quick look inside Andre Fuselier’s Texas City home leaves no doubt his hobby is fishing. Glass double doors open up to a room containing a phenomenal collection of fishing memorabilia. Yet, this angler is more concerned with what dangles off the end of the fishing line — the artificial lure — and his prized treasures are nothing short of grand.
Display cases and shadowbox frames containing vintage lures from the 1930s to the 1960s are meticulously organized by brands.
Fuselier rattles them off without missing a beat: Bug-N-Bass, Bingo, Rebel, Heddon Punkinseed, PICO, Fred C. Young, Poe’s, Jumping Jo and Creek Chub, to name a few. Some are giant in size and some are as tiny as a pinkie toe. Each is specifically designed to catch a particular species of fish.
“This is my guy room,” said Fuselier, who surrounds himself with other collectibles such as Lionel trains, an antique radio, fishing poles and a cabinet full of vintage Mitchell fishing reels still in their original boxes.
His collection of more than 500 lures are beautiful works of art in pristine condition, popping with vibrant colors of iridescent green, bright orange and shiny red.
“My wife says I’m one lure away from being a hoarder,” Fuselier said.
He has been collecting for quite a number of years and finds his lures by going to estate sales, garage sales, attending lure shows and running advertisements.
“I am constantly buying and selling them,” he said. “It’s a lucrative hobby, because many of them will increase in value as they age.”
Although Fuselier grew up in Houston, he spent much of his childhood visiting family in Louisiana, fishing in stocked ponds.
“I first held a cane pole when I was about 6 years old and caught a goggle-eye perch,” he said. “I was hooked on fishing from that moment.”
His world opened up to saltwater fishing when his job required him to spend a lot of time in Galveston, he said. Although the majority of anglers were using live bait, Fuselier knew he would have more luck with lures, which he’d been using since he was a teenager.
“The one I use for catching the most speckled trout is my plastic black and white Bingo Plugging Shorty Shrimp from the 1950s,” said Fuselier, who rarely uses lures from his collection, preferring to use vintage lures he finds at garage sales that don’t qualify as collectibles.
The oldest lure in his collection is a hand-carved Fred Nichols wooden shrimp, made in the late 1930s. Nichols, the founder of PICO, was known for his hand carvings of red cedar shrimp.
Fuselier also has an assortment of lures hand-carved by friends and even mermaid lures he’s collecting for his daughter.
His favorite spot to fish is the 37th Street rock groin in Galveston. And now that the fishing bug has gotten hold of his son, they go out quite often, usually early in the morning as the sun comes up.
“You make a lot of memories when you fish with your kids” he said. “It’s something they’ll always remember, no matter how old they get.”