Please release me, let me go. The ‘lure’ of tackle retrievers.

westley Richards

No it’s not a chart hit by Engleburt Humperdink, but the extraordinary lengths anglers will go retrieve a favourite snagged lure or bait. For the last two centuries, anglers and inventors have been devising gadgets that will release lures with various levels of success, generally from nil heading downwards. Stuck in a tree, a bush, an underwater log or rock, there was a gadget that claimed it would get your tackle back.

As most collectors do, I cut out the interesting adverts for dating reference and future use. The Fishing Gazette magazine, a must have ref point is utilised here, ads dating 1880’s to 1911. The less remarkable are the standard hinged brass rings with a hasp and drilled hole to take the casting & retrieve cord.

cumberland clearing ring

The one above is the Cumberland Clearing ring c. 1887, its turns up frequently in tackle boxes, often unused. More elaborate rings appears with claws, cutters and all manner or gadgets within them.

Anglers friend

The Anglers Friend and Companion is rare to find, probably as most are stuck alongside the lure at the bottom of the river.

C farlow clearing

Farlows of London advertised the all-encompassing rod rest thumb stick attaching reed and twig cutter c 1887, these do appear quite often too.

However, the daddy of them all is the fabulous Westley Richards Diver Tackle Retriever (see our main image). Taking up virtually a half page of advertising in the 1899 F.G  it shows an amazing piece of engineering, costing the earth to return your 1 penny lure, absolute madness!

I have not seen one in the flesh, so if anyone has one, get in touch and we’ll amend and finish this article properly with a picture.


Do you have any vintage or classic modern fishing tackle to sell?

We are always interested in purchasing high quality vintage or modern tackle items. If you have a collection or an individual item to sell please get in touch. You can use our contact form, or email me at john@thomasturner.comPlease include some good clear images, watch our helpful video for some advice on that. We will get right back to you by phone or email.

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