- Al Soczka from Land O' Lakes has been collecting pieces of fishing history in the North Country.
"The greatest part about all of it is I'm doing what I absolutely love," said Soczka.
Soczka vacationed as a child in the Northwoods. After 30 years of working in southern Wisconsin, he retired to Land O' Lakes in 1994. Now he has owned an antique fishing shop for 17 years.
"It all revolves my whole lifetime thing of fishing and fish lures and fishing tackle," said Soczka.
Soczka has a collection of lures and other fishing goods from Lac Du Flambeau, Mosinee, Michigan, and other parts of Wisconsin. He has one lure that dates back to the 1800s. He collects them to preserve the fishing history. Some are worth more than a $1,000.
"'Cause if no one shares the history of all this stuff we lose it, so we got to have guys like me who collect this stuff and share it with everybody else 'cause if we don't it gets lost," said Soczka
Soczka has collected the Wisconsin fishing regulations books for every year from 1899 through 2015 except for two. He says that collection is even larger than the DNR's.
Not everything in Soczka's shop is old and collectible. For instance, he has a muskie swap board that allows a muskie fisherman to bring in two lures and swap them with one on the muskie swap board.
"We keep looking for a magic lure and keep hoping that we can spend $25 and throw it in the water and catch fish," Soczka said. "It ain't ever going to happen, but we still keep looking for it. That's just part of the muskie mystique."
You won't find Soczka in his shop Saturday morning.
"Tomorrow morning if you come here the sign will say 'Closed, Gone Fishing,'" Soczka says, "because tomorrow morning at 5 I am going fishing."