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Salem Man Takes Collecting Fishing Lures to Another Level

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Some people collect nick-knacks for a hobby, but one Salem man takes his hobby to a whole new level.

Galen "Grumpy" Ash is just a guy who loves fishing lures. So much so that he currently has the largest collection in the state. Owning more than 4,000 lures, Ash said his interest dates back to his childhood.

"When I was a kid, older people would give you a lure," Ash said. "They'd say, 'Son, I'd like for you to have this lure,' and they would give you an old lure out of their tackle box. I was fascinated by the old lures."

And it didn't stop there for Ash. He said his collection has turned into an addiction, and it shows with the amount of organization he has put into the lures.

"I put them in sets and the cases in sets, so they'll match. Here's Bottom Bait Company, here's Wilson Bait Company, here's South Bend Minnows, here's Shakespeare Grumpy's. I just put them in cases so they'll be with their family."

Each lure is hand-crafted and painted, but while some are smaller and more common, others are older, less common and more expensive.

"And this one here might be in the top 10 known, the top 10 in condition known in existence. It's a $2,000 lure."

Even though some of his lures are worth hundreds and even thousands of dollars, Ash is not interested in selling them.

"I don't do it for money, it's just a hobby."

Collecting lures has become a family affair. Ash's youngest son collects as well, with hundreds of his own lures. Collecting has become an expensive hobby, but Ash said his family supports him for the most part.

"My wife tolerates it. I'm not going to say she supports me, but she tolerates it."