UMCO – Minnesotan for “Need Forklift”

The 1975 UMCO Possum Belly Tackle Box.

The 1975 UMCO Possum Belly Tackle Box.

One of my dreams as a young aspiring angler was to obtain as much fishing tackle as I could. My other dream was to place all that tackle in the box shown here – the UMCO Possum Belly.

With 84 “plastic bait -proof” compartments spread over 10 trays, the UMCO Possum Belly not only had room for your tackle, it could accomodate your lunch and even keep a 6-pack of your favorite beverage cold in the 1,000 cubic-inch possum belly. Empty the box “weigh(ed) only 11 1/2 lbs!”

Boy am I glad I didn’t have the money back then.

For one thing, the 11-1/2-pound dry weight alone would have wreaked havoc on me as I tried to balance the box on the handlebars of my bike on the way to the park. Then, just imagine what it would have weighed filled with tackle – and this was 25 years before the age of tungsten.

What gets me is the box was designed in a day when a big boat was 16-feet long. Bass boats were still in what I’d call the “concept” stage and although most boats of the time had deck space to place the box, few had ample room to open a box of his size up completely. In fact, about the only type of boat that could accommodate the box would have been a 14- to 16-foot rig like Jason Lucas and many other early bass anglers used.

The boxes of the mid- to late-70s left a lot to be desired as companies tried to figure out the best storage situation for all the gear that was being developed and used. It’d take another few years until bass boat companies started designing below-deck storage and anglers figured out the modular style boxes, like the Plano 1100 series boxes, were the most efficient. This didn’t happen until the early 80s, though.

Still it’d be cool just to have the thing, fill it up with vintage baits and admire it. Plus, you’d be the only angler around that could store your Jelly Worms with you Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich.

  • Bruce Williams

    I had an UMCO Possum Belly in the late 70’s…and crammed it full of tackle! But at that time I fished plastic worms or jig and chunk 95% of the time…but boy was I prepared for anything!

    I fished an all night draw tournament, and besides all the tackle, I had the “belly” full of sandwiches and a rain suit. After the weigh-in the next morning, I stopped at the Cookson Café for breakfast, and someone took it out of the bed of a 1967 Chevy pickup…but left my only rod, a Fenwick Lunker Stik…I guess that huge tackle box, sticking up so high, was too much temptation!
    great site!
    Bruce Williams
    PS I missed the rain suit the most!