Tackling fishing tackle is a project you can really get addicted to
“What, you wondering about my motives behind this pile of bric-a-brac that bears no resemblance to food?” I said to Cheyenne, the chocolate Labrador who thinks I need her. monitoring at all times. In confusion, she tilts her head from side to side as if to make sense of the absurd.
She perched at the other end of a kitchen table that Christine hated. His one redeeming feature in her mind was that it was so hideous that she didn’t want to sit on it for too long. Anyway, after long suffering, we replaced him and he was relegated to the shop.
The rules in the shop are different from those at home. We, me and the dogs believe that some things don’t show their best purpose until the rules are broken. We found the table to be the perfect platform to jump on and get cuddled by dad at eye level.
It turns out that the sprawling surface of the table, uncluttered from reloading equipment, the gun vise and the like, much like the workbenches that line the walls of the workshop, also provided a pleasant spot. for the annual sorting of equipment.
I’m pretty sure my tackling habits aren’t unique. With the best of intentions, as my interest in fishing grew, I accumulated many tackle boxes, each serving a specific purpose. Separate boxes for small spoons, large spoons, small spoons, large spoons, small plugs, big plugs, weights for lake fishing, river fishing, saltwater fishing, all had their own receptacles.
There is a kind of historical significance to what would otherwise appear to be hoarding. Tackle boxes for king salmon fishing on the Kenai River evolved with the choice of lures of the time. Teaspoons and big Mepps mark the early days. Then spin and shine and corkies with bait hook setups. Hot shot plugs were in the spotlight for several years, then along came the Kwik Fish.
I have them all, and none of them have ever been bitten by a Kenai River King. Years of days spent in the attempt, and I never hung on to any. Having given up on fishing the Kenai during kings season, I will never do it. But at least my tackle boxes suggest I once fished what was once the greatest fishing king on the planet.
About 30 years ago I had a strong desire to fish for largemouth bass, to catch one of those bigmouths that can inhale a soccer ball. The tackle box that would house the bass fishing gear was much larger than the others. I have accumulated all kinds of bass plugs, spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and plastic worms of all colors. I would buy all kinds of bass lures and store them in their individual compartments where they would be ready for the trip south where the lunker bass hang out.
Anyway, my rationale for all those species and water specific tackle boxes was to only take what I needed in the water and store everything as I went. as the fishing progressed. I imagine most anglers reading this are laughing at themselves. The best intentions, it seems, don’t always go as planned.
What happens, at least for me, is that I go fishing and maybe the lure gets tangled in someone else’s dropped line or an escape fish. Well, I don’t take the time to clean up the mess with the fishing to go, and I don’t want to put the tangled mess in my tidy tackle box. So I cut it up and throw it in the fishing bucket, or the bottom of the boat, or sometimes even in a pocket, another mess to sort out later or maybe surgically removed when you forget the treble hook is there- inside.
As my plan was not going well, I took a new tact. I would bring a cheap Tupperware-like container for all of this and sort and clean up the mess when I get home and put each item back in its assigned place.
What happened in actual practice was that I would come home, put the stuff away, and forget about the mess. On the next fishing trip I would take another container for discards and if necessary buy a few more lures of the same type that were sitting at home waiting to be taken care of. In the process, it seems inevitable that you’ll find other decoys that may not be needed right now, but look promising for something.
That’s the economics of the fishing industry, and that’s why every spring I gather all those accumulated tackle boxes and gear, in an effort to clean up the mess and restore order.
For a while, rainy spring days lent themselves to the task, and I did a decent job. It was a pleasant misery. But, as the accumulation grew and I had no place to spread out the mess to sort through, it suffered.
This year, I thought the table would change all that, and so Cheyenne found me with about 30 gear boxes and plastic containers strewn across the wide tabletop.
As I got into the process, I wondered why this never happens with hunting and shooting gear.
Looking around the shop, everything hunting or shooting is neat, clean and always ready to go. I guess it’s being a hunter and shooter first – that’s where my loyalty and time will always come first.
Cheyenne hung out with me during the day-long process. She would fall asleep for a bit, then sit and criticize a spell, then fall back to sleep, true to a fault. The smugglers had no interest and played in the yard.
The last thing to do, and the most fun, was to open all the new lures that had accumulated over the winter and place them accordingly. When I pulled a particularly sexy flatfish out of its cardboard container, the kind with a clear plastic window, I burst out laughing.
“Cheyenne,” I yelled pulling her out of her nap, “what am I supposed to do with this thing?” »
Holding it up for her to inspect, the lure had two crossbars across its body and on either end dangled a treble hook. Four treble hooks. I couldn’t conceive of a place where such a thing would be legal and wondered if I was breaking any law by mere possession.
No better proof that lures are built to catch anglers as much as they are to catch fish, and a great end to a day spent at the table.
Steve Meyer is a lifelong Alaskan and avid shooter who lives in Kenai.