On my fishing bench in my garage I’ve got tackle, fly tying supplies, different spools of fishing lines, nets, fishing gear, assorted tackle boxes, disembodied soft plastic lizards and worms my daughter got a hold of, a bunch of fishing books and my Grandfather’s old wooden lures. My fishing bench is a nice visual timeline of the old days of fishing to the modern “can never have enough gear” days of today. While I’m not about to throw out all my cool gear, I do sometimes wonder how it was back then.
Back then, a man just needed a fishing rod and reel and some lures. It didn’t matter what brand or how many bearings his reel had (I’m guessing anywhere from one to none at all). He didn’t polarized sunglasses or a state-of-the-art fish system to track the barometric pressure, the fish, the topography and probably his car keys if he looses them. Nope. A fisherman just needed his rod and reel and some lures. And the lures were just simple wood carved pieces painted with hooks attached. They’re really quite beautiful lures and judging by the wear on them, I’d say they were also very popular with the fishes. But when you think of it, fishing really hasn’t changed that dramatically, it’s just become more commercialized. We still use a rod and a reel and we still use the style of lures they used back then like crankbaits and top waters, but the lure selection has increased dramatically and the choice in rods and reels has done the same.
The other day, my son had a piece of bamboo and wanted to make a fishing pole out of it. So I got some monofilament and tied it to the end of the stick and tied on a Wooly Bugger fly. We took it down to the lake and he tossed it out and pulled it back to shore. We didn’t catch anything but I’m sure eventually a little bluegill would have bit it and we would have had success with the most simplest of tools. An old cane pole and a Folgers coffee can full of worms, do I miss those times? Not really. But every once in a while, it’s kind of nice to think about and perhaps step down to. I think the reason so many people go fishing is because of the peace and quiet and how relaxing it is. Beneath all the shiny new gear and technology is really a simple sport that has brought joy to fishermen for centuries. So they next time, you’re cursing at your tangled line on your carbon-graphite, 300-bearing reel; take a deep breathe and appreciate the fact that you’re fishing. You can always get a better reel, but you can’t get a better past-time than fishing. Enjoy it and happy fishing.