Thursday, August 8, 2013

What? Too Much Fishing Tackle? You can never have enough...

I always carry way too much fishing tackle with me.

Why? I don't really know. Maybe it's a fear of not having what the fish want on any given day. Having everything that the fish will likely bite on either in the boat, in my tackle bag, or in my fishing vest, gives me a sense of confidence and security.

The extra tackle also comes in handy when you're fishing with a buddy and they run out of something, or don't have anything like what you're catching fish on. After all, you want your fishing buddies to catch fish at the same rate that you do, right?  If not, shame on you! What? You're competitive? Nooooooo.... That's a future blog post right there!

I admit that I have an obsession about fishing lures. Kind of akin to Imelda Marcos having too many shoes, or perhaps my wife!  I mean, how many shoes do you need, right?  Well, she can say the same thing about me.  "How many lures do you really need"?

I'm a tackle collector. The lures that are made that catch more fishermen than they catch fish? Well, I probably have them.  Going into a tackle shop for me is like my wife heading to the outlets.  It's addicting.

In fact, my fishing pals joke that I have enough tackle to open my own tackle shop. I'm not sure about that, but I definitely have enough to catch fish the rest of my life.  I guess that's why it takes me so long to prepare for a fishing trip the next day, because I have so much to go though, and takes time to find what I really need to bring.  But what happens if a secret hot lure comes out on the market, some lure that catches fish far more effectively than anything out there? I gotta have it!

This time of year, when I wade to fish for smallmouth bass or fish off the bank for largemouth, my vest is stuffed to the max with bags of soft plastics, at least a hundred of each in a couple hot colors.  My pockets are also lined with boxes of crankbaits, a bag of buzzbaits, a topwater box, a few spinnerbaits and chatterbaits, a box of terminal tackle, a jighead box, a bottle of worm dye, extra reel spools of line, and just about anything else that I can carry that I may or may not need.  It's almost comical that I'm stuffed so much with tackle that my vest pockets can act like arm chairs while I fish!
My vest is so packed with lures and tackle that I can use the pockets as arm rests!  I'll carry whatever I think that I may need, and then some, to catch smallies like this spunky little guy.
And the obsession doesn't end there.  It happens in all forms of my fishing.  When fishing out of someone else's boat, my tackle bag weighs a ton.  Lifting that monsterous bag onto a trailered boat would give Lou Ferrigno a workout if he had ten reps with it.  In the case of my buddies that own jet boats, getting on a plane might be an issue.  And, my buddy Howard has a Coleman Crawdad, so I need to be careful how much I bring or water will spill over the bow!  Of course, everything turns out OK, but I still catch fish on far few lures than I bring with me.
When fishing with my friend Dave, I carried all these boxes were crammed into a gigantic Cabela's tackle bag along with a pounds and pounds of soft plastics and other tackle accessories.   I caught all of my fish that day on the only lure that I tried, a soft plastic worm.  I had other rods rigged with stuff, and plenty of tackle, but didn't need any of it.  The fish wanted one thing, the first thing that I offered them.   I could have brought one small box of terminal tackle and that bag of worms that day!
Another example, when I ice fish, I have a portable shanty called a Fish Trap.  It's basically a big sled that has a bass boat seat to sit on, and converts to a pull-over shelter.  Of course, I have to cram it full of tackle too.  That poses problems when fishing in deep snow and/or slush, especially when mobility is the key to finding fish.  The sled with the additional weight sinks into the snow, and is tougher to drag around.
Pulling a Fish Trap stocked with tons of tackle will weigh it down, which takes a ton of effort to haul over ten inches of snow and slush.  My buddy Jim is off in the distance, leaving me way behind, pulling my gear, huffing and puffing.  He's a billy goat anyway and can scamper around because he's in better shape than I am, but he also carries far less weight in his sled.  I have to make sure that I have all of my lures, rods, tackle, heater, lantern, depthfinder, portable video camera, and ice auger in my sled.
Now, my boat is like a giant tackle box.  But since I'm the Captain, nobody really can complain as long as there's enough room for them and their stuff.  But the downside is that carrying more tackle means more weight, which makes it tougher to get on a plane and slows the boat down.  But so what?  I have all of my tackle at my fingertips!  I'm in heaven!
The great thing about owning a boat is that it's one giant tackle box.   I'm in fishing heaven when I'm in my boat!
One last point though, is that there is a downside to carrying so much tackle.  When making decisions on what might work or not work, I tend to go with my confidence baits, and forget about some of the stuff that I've dragged along.  I'll peer into my tackle bag, rummage through the boxes, open them up, study what is there, and ultimately grab something that I have confidence in, leaving the rest for another day that may or may not ever come.  It can actually get confusing!

The ironic thing is that the same lures that worked twenty years ago are just as effective at catching fish today as anything else on the market. Catching fish is all about confidence, technique, and more importantly, understanding the habits of the species that you're targeting.

The next time that I go bass fishing, I'm thinking about limiting myself to ten lures (a pack of soft plastic worms counts as one lure) and a box of terminal tackle. I bet that I catch just as many fish on that trip that I normally would.


ketchikanalaskafishing said...

Happiness shared, joy is doubled - no doubt it applies on fishing too.

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frank castle said...

Many thanks for the exciting blog posting! I really enjoyed reading it,

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