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Life was so much simpler when I was a kid, especially when it came to fishing and the tackle required to enjoy the sport.
Back then, my fishing rod was usually either a cane pole or a stick cut in the woods, with some string wound around the end of the pole.
The “string’ could be almost anything, from some of Dad’s old discarded black fishing line to twine used to mark straight rows in the garden. They all worked for us kids.
And, of course, there were always the very dependable drop lines to use.
Carrying our tackle was never a problem, either. Grampa Roberts used to smoke a pipe and a couple of his tobacco tins worked very well for the few rusty hooks and bolts and nuts we used for sinkers. The worms we used for bait could go in another tobacco tin.
Like my Mom used to say, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” That was really true with us kids and our fishing inventory.
This really came to light recently when I decided it was time to clean out my tackle boxes to get ready for the open water fishing season.
Are you a “collector?” I am, although I do not mean to be. It’s an addiction that seems to grow in size each year.
A number of years ago, I was the proud owner of just one tackle box. It served the purpose for just about all of my freshwater fishing needs.
And then it happened.
I lost the tackle box because of my own carelessness. Or, if you want, call it stupidity. I left the tail gate of my pickup truck open after stopping at a gas station and the dang box slipped out somewhere on the highway.
I retraced my route, but never found it. I never got a call about it even though I had my name and phone number plastered all over it.
Gone forever were a lifetime of treasured lures that had so many memories connected to them.
So I hit the ground running and picked up a super-sized tackle box from my old buddies at Fishin’ Factory in Southington and began to fill it back up with those lures, hooks, sinkers and all of the rest of the paraphernalia that we fishermen deem so important to our sport.
But something went radically wrong. In a moment of weakness, I went out and purchased two more tackle boxes! I got the bright idea that I was going to have “specialized” tackle boxes for the different species of fish I was going to pursue.
The first tackle box has been transformed into a main source of fishing do-dads that will cover me for just about any species.
When I got bit by the “Specialized Bug,” I began to make one of the other tackle boxes a holder for everything walleye. This included lures, jigheads for bait, special sinkers, worm harnesses — some I purchased and some I made.
The third tackle box was for bass fishing, even though it has been a couple of years since I did any big-time largemouth bass fishing. I still had to fill it with Hula-Poppers, Jitterbugs, Lunker City Lures and all of the other bass fishing rigs available to date.
Now, you would figure that enough was enough, right?
Not for this old outdoors writer. I decided that I also needed a tacklebox for my saltwater fishing, even though these ventures have been on a limited basis over the past couple of years.
Nonetheless, I now have a saltwater tackle box stuffed to the proverbial gills.
On top of that, I lost my “sports gear closet on wheels” (a.k.a my Ford pickup truck). I went to a smaller vehicle that gets me better gas mileage and is a bit more comfortable for Edna and the “kids” (Abbey and Charlie, our two pups).
This was all well and good until I started trying to carry all the necessary equipment when I went fishing. There just was not enough room for everything I needed, and if you are an outdoorsman like me you just know that the one thing you do not take with you is the one thing you will need.
And the sad part is no amount of pleading with my Darlin’ Edna shows me getting another pickup truck in the future.
Hey, maybe I can get one of those covered trailers like the landscapers use for my Nissan Rogue. That would hold all of my valuable stuff. (But, hey, not a word about the trailer to Edna, please, because we guys know how women can’t understand our need for the important things in life.)
For years now, we have been getting local folks interested in The Great Backyard Bird Count. Just about anyone can take part and Cornell University claims that this year’s Backyard Bird Count should be “Finchy” and fun.
Volunteers from around the world are invited to count the birds they see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, which will run from Friday, Feb. 15 to Monday, Feb. 18.
In the United States and Canada, 2019 bird lists are more likely to include sightings of winter finches and grosbeaks moving farther south than usual due to what is called an “irruption.” This type of movement is often sparked by poor cone seed and berry crops in parts of Canada.
During the 2018 count, bird watchers from more than 100 countries submitted more than 180,000 bird checklists reporting 6,456 species, more than half the known bird species in the world.
Anyone with Internet access can participate, no matter what skill level. It’s a great family activity.
Simply go to birdcount.org to enter your list of bird sightings. I already checked it out and, while it is not ready for the 2019 count, it can tell you a lot about it.
Ice fishing was red-hot last weekend, with Black Pond, Silver Lake and Lake Beseck getting a lot of hardwater action.
Kyle Cooney and his son Brayden caught a couple of really nice size catfish out of Silver Lake.
And is there any truth to the rumor of some really nice northern pike coming out of Lake Beseck?
The way the weather pattern has been going, it looks like ice fishing will be a weather-watch endeavor. Don’t forget: The sun is getting a bit higher every day and that, along with the wacky weather we have been having, can weaken the ice quickly. BE CAREFUL!
Happy bird counting and ice fishing. See ya and God Bless America and watch over our troops wherever they may be serving to protect us.