Big bass are about to go on the prowl, halibut, sand bass and members of the croaker family are coming into the bays and estuaries, spawning rainbows and cutthroat trout will soon be entering tributaries of Lake Crowley, and the general season for the Sierras is just around the corner.
With all of those options, most of which are readily available to San Diego anglers – what’s a guy or gal to do? In my case, and I have it on good authority involving most who enjoy fishing – it’s time for a little spring cleaning – the kind that involves straightening, cleaning up, organizing and…I loathe this word…discarding.
Rods need to be checked closely, washed and in my opinion waxed. Reels need to be cleaned, lubed and filled with fresh line. Tackle boxes or bags need to be checked and properly organized to match the types of water you will be fishing and the species you plan to pursue.
For the average person, this project done carefully and thoughtfully should be done off and on in the course of a day. I realize I’m well below average in most areas, but in any event, I am not average. I’ve been in the midst of this project for the better part of a week, and I’m only in the organizing phase which is the first step!
At this point I’ve completed four tackle bags as can be seen in the accompanying photo. One of the blue bags is devoted exclusively to bass fishing. The yellow one is for bay fishing with lures for bay bass, shortfin corvina, halibut and bonefish – but it also includes hooks and weights for corbina, croaker and sargo. The red bag is dedicated to trout so it is packed with spinners, spoons and crank baits as well as the terminal gear (hooks and split shot primarily) for stream fishing. It includes both a jar of Pautzke’s green label salmon eggs and a container that has held its share of grasshoppers and crickets over the years. A fourth bag which happens to be blue contains a broad assortment for other species including the aforementioned walleye, but also pike along with an assortment of boxes for crappie, bluegill and catfish – but no stink bait. Never mix stink bait with anything else. When the directions on the jar warn against touching something with bare skin and suggests using a stick to apply the contents to your bait or hook – that is a standalone item – believe me. There may be some of you old enough to remember the explosion of Bowker’s Catfish Bait jars that rocked Midway Bait and Tackle and Pacific Surplus a few decades ago when wise-ass kids ignored the directions and tightened the lids, turning them into domestic IEDs.
The next step involves the organization of my fly fishing gear and the table in the photo holds a mere portion of the freshwater stuff; the saltwater conglomeration will have to wait for another day and likely a different month because I sense that I am bogging down, mostly because I have way too much stuff. Too much in every one of those bulging tackle bags because of the simple and tried and true reality that I will ultimately use only a tiny fraction of what is available in each.
It is of course an illness, and I’ve been in its grip since I was child. By the time I was ten, I’d filled a huge aluminum UMCO 1000 tackle box with bass lures of that epoch – Bombers, Hula Poppers, Hawaiian Wigglers, Shannon Twin Spin spinner baits, River Runts, Jitterbugs, Injured Minnows, Lucky 13’s, Super Sonics and so on and on…
Covered with dust and grime and still filled with those old lures, that box and others reside in a corner of the garage and unopened for years, maybe even a decade or two! Did I mention earlier that I have some issue with discarding?
How many SDFish members have even heard of those lures, let alone seen one? More importantly, how many share this illness for which I have never seen a commercial or telethon? If in the latter group, have you been successfully treated with medication, counseling, group therapy or maybe a 12-step program?
If so, drop me a line because I clearly need help and I haven’t even gotten to the forest of rods and reels that litter my den and garage. In the meantime I need to wrap this up and get back to that table and the gear that beckons me.