These days, I'd say anglers take electronics for granted. We have side-scanning sonar, GPS-linked auto-pilots, and remote-controlled trolling motors. Of course it wasn't always so, and it's always interesting to see some early innovation in the electronics department. Take the Beetle-Bomb below, submitted into our vintage tackle contest by Gregg Swanson, for example. Gregg wrote:
I think this came from an auction I went to here in Geneseo, IL. It's called a Beetle-Bomb made by Semco. On the back side is printed, Southwest Eng. & Mfg. Co. Fort Worth, Texas. On the top it says Transistor Fish Caller. It looks like you tied it through the two small holes on the wings and lowered it in the water. There are no instructions.
It's rare that I fly fish home in my travels, but every once in a while I'll be somewhere staring down a mess of redfish or salmon or tuna and decide heck yes, I will endure the cost and misery that often comes with getting fish on a commercial flight. The last time I did this was coming home from Alaska, and the fact that I had a total of 11 hours in the air gave me a good idea. What if before packaging the fish I sprinkled some fillets with cajun seasoning and some with teryaki so by the time I got home the meat was well seasoned and ready to cook? Well, I guess you can't do that because the airport might call the bomb squad.
Thanks to all the rain and big storms in the Northeast lately, early fall smallmouth opportunities have been limited. Most of my local rivers are swollen messes, but this weekend my buddy Mark and I decided to try a smaller stream we thought might be low and clean enough to fish. Well, it was, but the banks were an utter disaster. Snarled brush piles, garbage in trees, and silt deposits above the normal high water mark were all evidence of just how bad the floods had been. As we walked through the woods to one of my favorite runs well away from homes or roads, I looked down and saw what you see in the photo below. And I nearly passed out.
The wages of my fishing-tackle sin have come home to roost. Thinking about an upcoming saltwater trip to the Rhode Island shore, I pulled a favorite wide-spool baitcaster off the shelf. Bad, John. Very bad.
The reel suffers mightily from corrosion and accumulated grit. All the cleaning and maintenance I should have done last fall or winter somehow got put off. Just as such things always seem to get put off. But I want to use the reel in a couple of weeks, so now I've got to do it.
It’s a classic case of a fishing writer’s “do what I say; not what I do.” I mean, how many times have I preached about taking good care of good tackle?
Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending a morning on the Deschutes River in Oregon with my good friend Chuck Smock from Cabela's. The target of the outing was steelhead, but after hitting three good runs early with no strikes, the sun came up over the bluffs and lit the river. Our guide told us once that happens, the chances of getting steelies to hit anything other than a plug or spinner running deep drops significantly. But Chuck kept at it with the fly rod while I found a comfy spot under a tree and decided to take a breather and just enjoy the beautiful surroundings. I wasn't relaxing for ten minutes when Chuck let out a yell and off he went running down the river with a bowed rod.
Here's an entry in our vintage tackle contest I bet a lot of you can relate to...the Egg-Lug. I remember my grandfather giving me one when I was about 6 years old, and I proudly wore it on my hip on opening day of trout season. Then I flipped it open in his truck and spilled eggs everywhere and it got taken away. Not sure what happened to it after that, but lucky for submitter Jon McKibben, he still had his and sent the photo below. John wrote:
Here is my older Egg-Lug Salmon egg dispenser. It was given to me by my grandfather. I think they were manufactured in Burbank, CA,, though I'm not exactly sure when these devices first came out. I know they still make a modern version of the Egg-Lug. Would love to know more about it and its time frame if Dr. Larson could help me out.
Labor Day might mark the figurative end of summer, but I always find it funny that where I live in the Northeast, Mother Nature has a habit of flicking off the summer switch immediately after Labor Day, too. I swear it could be 90 degrees every day the week before, then suddenly it's fall. The slight nip in the air here has me itching for fish. In fact, I sadly turned down a surf trip that already produced some decent stripers for a buddy of mine. But that's OK. There's plenty of time, and nothing is getting me more in the mood for fall than this wicked vintage video I thought you'd enjoy.
There seems to have been a lot of outdoor fish cookery around the F&S website of late, most recently at The Wild Chef blog last Friday. Just so the likes of David Draper and Colin Kearns don’t get to hog it all, I’ll use this photo to point out that we here at The Honest Angler blog are holding up our end, too. Yes, that’s a pan of sizzling, fresh walleye fillets, flanked by a pan of potatoes and onions.
The location was a remote walleye lake in northwestern Ontario, where F&S Deputy Editor Dave Hurteau and I formulated a delightfully self-indulgent daily fishing plan. Fish in the morning with jigs tipped by live minnows or Gulp! baits. By late morning, we inevitably had enough fillet-size walleyes for a generous lunch. So then we’d head back to camp to make up that day’s main meal.
Last weekend my neighbor knocked on my door with a little present. She's a big-time knitter, and had just returned from buying some alpaca yarn, which (in case you're not versed in yarn) is pretty pricey stuff. Apparently the lady who sold it to her had a few bags of raw alpaca fibers from the animals' hind quarters handy, so my neighbor asked if she could have them to give to me because I tie flies. Score!
When science finally reaches the point where it's possible to clone dinosaurs, I'll finally make my millions. Instead of creating a Jurassic Park full of T-Rexes and raptors, I'm going to create a dinosaur land just for anglers, with streams and lakes filled with fish that make the stuff Jeremy Wade chases on "River Monsters" look like bluegills. Take, for example, the Laccognathus embryi depicted in the illustration below. The fossilized of skull of this nasty bugger with 2-inch fangs was recently discovered in the Canadian tundra. This is what swam in North American rivers long before smallmouth and trout.