Fishing Catalogs: The First Signs of Spring

So if it's early January, can spring fishing be far behind? Actually not, despite what the calendar says. It started arriving in my post office box this morning. The annual deluge of fishing catalogs has begun. And gardening and seed catalogs, And catalogs of every other description that somehow relate to warmer weather.

I'll read the seed catalogs for a while, but the fishing catalogs usually take precedence. These are worth several evenings of study, pad and pencil in hand. So I'm going to need a few of these crankbaits, some spools of this particular line, flyfishing leaders like these over here, and on and on and on. Serious business here, absolutely.

But I'm budget-conscious, too, like so many these days, and eventually I add up what all the stuff I've marked is going to cost. Oooops. Well, maybe I don't really need two of those spinnerbaits. So I cross one of the list, knowing as I do that it's a big mistake. Sure as you're born I'll break off a big fish on one of those baits and thus won't have a replacement.

I have to think the same scene is repeated in winter households everywhere. Both Cabela's and Bass Pro mail millions of catalogs every year. Some of these catalogs weigh close to a pound each. Something for everybody, by the hundreds of tons of catalog pages, all across America. The scale of all this is quite amazing.

But it also resolves down to individual quiet evenings, turning the pages, and dreaming of spring. This hook or that hook? This fly or that fly? One crankbait or two? And yes, a 300-yard spool or a 1,000-yard spool? Let's see now, I might save money here. Each of my spinning reels holds about 200 yards, so if I get a 1,000-yard spool....