Baits, Lures & Flies photo

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more ›

Welcome to the fishing-tackle graveyard, a place where old gear goes to die. The photo shows a shelf in my basement with various reels, long out of service, that I can’t bring myself to throw away. And throwing away is the problem. I can’t do it. So stuff accumulates beyond all reason.


This gets pretty silly as I think of it, but that silliness still won’t take me to the dumpster. Someday I might want or need something from that shelf. Or I might decide to refurbish one of those old reels. A little cleaning, some grease, maybe a few spare parts and any one of them would be fishable again. You never know.

I still have my first fly rod and reel, both dating to 1950, and probably every bit of tackle acquired since then. Once in a while I give some stuff away, to the Boy Scouts, maybe, or to a local charity auction of some sort.

A lot of this is sentimental attachment. I caught a big striper 30 years ago with some particular reel, or my first big Montana brown trout with a special yet long-outmoded rod. An old Hardy fly reel that I no longer use took both my first Atlantic salmon and my first big steelhead. Nope, can’t part with it. It actually deserves a plaque and a place on the wall, but I probably won’t get around to that either.

There are plenty of old lures, too. These aren’t old in the sense of being collectibles of some value. They are mostly junk. Many need new hooks, maybe a paint touch-up or general cleaning. Many would fish well again if I tended to them. So maybe I’ll get to that and maybe I won’t. But just in case, better not throw them away.

So it’s evident that I’m a tackle accumulator of the worst sort. I have no answer to this, other than to find still more cardboard boxes or perhaps to build a few more shelves. All of which leaves me with a question, about which I’m curious: What do you do with your old fishing stuff?