Fishermen are notorious suckers for gadgets of every description. Whether it’s some sort of hyper-convenient pocket fishing kit, a wondrous device to simplify the most difficult knot, or a plastic contraption to launch bobber and worm over the waves, someone—often many someones—will buy it.

So are we all just congenitally stupid, or simply ever hopeful that something might work?

Over the weekend, I was reading an old collection of columns by the late Red Smith, a delightfully skilled sportswriter who appeared in the former New York Herald Tribune from the 1940s into the early 1960s. Smith, a well-traveled angler, had this to say about fishing-tackle makers and their lures and gadgets: “Why match wits with smart fish when it’s so much easier and more profitable to outwit fishermen?”

Catch anything with your Pocket Fisherman lately?