Outdoors with Forda Birds—By John Andreoni
By the third week of February, I start thinking about preparing for the upcoming fishing season. When I did it as a kid, all I needed was a couple of cane poles, a can of hooks, and maybe a spool of line. When I turned ten, I acquired my first rod and reel. I bought it from a buddy whose dad won it on a tip book at the Eagles. It cost me three bucks, brand new. My dad wasn’t too happy about the purchase because our family didn’t fish with newfangled equipment. If you couldn’t tie the pole to the door handles of your car, it didn’t belong. In later years, my tackle became more complicated and the price of poker went up. I remember driving to Texas reporting for active duty in 1964. I had a used station wagon and created hidden storage for my fishing rods, all three of them. One big tackle box held everything I owned, and that included two extra spincasting reels I bought at a local bargain barn. Looking back, getting ready to go fishing wasn’t that big of a thing.
After I started writing about hooks and bullets, things began changing. First, I soon learned that if I was going to write about the outdoors, I needed to gain credibility. I also learned that I could never become an expert in everything, consequently I at least tried to look the part. Every time a new trend came on the scene, I tried to be in the middle of it, and the outdoor industry helped. Fishing line samples were always available, new lures showed up in every color, and a new rod and reel always seemed to appear in my hotel room when I went to conventions. Discount prices made you want to buy the newest gear, especially if they personalized it. Those days are long gone. Somewhere, I have pictures of me wearing a signal-orange jumpsuit covered with patches showing my pro-staff or field testing status. Jump suits were popular for a couple of years, and if you weren’t sporting advertising, you were a nobody. For me and my peers, those days are long gone.
It’s 2020, and I’m seriously thinking about upgrading some fishing equipment along with pulling much needed tackle maintenance. I have a dozen rods and reels that need new line. That’s not a problem. I have enough crappie and catfish tackle to get me through another season, especially since I don’t know for sure how much time I will spend on the water. I thought about doing some bass fishing, and what I need in tackle isn’t that expensive. I’ll flip a jig or a worm and maybe throw a spinner bait or a chatter bait. I won’t be buying any knew solid-body lures at $10 a crack, that’s for sure. Also, I haven’t been keeping up with the new trends, and I’m glad…I think. Some of it is too pricey for my budget and too complicated for my technical ability.
I don’t own a bass boat, but the fishing boat I have does the job for my caliber of fishing. I hate to think what boat choices new fishermen are facing, especially if they want to take the sport seriously. I hear fishermen talking about $100,000 bass boats being overpriced, but a $50,000 rig being doable. Oops, forgot the truck to pull it. If I had a bass boat, it would need a pair of power poles on the transom. Definitely improves your fishing platform…your boat. $4,000 should cover it. New electronics are phenomenal. You can get a fish finder that covers 360 degrees up to 125 feet from your boat with images so sharp you can spot bluegill nests and see if the bluegills are still there. New trolling motors have everything built in to work in conjunction with your electronics.
I haven’t paid attention, but it appears that electronic fish attractors are gaining in popularity. A speaker is mounted on the trolling motor, and various fish sounds can be made to draw bait fish or start a feeding frenzy with target fish. You pick the sound to fit the conditions. If you want to draw shad, select the shad sound. If you want to draw game fish, select the sound of fish attacking the shad. One attractor even creates the sound of a crawdad walking along the bottom. Now that’s sophisticated gear. Too bad they don’t make fish finders for bank fishermen. Wait, they do. Evidently, you cast this floating finder out where you want to fish, and it shows you if any fish are around. How do see the results? You guessed it, on your smartphone.
I’m not going to fault anyone for spending money to go fishing. Raising a family curbed any desire I had to splurge, but I probably still spent more than I should have on fishing “stuff.” One thing for sure, getting ready for a fishing season can be expensive, especially if you go off the deep end.