Lighter Side

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August 27th, 2001

How to Fondle Fishing Tackle

By Ed Zern
Excerpt from How To Catch Fishermen published by Appleton Century Crofts

"There is a hard and fast tradition, at least among people who paint magazine covers, that some time before the opening of the season all fishermen worthy of the name haul their tackle out of the attic or garage or wherever they store it and fondle it with loving care and dreamy-eyed expression, while vision of leaping fish dance in their heads and their wives and children look at them with mingled pity and contempt.

Now I firmly believe in tradition, and for a long time I tried to go along with this one; but the fact is that I've accumulated so much tackle over the years that getting it properly fondled in time for Opening Day is out of the question. It's true that a bait-casting reel, even with level-winding attachment, can be fondled in ten minutes, and some of the experts can do an adequate job in five or six - but there isn't a fisherman living who can fondle a three-piece split-bamboo fly rod, and do it properly, in less than half an hour. And I simply haven't the time for it.

I thought of hiring a neighbor's fifteen-year-old son to come in evenings and fondle tackle while I tried to get some work done in my study, and my wife and children agreed to look at him and sneer, but he said that although he needed the money he had to draw the line some place, and so I dropped the idea.

So until somebody starts a tackle-fondling service for busy fishermen I'm going to fish with unfondled rods and the hell with tradition. ~ Ed Zern
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