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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
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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