Birdshot and backlashes

by Bob Cary

It is catalog time. I don’t buy much of anything out of catalogs, but sure like getting them to read and discover what the heck is new in the outdoor world. Cabela’s is a gold mine of discovery. The Cabela’s Master Catalog for Spring 2005 arrived loaded with neat stuff.<BR><BR>Like everyone else who spends considerable time in the outdoors world, there isn’t a whole lot that is going to change how we go about catching walleyes or bass or trout, but it is intriguing to see what other folks have cooked up to get the job done.<BR><BR>First are rods and reels. The stuff fisherman can get now is very functional and not expensive. Something which developed the last couple of years are “jig poles.” These graphite rods run from 10 feet to 12 feet, which is twice as long as most fishing sticks. The jig pole allows the angler to get the bait a long way out, even a very light lure like a crappie jig and to keep track of what is going on at the other end. Obviously, a five pound walleye on the end of this thing is going to be a circus, but so what? Cost is around $30.<BR><BR>The Shimano Stradic has been a favorite spinning reel for years, ever since somebody gave me one for my birthday. They are still priced around a hundred bucks, but they last a long time. There a lots of other good reels, much cheaper, like Diawa, Quantum and Rapala. For the closed face crowd, Zebco is still pumping out “tin can” reels at about $20.<BR><BR>There are so many different lures out now that it makes a fisherman dizzy. A whole lot of them are more or less copies of the Shad Rap or Rapala Deep Dancer, which also contains a little BB inside that rattles around. No one has ever explained why a fish would grab something that rattles, but fishermen grab them. <BR><BR>There is no limit to the number of plastic bodied lures that seek to imitate minnows, crawdads, worms, leeches, pollywogs and other aquatic creatures. And they all come impregnated with some kind of stinkum, the most popular being those that smell like licorice. I don’t know anything in the natural world that smells like licorice, but who can argue with success?<BR><BR>Fly fishing has enjoyed a modest comeback and a good, serviceable fly rod, reel and line can be obtained for around a hundred bucks. For another $50 the angler can buy a kit of tools with which to tie up those little furred and feathered lures that complete the outfit.<BR><BR>Some local fisherfolk like to paddle around the smaller lakes in an inner tube with a seat, using rubber flippers on the feet to make it go. Now they’ve got inflatable seats with back rests that are a lot more comfortable and less apt to tip over, for around $90 to $100.<BR><BR>Electronics are a big item this year. The stuff they put out now not only tells you what the lake bottom looks like, but where the fish are and even what kind of fish. Also where in the lake you saw them so you can find that spot again. The fancy ones run anywhere from $400 to $800 which is a lot more fish fillets than I could possibly catch if I fished every day all summer.<BR><BR>There’s lots of apparel like jackets, boots, waders and rain gear, insulated or non-insulated, depending on what time of year we go fishing or how tough we think we are. There are some very serviceable life jackets out now that cost around $20 and used to cost a lot more. But they will hold the fisherman up if he gets too engrossed in his sport and goes over the side after the fish.<BR><BR>It’s a whole lot of fun thumbing through the catalogs even thought most of the stuff we buy we get in local stores. Buying through the mail can be handy, but some of us like to get our hands on an item before we shell out cash. It is sometimes a good idea to take the wife along when buying fishing tackle. <BR><BR>Of course buying through the mail is one way to circumvent your wife from finding out what you are doing. Sometimes it is a good idea to keep fishing tackle purchases secret. At least until the bill comes from the credit card company.<BR><BR>