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Catch the Fisherman, Catch the Fish
Age Old Statement, "Fish Bite What You Throw Them"
I love going into a new bait and tackle shop. I travel in my job and always hope to see a place I haven't noticed before that sells hunting and fishing equipment so I have one more place to do the things I love to do - shop (I hope my wife doesn't see this) and talk about hunting and fishing.
Regarding the shopping part, you have to define "shop" first. Most men I know would never use the term shop regarding the search for that next new lure or fishing rod they must have for their man cave. Most men know long before they go into a bait shop what it is they are going in there for. They are buying more of the same thing they have bought in the past, probably what their daddy bought before them, so they can catch fish. They know that yellow 1/16th ounce Rooster Tail with the gold spinner is exactly what they have always caught trout on, so buying the white one with black dots isn't even a thought. The only color combination worm they want is that motor oil with the sparkles and the bright fire tail. (now that is ugly) That is the one that they caught a nice six pound bass on thirteen years ago and so they always keep a fresh pack on hand.
How in the world do I know this? Hey, I fish too! I know when I go into the bait shop, if I'm not buying "three dozen medium" minnows for my crappie fishing, I'm probably more on a buying trip to replenish more than shop. I know what hook I like. I know what weight, depending on what kind of fishing I'll be doing, I will be buying. I know if I am going to be re-lining my reel just what kind of line and weight I will be buying for which reel. But then, it also depends on one other factor. Am I going fishing in an hour or I'm just shopping.
If I were game, figuring out my normal path from parking lot to what I am going to buy to the sales counter would be the easiest plan of attack anyone would ever have laid down. Kind of like the rut, I put my head down, push past the crowds, go straight to the Bruiser Baits, grab the three bags of "Intruder" baits in my favorite color combination and a pack of laser sharp hooks, a pack of 1/4 ounce slip weights and I'm back at the counter paying - then out the door.
Then there are those days when the client I am supposed to call on has put me off to a later appointment. I can't see him until a couple hours later - so, of course, I need to kill those hours and it just happens there is a new bait and tackle shop opened up half a mile out of my way. Don't even try to guess my mode of operation now. Some days, I'd probably come in the front door and take the first aisle to the right working my way slowly past every item on the shelf. I probably have at least one of each, sometimes more than one. Just what it is that I am looking for? Not sure, I'm shopping.
Shopping for men isn't mindless wandering, it has a purpose rooted deep in the DNA. Shopping for men goes to the most primeval instinct, putting food on the table (right?). So what men are really doing is considering the family budget, family needs, health and well-being of the family as they go through the process. So what is going to make me stop and reach for the folding money (or plastic as it may be)? Different might do it, color may do it as well. Packaging, probably not going to sway me. I've bought plenty of fishing stuff that was just hanging without a package or instructions from the gondola spike. But there is one thing that is for sure, it must catch me long before it catches any fish.
When I get to the aisle that has something I already have a lot of, I still look to see if any of my tried and true companies have come up with anything new. That isn't a sure bet that I will need it when I see it. I need to know stuff. How fast does it sink, or does it float or hover? I need to know will I be able to cast it far enough. Is it weedless? Does it come in a color I can figure will work on my local lakes? Or, if I am in strange territory and may have a few hours after working the area for the day I will look to see what selection the locals wear out. It usually is a pretty accurate barometer of local application. I went into the Walmart (couldn't find a local) store in Cleveland, Georgia last month looking for some spinner baits for trout fishing. You could buy any color of body, feather and blade except yellow in any weight or blade color - they were all sold out! Panther Martin, Rooster Tail, who ever. Local favorites no doubt.
My local tackle shop can't keep enough of motor oil, pumpkin seed and for some reason, solid white lures. Icecicle, that is clear with sparkles, was a big hit 20 years ago. I don't even see them anymore. The white ones are used by striper fishermen when baits are being pushed to the surface, no weight, just a bait flipped into the fray. But honestly, a leaf off a tree tossed into that mess would get swallowed.
So what else catches my eye walking through that tackle shop? Remakes of old vintage lures. I figure if that style caught fish in 1912 I just bet the fish haven't figured it out yet, a hundred years later. That usually works, but things like neutral gravity wasn't around back then intentionally. Rattles added, lots of bubbles when jerked or dragged through the water, all worked back then and now. The biggest difference there is now is paint. You can now buy a hard or plastic bait that looks EXACTLY like a minnow or small panfish - with photo transfer technology. I honestly believe it is the lures with the odd-ball oversized things that end up catching fish. Too large of eyes for the body, fat bellies, those kind of things that make it different, including "broke backs" reel in fish.
Those are the things that fall into my tackle box when I get home from a week on the road. They also are the things that get used on my next treasured time on the water.