Traveling Trails Less Traveled. By Buckshot Anderson
For March 6th, 2009 Edition.
I'm certain many folks, like myself, have recently received numerous sure signs of spring. I refer to the never-ending supply of outdoor gear catalogs that arrive in our mailboxes sporting page after page of colorful and expensive fishing equipment.
Seems like Cabela's sends me at least one per week. Besides their Master Spring Catalog I've received the Spring Sale, Boat, Marine and ATV, Spring Turkey and Spring Fishing editions. Not to be outdone, Bass Pro, Sportsman's Guide plus several local sport shops have sent their invitations to purchase. Ah yes, spring is in the air!
One chore I look forward to during the lingering month of March is cleaning and re-organizing my tackle boxes. After all, there isn't much to do in March except to pray for spring. Dad told me God invented March because eternity wasn't long enough.
Every dyed in the wool nimrod needs more than one tackle box! I've cut back in recent years and now only have seven. Wifee Poo always asks why in the world anyone would need seven tackle boxes, after which I smile and reply, "count your shoes." That generally ends the conference.
For strictly early season walleye fishing I only carry a small tackle box containing jigs, sinkers and hooks. As the fishing season deepens I add my "general lures and misc." tackle box to my boat. If musky is on my mind I haul my musky box on board. On a day when I'm not guiding and my "honey do list" contains no "jobs to be done as soon as possible" memos, I may wish to don my waders and try for a trout or two. Then I need to dust off my trout box containing spinners and small lures plus my box of trout flies. Another fairly small tackle box contains stuff I need for my annual catfish fishing trip to the Fox River in April. Number six is my tackle box that contains my ice fishing jigs, hooks, bobbers and depth weights. And last but not least is my "overflow box", which contains lures I haven't used since the Ark was built but fall into a category I refer to as "maybe some day I'll use these" lures.
Tackle boxes are very personal pieces of necessary fishing equipment. Each and every dedicated angler has at least one, and some fisherpersons I know actually have more tackle boxes than seven! Of all my fishing friends, clients and acquaintances, Pete Mironenko of Burlington, Indiana has the most. I've never counted all of them but I know the number contains double digits. Pete and his family have fished annually with me since 1973 and I'm continually amazed how he crams more than a dozen rods and reels, all his tackle boxes plus the usual baggage into one average sized sedan! But Pete and his family are fishing pros and they use what they bring and always catch fish!
A gentleman named Ray Perry from Chicago toted one of the most unusual tackle boxes I've ever seen. If anyone out there has old Sports Afield magazines from the 1930s and 1940s stuffed in a closet you'll find fishing articles written by Ray. He was a well-known and highly respected outdoor writer from that era.
Ray loved to fish musky and when he and I first hooked up to fish together in the late 1950s he was nearing the end of his angling career. Ray used a black leather satchel that doctors who made house calls carried their equipment in as his tackle box. When Ray pulled a lure from his black bag every lure in the bag came out in one long, tangled mass! He'd laugh, untangle the lure of his choice and stuff the remaining tangled mess back in the bag. Great memories!
Ed Brown and his wife, Rose, fished with me exactly 200 days spanning 1961 through 1980. Ed had the most well organized tackle box I have ever seen! It was an expensive box, green in color and covered with what looked like patterned leather of some sort. Every lure was in it's original box and every boxed lure was in it's own compartment. He had a small toolbox in the bottom compartment, which contained pliers, screwdrivers, small wrenches, etc. Everything had a place and everything was in place! One day when we hit a rock bar on Found Lake and sheared a pin in my three horse Johnson motor, Ed opened his tackle box and presented me with the proper replacement part!
But here's the strange part of the story concerning Ed Brown's perfect tackle box. The only bait he and Rose used during all that time we fished together was a live chub on a hook! His famous tackle box is presently in the possession of family members and I'm sure it contains many fond memories as well as many very old pristine fishing lures.
Boulder Junction's famous legendary guide, "Barefoot" Porter Dean didn't carry a tackle box most of the time. When fishing for fish other than musky his "tackle box" was a series of small diameter glass jars set in a wooden rack next to his rowing seat near the bow of the boat. Each small jar contained hooks, sinkers and leader material, as back then that was the standard equipment for walleye, bass and northern.
Being the joker that he was when Porter would meet someone he knew on the lake, as the two boats passed all you had to do to receive a hilarious reply was ask, "Hey Porter, did you see those guys who tipped their boat over?"
Porter would unscrew one of the small covers on his row of jars, place it in his left eye like a monocle, and reply in an English accent, "I say old chap - where were you when the boat tipped over?" Then he'd move the monocle from his left eye and place it in his right eye and answer his own question. "Why I was in the water - you silly ass!"
His comic relief never failed to tickle everyone's funny bone!
The two largest tackle boxes I ever had in my small Grumman Sport Boat belonged to two brothers, Harry and Al. Each box resembled a double occupancy coffin. On a float trip down the Wisconsin River they lost nearly all their lures on logs and stumps. I only fished with them one day, and that one day was one day too many. The complete story of this day from Hades can be read in my upcoming 8th book, "Musky Madness and Other Non-Lethal Afflictions", which should be on sale sometime this month.
The greatest tragedy that ever befell a tackle box in my presence took place at a very rustic, remote boat landing in May of 2002. Kermit Momsen of Brookfield, Wisconsin was one of my long-time friends and clients for nearly 40 years. He had a tackle box that was nearly as immaculate as Ed Brown's!
Kermit had the habit of removing his tackle box from my boat prior to launching. He did that as he was fearful his tackle box might tip over during the launch procedure and mess up his orderly tackle. On the day of the tragedy he set his prized box on the ground next to my truck on the passenger's side. As I cramped the front wheels to the left and began backing down a very steep incline to the lake I felt something bump my right front tire, followed by a very loud "crunch" sound!
Yes, I smashed his prized tackle box into tiny pieces of plastic! The offending tire was adorned with colorful lures, others were imbedded in the soil, while yet others were scattered throughout the grass-covered slope.
We salvaged the undamaged ones, placed them in a plastic bucket and went fishing.
Yes, tackle boxes store much more than lures, and memories are something not found in fishing supply catalogs!
Hey, opening day is only 56 days away!
Mr. Leon "Buckshot" Anderson is one of the few old time hunting and fishing guides left in Northern Wisconsin. Buckshot is a personal friend of the family and has known and worked with my grandfather, Howard "Pop" Dean, both of whom are members of the fresh water fishing hall of fame, Legendary Guide. Buckshot has authored 7 books on the great outdoors. All of his books can be purchased directly from him, at a discount, by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to: 2220 Deadman's Gulch Road, St. Germain, WI 54558.
Books by Leon "Buckshot" Anderson Click Here
Yes; Deadman's Gulch is the correct name, I have been on that road many times. Sincerely David D. Cruger
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