Traveling Trails Less Traveled. By Buckshot Anderson

For January 22nd, 2010 Edition.

Despite the fact the Northwood's has settled into the depths of Old Man Winter, just two weeks ago I received the first sure sign of spring! The Cabela's spring fishing catalog arrived in the mail! However I didn't actually experience a warm feeling!

Knowing full well there was probably absolutely nothing within its 416 pages that I actually need - well, what could it hurt if I spent an hour or two surfing the colorful illustrations and drooling at pictures of lunker fish one would be sure to catch using all that expensive new fishing equipment!

Actually, I ended up skimming through the volume rather than surfing through it and as expected I found absolutely nothing I could not live without. This in turn prompted me to take an inventory of my present supply of fishing "stuff", just to satisfy my curiosity and prove once and for all I don't need more new outdoor toys!

The current number of rods hanging on my rod rack in the basement numbers twenty-three, plus four tip-ups. I have eleven spinning rods, five medium action casting rods, two musky rods, two fly rods and three ice fishing jigging rods.

I'm a bit short on reels, with just twenty in my possession. I have ten open face spinning-reels, two spin-cast reels, six casting reels and two fly reels. But I suppose I could really bite the bullet and borrow a reel if for some reason (unknown to me at this time) I should need to use any of the rods not presently possessing its very own reel.

I flatly refuse to attempt any census concerning the number of lures and plugs that might be labeled as "a supporting cast." Right off the top of my head I recall seeing six tackle boxes lined up on a shelf in the garage. These various sized containers probably hold several hundred lures and plugs, many of which haven't been wet for two or three decades. Get rid of those you suggest? Yea Gads! Blasphemy, one never can tell when one of those moldy old lures just might be what those denizens of the deep are looking for some day!

By last count I only have five landing nets. Last summer I used two of them. Minnow buckets, seven. I recall using three, or maybe four in 2009. But I only have one worm box, one leech bucket and one trout creel, which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that I do have a conservative side.

My four large minnow traps are accumulating dust in the garage ever since the DNR created restrictions on trapping and transporting minnows, a document that rivals the insanity of our present pending national health care bills. Peggy suggested I sell my old traps - but to who? Any collectors of old minnow traps out there? (Maybe I'll bring them to the St. Germain Flea Market this coming summer.)

There are three Evinrude outboard motors hanging on the motor rack. (Hmmmm, I wonder if those two I haven't used in four or five years would still start?) But hey, I only have one trolling motor, one depth finder/fish locator and one gaff hook!

I own two boats, one I use often and one I loan to friends a couple of times a decade. The same goes for canoes. My old Mad River covers lots of miles each summer and my "spare" canoe - well - it's a spare.

Of course I have a collection of odds and ends that are completely necessary once in a blue moon. A fishing spot marker, four coolers of various sizes from "six pack" to "two cases", fisherman's pliers in three different sizes, fillet knifes, standard and electric, GPS, and oodles of hooks, sinkers and jigs.

I have fewer boots, as only six pair are lined up on the shelf where I store them in the garage. A couple pair have become storage areas containing corn and sunflower seeds to keep the local mice well fed through the winter. I have a much better supply of coats used exclusively for hunting and fishing - ten. I gave up trying to find and count all my various types of headgear after reaching a number in excess of three dozen.

I'm running low on gloves, as I could only locate thirteen pair. But hey, a guy must cover all the bases when keeping his hands warm. Those thick insulated gore-tex models actually aren't much good when I'm seining whitefish and cisco in November or picking up decoys on chilly mornings during duck season. That's why I have four pair of neoprene gloves.

Pants that I use for outdoor adventures only number six and I've decided to skip getting into counting sox's, long johns, rain gear, vests and other such minor miscellaneous outdoor items.

Due to the limited amount of space I'm entitled to fill in the sports section of the Times I've decided not to include any body counts concerning my hunting equipment. Plus - giving out a list of my guns would be unwise as I am still able to convince Wifee Poo that from time to time guns actually reproduce when they are all living close to each other in my gun cabinet!

Looking back about five or six decades and remembering what outdoor equipment my dad and uncles owned using these same categories creates a much shorter list of outdoor stuff. Dad had three fish poles and three reels, one spinning rod, one musky rod and one fly rod for bass and trout. His gun collection, which was stored in the bedroom closet, numbered three, a .22, a deer rifle and a shotgun. I could go on and on in comparisons, but I'm sure I've made my point.

Like most outdoorsman living in this era I have much, much more stuff than I need or use. We Americans live in a consumptive society and many of us own many more toys and "stuff' than we actually need or use.

In fact, I actually felt a bit guilty that I have so much outdoor stuff. But then I looked in my wife's closet and now don't feel quite so bad!

Count your blessings and forget about the stuff!

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:  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

Back to CNY - Four Club Calendar