I hope everyone is making their Christmas present lists and some of them are fishing related. Fishing gifts were always a big part of my Christmas when growing up and one of the most anticipated gifts of the season.
One of the gifts I remember best was a Mitchell 300 spinning reel and rod I got when I was 15 years old. I could not wait for warmer weather to try that new outfit and change from my old Zebco closed face reels. I felt I was big-time with the new outfit and just knew it would catch more and bigger fish.
I used that rod and reel for years, all the way through college. When I joined a bass club here in Griffin in 1974 I was still using it and the first three years I fished tournaments it was one of my two outfits. That reel was finally retired after 12 years of hard use on my trips, starting with riding my bicycle with it across the handlebars up to it riding on the front deck of my first bass boat.
Smaller fishing gifts were a part of every Christmas, too. Everything from small boxes of hooks or sinkers</ A> to a three-pack of Cream worms, a plug and some fishing line would be in my stocking every Christmas morning.
Plastic worm choice was really limited, too. Now you walk into a sporting goods store and whole walls are full of worms from many different companies and in so many colors it will make your head spin.
Are all those colors needed? Maybe. They are probably more important to the fisherman than the fish. Back when I was a kid the only kind of "rubber" worm were the Creme Worms and them came in two colors, red or back. Later more were added and eventually we got where we are today, because fishermen are always looking for a secret weapon.
Plugs were simpler then, too. Basically there were topwater plugs like Hula Poppers, swimmers like the Little Ike and the new fangled Rapala Minnow. All caught fish back then and still do. But now there are thousands of crankbaits and topwater baits in every color you can dream of, and they are made to run different depths to cover any water you fish.
Fishing equipment has come a long way in the 55 years I have been trying to catch fish. Are we any better off now than then? Definitely, in some ways. But fishing is still fishing, and no matter what variety of lures and quality of tackle you have, some days you will catch fish and some days you will just go fishing.
I will always remember the excitement and joy of finding fishing stuff and thinking about using it. I will also constantly be amazed at the variety of lures and equipment we have now, and be glad I have so many choices.