Talk about a trophy! Michael Scalzi hooked into this fabulous largemouth on the Withlacoochee River around Dunnellon, Florida recently using a G. Loomis Pro Green rod, Shimano Stradic 4000, 15 lb Power Pro, and an Exude purple swim worm on an 1/8 oz. jig. Fish was released!
The other day I was thinking about fishermen and their rods and reels and how maybe, just maybe, this is the male equivalent that purses and shoes are to females. Specifically my wife Dixie. I know I’m already on thin ice here, but I’m going to continue on nonetheless. Possibly Dixie will miss this newsletter….
My “addiction” is readily explainable. I started guiding on Lake of the Woods in Ontario over 50 years ago. At that time I had no more than two rods and reels. I can’t remember just what they were, but I suspect back then they were solid fiberglass rods and probably Mitchell 300 spinning reels. Any “backbone” that manifested itself in such rods typically began at the foregrip and continued down to the butt end. And the weight? Trust me, it wasn’t insubstantial. Add the Mitchell reels and I’m guessing were talking about a pound or two without the mono line!
Anyway, this was where it all began. Being a teenager without a lot of money these two outfits were dear. And tools I needed daily to perform my job. You just couldn’t count on your guests to always catch shore lunch, but they always counted on having one. Go out without a outfit or two and you were just asking for trouble. They also served as “backups” should a guest damage his or her outfit.
Perhaps it’s human nature, but the more we hold something dear the more we seem to want to accumulate. And the more we are unwilling to get rid of those things. At least this was the case for me. When I did buy a new rod or reel I never got rid of the gear it replaced, rationalizing that you could never have too much “backup” spare rods or reels.
This became pervasive in my mind and as I got older I continued to accumulate gear. I married, had three wonderful daughters, joined a business that I eventually was fortunate enough to lead, and in the late 1980’s bought a cabin on Lake of the Woods for my family and myself. This, unfortunately, only accelerated my rod and reel fetish.
One day in the mid 1990’s I went down to the cabin boathouse and counted on the wall no less than 120 rod and reel combos. All hanging by cup hooks, all reels fully spooled with line, all ready to take on any number of species of fish that populated this marvelous fishery.
120 outfits! Who, may I ask, actually needs 120 rods and reels? I spent more time unspooling old line and spooling new line than I actually did fishing! I devoted untold hours to tuning up reels that by all rights were horribly obsolete, more attractive to some antique collector specializing in fishing gear than were to any serious fisherman. And yet I continued to buy the latest and greatest rods and reels whenever they came to market.
One morning as I was getting the boat ready for a day’s fishing Dixie came down to the boathouse, looked around at my “collection” and remarked, “Why do you need so many rods and reels when you only take three or four out when you go fishing?”
I looked up from loading the boat with some indigence, puffed my chest with my best feigned bluster, and then just stared out the boathouse door. Frankly, that was a pretty good question. One I had purposely avoided asking myself. One part self denial, one pinch shame, a bit of guilt, and perhaps just a touch of indignation.
“Well, we have to have some extra outfits for the girls and guests,” I finally retorted.
“Honey, even if we took all of the girls, you and me and a couple of guests out for the day I just don’t think we need so many rods and reels,” she said with a sincere kindness but concern in her sweet voice.
And you know what? She was absolutely right. But, like asking for directions when lost, it just wasn’t in my DNA to acknowledge such an obvious case of hoarding or obsessive compulsive behavior.
“It’s just a ‘guy thing”, I retorted.
Now if I had just left it there everything would have been just perfect. Dixie’s question was, for all intent and purpose, quite innocent. She meant no offense. It was rhetorical and as much a conversation starter and never intended to light a fuse in my psyche. But there are times when a guy’s judgment is simply AWOL. The brain stops reasoning and reacts at whatever crosses the excited electrodes in the gray matter. It just pours out, uncaring of consequences or repercussions, forging ahead into the darkness.
“Well, look at your shoes and purses,” I countered. “There’s no way you ‘need’ all of them but you have about as many of them as I do rods and reels. Maybe it’s the same thing.”
Dixie gave me an icy cold stare, pursed her lips, widened her eyes then squinted intently. It was “that” look that all men recognize. A sure sign we very well may have crossed some imaginary line. In this case I was sure I had.
The next few minutes are somewhat of a blur, but what I can remember was Dixie blurting out a few expletives and that our planned fishing trip was suddenly cancelled. I also remember that conversation that day (and perhaps the next) was severely limited between the two of us.
We eventually reconciled, but this incident did cause me to reassess my rod and reel fetish as well as Dixie’s shoes and purses. One the later issue I simply decided that I did not nor would I ever understand the female psyche (no news here to any guy). On the former I figured that maybe Dixie was right and I really didn’t need all of these fishing outfits and the time they demanded. So I made a decision to sell them.
Now if you have ever tried to sell used fishing rods and reels you can probably relate to my situation. It’s tough and what you get isn’t really worth the effort it takes. First, what you’re selling is not current stuff, second everyone wants to steal it for pennies on the dollar, and third, if anything happens to break or go wrong with anything the buyer will seek you out or you risk losing a friend.
Back the there were no trade in programs for rods and reels (such as the one we have at American Legacy) so the choice was sell to friends (and possibly put a friendship at risk), sell in some flea market for pennies on the dollar, give them away, or throw everything in the trash – impossible for me to do.
Long story short I gave most of the rods and reels away. That felt better than trashing them. Now I’m down to maybe 30-40 outfits, all fairly current. Dixie still has way to many, in my opinion, shoes and purses, but you know what? That’s somewhere I learned long ago I just don’t want to go. And we have lived happily ever after!
Well, this newsletter begins our 5th Annual Trade-A-Thon for all those used rods and reels you have. Every year this event gets bigger with some great trade-in allowances for you used stuff. It’s so simple and you can apply your trade-in value to anything we carry whether it be new rods and reels or apparel, sunglasses, tackle bags, or whatever. You know almost immediately what your used gear is worth and we even provide return shipping labels to minimize the hassle. Be sure to take a look below for all the details.
After 18 months of gestation we have given birth to a whole new website. And as you might expect we are very proud parents! We have made this new site so much easier to navigate and check out that we now wonder why it took us so long to do this. Folks, if you do nothing else this weekend or next week please take a look at our new web site. We want to hear your feedback and hope all of you will offer us suggestions on how we can make it even better. We know it’s not perfect and are working every day to improve it, but your input is what will make this happen. Email us at [email protected] with your comments.
There are some other great deals in this newsletter that we are sure you will want to take advantage of. As we come into fishing season some of these will be something you will not want to miss so take a look below for everything that’s on offer.
Finally, we want to thank all of you for your understanding during our conversion to the new web site. We were down for a few hours Thursday evening and if we inconvenienced anyone during this time we hope you’ll accept our sincerest apologies. Sometimes progress has a cost but it should never be borne on the shoulders of our friends and customer. Again, out apologies if this was the case
Thanks to all of you who support us. Without your friendship and loyalty we would not be here.