Here’s two fishermen. On the right is great friend Barry Battista. On the left is his feathered pal which Sailfish Marina on the St. Lucie River in Florida has “trained” to build rapport with customers. Or maybe it’s just the fish cleaning leftovers!
I’ve been fishing for over 60 years and, being somewhat of a pack rat, probably have almost every lure, jig, bait, spinner, and almost everything else I ever bought that relates to fishing still in my garage or tackle box. The only baits missing are those that were surrendered to a rock, tree limb, snag, or fish who managed to break me off. Otherwise I can guarantee you I still have them – somewhere.
Fact is 50+ years ago I caught lots of fish using what is now 50 year old technology and baits. Antiques if you will. And this was in a time when catch and release and enlightened conservation practices for our fisheries were non-existent. Just didn’t show up on the radar screen. I’m convinced that today fish populations are far better than they were when I began fishing. Even when you factor in an increased population of fishermen I’ll still bet the fisherman to fish ratio has improved from 50 years ago. Dramatically.
Quite often I’ve taken tackle manufacturers to task about their continuous introduction of new lures, baits, jigs, spinners, etc. It seems to never end and this year’s new stuff is so good, making last year’s practically obsolete. When I ask why the keep adding new stuff the typical response always has something to do with showing the fish something different. “Something they haven’t seen before.”
Hmmm, something they haven’t seen before. So anything you have in your tackle box from the last few years now will not catch fish because the fish “know” about it and “know” it will trip them up. They’re so smart that they catalog all of these baits they’ve seen in the past and just “know” they’re bad news and to be avoided at all costs. Smart fish, huh? Or maybe not.
Lemme ask you this: “why wouldn’t a fish avoid a real minnow because it “resembles” an artificial bait that was so close to real that last year caught them up?” Food for thought, right?
Anyway, I did some research and managed to come up with some current information on expected fish longevity. Largemouth bass can live to be 16 years old. Crappie 15. Catfish 11 to 12. Northern pike 10-26 years. Walleye about 12 years average although they have been known to live to 26 years. Redfish can go to 40 years. Snook 15 for females and 21 for males. Tarpon can make it to 50 years. Smallmouth bass 5 to 6 years. Brown trout 5 years.
But, the average age of most freshwater game fish is well under 10 years. The average age of saltwater game fish is more dependent on size, but generalizing the smaller fish (reds, spots, snook, bones, etc.) average about 15 years while bigger fish (tuna, tarpon, GT, grouper, etc.) are about 15 to 20 years.
So this got me to thinking about the lure manufacturer’s (and many fishermen’s) theory that new lures or baits are necessary so the fish “see something they haven’t seen before.” Yes, I’ll buy in to this if you’re a young fisherman, say in his or her 20’s or 30’s and still in the process of accumulating a tackle box (or boxes) full of lures, jigs, plastics, spinners, etc. If you’ve only been fishing or accumulating this stuff for 15 years or so there well could be an argument to be made for continuing to add baits that the fish haven’t seen before.
But, if you’re an old guy like me then perhaps we need to do some rethinking here. We may be really missing the boat, so to speak. We’ve got stuff that I will guarantee you today’s fish have never, ever seen before. Creek Chub Pike Minnows, Musky Hawks, Mepps spinners, River Runts, Bass-O-Reno’s, Sonics, Jitterbugs, Hula Poppers, Wobblers, Little Giants, Merry Minnow, Bombers, Zara Spooks, Baby Lucky, Wagtails, Heddon SOS, Meadow Mouse, Crazy Crawlers, Bayou Boogie, Flatfish, Lucky 13, Daredevil’s, Redeye’s, Little Cleo’s, Shysters, and many, many more are all in my tackle assortment and have caught lots of fish in years past. And there isn’t a fish alive today that has seen any of these unless some of my “older” fishing friends have been tossing them. Or unless you’re fishing for tarpon – 50 year life span. Remember?
Maybe we need to have a “Antique Fishing Day” – no, not one for old people – for everyone to fish with baits that were sold at least 25 years ago. Stuff, if you will, that “fish have never seen before.” I’ll just bet that if this ever happens there will be reports of fish being caught faster and being bigger than would be typical on any given day when fishermen are using all that new stuff.
Don’t get me wrong here. I’m by no means saying all the new lures and baits aren’t good. Geez, we’d go out of business if that were the case! Nope, there’s some really innovative stuff out there now. Stuff that not only the fish haven’t seen before, but old guys like me haven’t seen either. Things like umbrella rigs, tungsten jigs, crankbait lures that run true 25 ft down – all great, innovative stuff that you won’t find in any “antique” tackle box. And I’m sure that 2013 will bring even more innovations, unique and new to the world of sport fishing. But just don’t dismiss some of the old stuff. It still works, especially for any new generation of fish!
This issue we have some great news for those of you who can make it to our retail store. We’re having a very early Spring sale In-Store. We promise some unbelievable deals on some highly desirable gear, so if you’re close be sure to stop in January 25th, 26th or 27th (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) You won’t be disappointed!
We have added a new feature to our Newsletter and Newsblast which is a list of featured items we will be listing on Ebay this week. Many of you have asked if there was a way we could let you know about featured auctions. Well, here it is. Be sure to take a look below!
This issue we have what has to be the best deal we’ve offered in 2013. Daiwa Saltiga Ballistic Surf Rods at 40% off! Definitely State-of-the Art Surf rods that cast further than any other rod. All the juicy details are below. We’re also blowing out the remaining 2012 Shimano Cumara rods which we still have a few left in stock. Great rods and now amazingly discounted. Again, details are below.
Everyone’s favorite sunglasses just introduced some new models and they just rock! Take a look below for details. We also are still offing some great deals on G. Loomis GLX rods and Big Bite Baits. See below for the best deals you’ll find on both.
Finally, just a reminder that we’re taking pre-orders on Strike King’s 10XD crankbaits. You will not want to miss out on these and from pre-orders along I think the first shipment that Strike King receives will easily be sold out. If you want to give these babies a try in the Spring or Summer of 2013 we strongly suggest you Order Now to make sure you get some of the allocation.
Thanks to all of you for your great friendship and support this new year. We continue to be amazed by your loyalty as well as passing our name on to your friends. It hard to put into words just how much we appreciate it!