This week I have been doing a lot of thinking about cane fishing poles.
Like 8 track tapes, roll film for cameras, cars with hand crank windows, and milk delivery boxes, some of you may know what I’m thinking about. Some of you may not.
When I was a youngster every kid had access to a cane fishing pole. They were cheap and available almost everywhere. Hardware stores, 5 and dimes, bait shops, variety stores, you name it. And they were cheap. Say 25 to 50 cents for a 8 to 10 foot pole.
My Dad and uncles were die hard cane pole devotees. Sure, Dad and most of his brothers, my uncles, had their “fancy” rods and reels, but for pond fishing for bluegill, crappie, catfish, and even the odd largemouth bass the cane pole was the “go to” tool, even for those who had the “good stuff”.
All you really needed was the pole, some line, a bobber, split shots, hooks, and some bait and you were in business. Basically you were set up for an afternoon of fishing for less than a buck.
Whenever I was in need of some line I would just strip about 10 feet of mono off one of Dad’s casting reels or even grab some of Mom’s heavier thread from her sewing basket. The hooks, bobbers, and sinkers I kept in my little steel tackle/tool box. Bait? That was as easy a grabbing a shovel and turning over some soil in the garden or some of the rocks that lined the lane coming into our farm.
Many times my buddies would come over to our pond and we would have a fishing “expedition” for the afternoon. Every kid would bring his cane pole along with a tin can filled with worms. Or a hot dog. Or some white bread that could be rolled into dough balls. Funny thing was the fish didn’t seem to really care what we offered them. They would bite on practically anything.
We would all sit on the bank and tell jokes (“What’s black and white and red all over? A newspaper!) and laugh and sometimes speculate if a certain red haired girl from school had her eye on one of us. If we had some extra money we would ride our bikes down to the general store and each buy a coke and perhaps a Hershey bar or a fried pie to tide us over for the rest of the afternoon.
Maybe this is just some old guy recollection, but in my mind those were the days. Fishing was simple. The fish, although small in size, were plentiful and Dad insisted we keep what we caught so the lake didn’t become “stunted”. Fish fry’s were pretty common then, although cleaning what we caught could be tedious to say the least. The smaller the fish the harder it was to clean them so Mom could fry them and there was at least a few bites on each one.
I wonder how many of you reading this remember cane poles? I’m betting there are quite a few who don’t even know what I’m talking about. That’s understandable given it’s almost impossible (at least around these parts) to find a cane pole anymore. Last ones I saw were 2 or 3 piece affairs with ferrules, shellac, and a tip top. And they sure as heck didn’t sell of less than a dollar! Ah, progress.
And that’s a shame. Sure, I get it as far as the difficulty of transporting a 1 piece 8 to 10 foot long pole. We did so on our bikes or in Dad’s pickup truck. I can just see trying that today in a slick SUV or a compact car! But in my mind these cane poles were a way for anyone – and I mean anyone – to truly enjoy the pleasures and rewards that fishing gives us.
I suppose progress is inevitable, but there are times when progress passes over something that, in my mind, is basic to our way of life here in the USA. I’m thinking cane fishing poles may be one of those.
This week begins our Annual Trade-A-Thon, and don’t forget to check out the brand new G. Loomis E6X. These are going to be a game changer in the G. Loomis lineup!
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All the best,