Last week as the news was covering the 911 anniversary, one of the newscasters remarked that if someone was under 15 or 16 years old they probably didn’t really know the trauma of that day. That got me to thinking.
I’ll just bet that a good part of our population doesn’t know what a rotary dial phone is. Matter of fact, there’s probably a fair amount of folks who don’t even know about “touch tone” phones. I checked with our kids (ages 42, 43, and 46) and they got “deer in the headlights” looks when I mentioned rotary dial phones. They were equally clueless about princess phones or “bag” phones (earliest cell phones). And a crank phone or party lines? Not a clue.
How about tin cans that you opened with a key. You remember, the little “key” that was soldered to the bottom of the can. Typically coffee came in tins such as these. And a lot more stuff that I can’t remember. I think Spam may still come that way.
How many of you recall cigarette vending machines? If you do, do you remember when you got three pennies back in the side of the cigarette pack? They were new, bright pennies and slipped in between the pack and the cellophane wrapper. That was your change from the quarter you put in the machine, as cigarettes were 22 cents a pack. Although I wasn’t some sort of “pro smoking” advocate back then, I always looked forward to those 3 bright pennies that may Dad made sure he gave me.
Remember cars without seat belts or with push button shifters? White side wall tires?
Well, I could drone on and on reminiscing about “the good old days”, but it’s probably best to make my point. And that has to do with fishing and fishing gear.
First, try this quiz. Here are some questions that every fisherman can try to answer. If you’re a bit “older” these will probably be pretty easy. If you’re under 50 maybe not so much. Give these a try:
1) Who made a jointed Pik(i)e Minnow?
2) What color was Stren monofilament line originally?
3) What was the best selling “high end” casting reel in the 1960’s?
4) Zebco did what during the WWII and what does their name stand for?
5) What country introduced “graphite fishing rods” to America?
6) UMCO made what kind of fishing accessory? Out of what?
7) Suick is a what?
8) In the 1960’s popular fishing rods and reels were made by Heddon, Shakespeare, Pflueger, Abu Garcia, and Mitchell. Of all these brands, which were made in the USA?
I’ve listed the answers at the bottom of this article.
When you look back at fishing techniques, gear, boats, or whatever from 40 or 50 years ago us “oldsters” can draw one inevitable conclusion. “Boy, has it ever changed!”
And those changes are definitely for the better. We now drop shot, Senko, flip, as well as many other techniques we never even thought of years ago. Our reels are extremely light and backlashes are more a freak occurrence than “normal” every few casts. You can actually feel things with your fishing rod and lures, for the most part, really do run true right out of the box. Our fishing lines are now “technical” and actually contribute to the hook set and catching the fish.
Outboard motors start the first time and never flood out or require prolonged cranking, and we no longer have to mix gas and oil for our fuel. Batteries are sealed and last more than a short season. Boats don’t leak. Trolling motors are electric and, when sized properly, can control a boat with absolute precision.
We now catch and release as opposed to catch and keep. Our fisheries management has advanced and today there are abundant fish where years past there were poor populations along with poor fishing. Yep, things are much, much better for us fishermen.
So next time we pine for “the good old days” just remember how good things currently are. And if you need confirmation just think back to the days when we rowed our boats on the lake and toilets were called outhouses. For those of you who don’t know about outhouses just ask someone who’s over 65!
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Quiz Answers: 1. Heddon, who also made reels and rods, 2. “Fluorescent” which had a light purple hue, 3. Abu (no Garcia yet) Ambassadeur 5000, 4. They made bombs and were called Zero Bomb Company, 5. Japan – Shimano and Daiwa, 6. Tackle boxes that were aluminum and later fiberglass, 7. A wooden stick bait used for musky and larger northern pike, 8. Heddon, Shakespeare, and Pflueger.