It’s fishing time again! I know there are people thinking, “It’s always fishing time,” but for me fishing time starts after winter and ends about the time my teeth stop chattering from the cold. In simple terms, I fish in the Spring until the end of fall. I’m what you call a leisure fishing guy. I’m not so serious about fishing that I have a five hundred dollar rod and reel, but I also enjoy the use of good equipment. I enjoy fishing equipment so much, that once I have the basic stuff together, I rarely buy new. This year as the fishing season kicked off for me my favorite reel from 1989 (A Zebco Rhino) broke. After thirty years, the reel finally gave up. I trudged off to the store to get a new one and while I was there I decided it was time to invest in a new tackle box as well. This was not an easy decision for me. As old as that reel was, my Plano 6300N is actually older. The box dates back nearly forty years ago. I decided it was time for a new tackle box to go hand-in-hand with the new rod and reel. As a blessed man that I am, my wife stood nearby encouraging me to get the best tackle box I wanted and planned to use for the next several years.
I was happy to find that Plano still makes their tackle boxes in the USA. I was also happy to find a wide variety of new models. I selected one, purchased it and the rod/reel and headed home. In a few days I sat down to move over the tackle I wanted to continue to use, store away old lures like my grandfather’s and others from my childhood, and get the new Plano ready for action. It was then that I began my walk down a “fishing” memory lane with that old box.
While I fully intend to use the new tackle box, I did not realize how hard it would be to actually move stuff from the old box to the new one. Naturally, the act of moving it was easy, but the symbolic aspect of the move was deep in my mind and history. As I looked at the old tackle box a flood of memories came rushing back to me. I remembered the first time I got the box at a Walmart that closed at eight o’clock when Walmart was still two words. I remembered the special offer inside the box! I could send away for a nameplate for my new tackle box and I did. I remembered the day it arrived and how I proudly stuck it on the indented spot for nameplates on the top of the box.
As more memories washed in, I had to smile. As proud of that nameplate as I was back then, I can also remember the day it finally fell off and I lost it. I could remember the day I got a scuff on the box next to a fishing pond. In fact each scuff, scratch, and mark had a memory attached to it. The old box is faded now, and I could remember all the days it sat out beside me in the sun. I could remember other scuffs from carrying the box on my bike, hauling it in the back of my grandfather’s old Ford, and even a time or two I dropped it a little too hard near the fishing spots. I could remember hauling it on boats, to lakes, rivers, and streams. I could remember each time my grandfather gave me a lure to place in the box – I was and still am very proud of those old fishing lures. I could remember each time I pulled the fish stringer out for that perfect fish, and each time the line snapped, and I had to dig into the old box for more tackle. I could remember using it all through school and then taking it with me to college. As nearly forty years of fishing memories ran freely through my mind, I closed the box with many of the old lures still in place.
I placed both the boxes back in storage – one ready to go, and one ready to tug at my memories forever-and decided to look to see if my old Plano 6300N was still around. A quick search on E-bay found dozens of them ranging from $10 to about $30. They are now called “vintage” and “Old” tackle boxes. Many of them are marked with the same type of memory marks of scuffs and scratches as mine, and others looked as if they had sat up on a shelf with no use at all. I found myself feeling sorry for the ones that appeared to not be used, and then I was sorry for the ones being sold. The ones that appeared not to be used, missed a lifetime of fun and fishing. As for the ones with the memories, it was sad that someone’s fishing memories had been posted on eBay at a rate of between $10 to $30.
I decided long ago I would not sell my Plano box. In fact, I think I may have decided not to ever sell it after the first fishing trip with it. Somewhere down the line my children may decide to sell the box and that will be okay, because it will not hold the memories for them that it does for me. Maybe…just maybe if I’m lucky though…this new Plano box will become theirs and will hold memories for them. Who knows, in another thirty or forty years, one of my children may be looking back with fond memories at the Plano box that replaced my old 6300N today.