Into the Outdoors - Retro Fishing


Let’s start out with some news from the Fish & Boat Commission.  They have announced that trout season will come on April 3rd this year. The mentored youth day will be March 27th.  Pre-season stocking will start on February 15th. With both sucker and trout fishing coming fairly soon, I thought it might be fun to take another look at “retro fishing.”

When I think about it, I know that I probably spend too much time on the Internet, especially during cold weather. Nevertheless, while often rather unproductive, it’s often fun, too. A lot of my net-surfing revolves around hunting and fishing.  Not long ago, I came across a Minnesota-based blog dealing with a wide variety of fishing topics.  One that particularly stands out in my mind is what the author refers to as “retro fishing.”  

The concept itself is really pretty simple. Retro fishing means using old, classic tackle for fishing today.  I found the article to be especially interesting as I participate in this activity myself. It all started a number of years ago when I was rummaging about the attic. Quite frankly, I don’t remember what I was searching for. Anyway, I came across the old fishing rod my parents got me for my tenth birthday.  It’s solid fiberglass.  The model is Montague, and it was made by True Temper. I was actually rather surprised to see it, as I hadn’t thought of it in many years. As often happens to me, I was launched on a trip down Memory Lane. I thought of fishing with my dad, and the closeness we felt during those adventures.  As a teenager, I used it on many fishing expeditions with my buddies. I almost immediately decided that i would fish with the old rod once again.

Although still structurally sound, the old warhorse had fallen victim to the ravages of time.  The guides were in pretty bad shape, and a lot of the thread holding them on was rotted or gone.  After doing some restoration on the cork handle, I took the rod and had the guides replaced.  The guy who replaced the guides also cleaned the crud off the rod itself. When I got it back, it looked great, and was ready to fish.

The next step involved a reel. When I got the rod as a kid, it was equipped with a Zebco 33 spincast reel.  I was happy to learn that the company was still making the 33, and I bought one and installed it on the rod.  I was ready to head off in search of fish.

As I’ve stated numerous times over the years, most of my fishing is done with bait.  My first experiment involved getting a bucket of fathead minnows, a container of worms, and going after panfish. I was really anxious to catch something, and I figured that panfish would cooperate. I was right. I know it may sound dumb, but I don’t know when I’ve been more satisfied with a catch. The fish seemed to taste extra good as well.

The next step backward would come in the use of old lures. On the St. Lawrence River, I caught a small northern pike on an old lure from Herter’s, Inc. that I had bought on e-bay.  As many know, I have always been a fan of Herter’s, and have accumulated quite a collection of their products, even though the company has been out of business for many years.  Using the old lure really added a lot to the overall retro effect.  Nowadays, I use the old rod a lot, although I don’t often risk losing classic, collectible lures the way I once did.  I’ve had some really good luck with that ancient rod.  One summer, I caught one of my biggest ever bass with it at Oneida Lake. There have been many other fish as well.  

If you have the opportunity, give “retro fishing” a try.  I think you’ll be glad you did.


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