In Wisconsin winters are long and cold. That goes without saying. We expect it and we always know it’s coming. But we’re still sad when we put our boats away for the winter and think about having to wait it out until April, at least, to get back onto “soft water”.
But at least we have “buying season” to keep us entertained, right? I don’t know about anyone else, but for me this is a great time to… well, buy stuff. As soon as the season ends, I’m making lists of what I need to replenish for next year. Terminal tackle, line, soft plastics. There is no doubt I will need all of these things before the next season starts.
Part of this “buying season”, though, is also “Throwing season.” We all have stuff that we thought we would use the crap out of during the season. As it winds up, we bought four packs each of three different colors, tied one on for three different tournaments, and never even threw it once. Those plastics are going to sit at the bottom of a bin somewhere on the outside chance that we’ll dig them out and use them again some day… I mean actually use them, not just tie them on and throw them in the bottom of the boat without ever even throwing them.
When it comes to that part of “buying season”, I think we should all look around. We should see who might really use that stuff that we bought and never threw. Is there a youth group, a high school team, or just a kid you see at the launch ramp all the time who could use that stuff that you’re about to throw into a bin or a closet somewhere and forget about for a few years? I’m guessing there is a better use for those things we all hang on to and will never use. There is a kid at every launch ramp asking a hundred different questions about fishing. He’ll show you his Zebco 33 or she will tell you about the “one that got away” from that dock just last week.
They are the future of our sport. And I think it makes sense to feed that passion. It makes sense to take a few minutes and help him learn how to cast or to show her how to put a worm on her hook. We all do it. Most of us take that time. So, next time, while we are taking the time to talk to those kids, why not take some of our baits we will probably never use anyway. Let’s face it, we have our confidence baits. Those are what we catch our fish on. But we will still try out other baits. Maybe that bait will become the confidence bait of a 10-year-old at your local park or launch ramp. Why not pull that stuff out of wherever we have it hidden and make sure we have a pack of baits to throw to a kid when we see them? Not only will it make a great connection between our generation and the next… but it will leave us more room for “buying season”! But, honestly, if we have it laying around, chances are really good that there is a kid out there that would love to have just a pack or two of baits of his or her own. And I think we owe it to the future of our sport. I’m going to go look in my “throw away” bin right now… and I hope you do, too.