Give a man a fish and he has food for a day, teach a man to fish and he has to buy bamboo rods, graphite reels, monofilament lines, neoprene waders, creels, tackle boxes, lures, flies, spinners, worm rigs, slip sinkers, offset hooks, gore-tex hats, 20 pocket vests, fish finders, depth sounders, radar, boats, trailers, global positioning systems, coolers, and six packs. -Anonymous
I recently had a customer at the Bait House ask me to help him pick out all the gear he would need to fish our area. We started with the obvious gear like, rods and reels, line, weights, hooks, leaders, drop lines, bait bucket, crank baits, and live bait. He then needed an identification guide so he would know what kind of fish he had caught, the size restrictions, and answer the inevitable question, “Can we eat this?” I led him over to our publication rack and showed him the small waterproof guides we had as well as the books we carry. The best of these is a book titled, Sport Fish of the Gulf of Mexico by Vic Dunaway. This is a great guide book that lists and illustrates over 200 fish in the Gulf, their feeding habits, migration routes, and their food value.
Vic Dunaway is a Florida fishing icon. He was a columnist for the Miami Herald for years and then went on to be the founding editor for the Florida Sportsman magazine for three decades. His expertise in catching our local fish is legendary. He also invented the Unit-Knot system of tying hooks to lines. But what most Floridians love is his ability to spin a tale. Here is an example of his work, published in April 1980, in the Florida Sportsman:
Flyfisherman Walton Isaac Cray had been casting along a stream for nearly three hours. Despite his three-hundred dollar custom graphite rod and impeccable custom flies, he had managed to catch only four small bass. Rounding a bend, Cray came upon a barefoot lad wearing tattered overalls and a floppy straw hat. Clutched in the moppet's hand was a broom handle fitted with wrapping twine and a diaper pin. Baiting the giant safety pin with a chicken gizzard, the youngster tossed it into the water, then looked up at the flyrodder and flashed a disarming snaggle-toothed grin from a cherubic mouth surrounded by a sea of freckles. The angler's heart went out to this ill-equipped yet cheerful and determined tot. "Here, son," he said, tendering a five-dollar bill. "Take this money and go buy yourself a decent pole and a can of worms." "Gee, thanks, mister," said the boy, his saucer eyes widening under an unruly mop of flame-red hair. Then, politely, he inquired of the flyfisherman, "You caught anything?" "Only four small bass. How about you?" "Sure have," the waif exulted. "Lookit!" He reached into a grimy burlap bag, previously unnoticed by the older angler, and withdrew from it two other five-dollar bills. "You're the third sucker I caught today!"
The Bait House carries several of Vic’s books that would make a great addition to any angler’s tackle box. We also have a great selection of all the gear that any fisherman would love to find under the Christmas tree. Thanks to all of you that email me at Jim2988@msn.com and as always, Good Luck Out There!
Jim can be found daily at the Bait House - Clearwater Municipal Marina, phone 446-8134
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