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How do you whet your itch to fish during winter?
The occasional fisherman
Ernie Mitchell
Ernie Mitchell writes about fishing for the Bryan County News. - photo by File photo

"Many men go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not the fish they are after."

— Henry David Thoreau

When winter hits and it gets too cold and blustery to fish, what do you do in the off-season concerning fishing? That is the question I want to ask everyone this week. Please let me know via email:

Think not only of this last season, but think back over time, even to your childhood.

Here’s my story:

I grew up in a small town in northeastern Ohio. I was blessed to have a creek down the hill in my backyard. It led for several miles to a large lake. But winter there lasted for more than six months. That’s a lot of time to get ready for that first day fishing.

Reading "Field and Steam" and "Outdoor Life" magazines was a good way to learn and dream about fishing. Especially the ads in the back, where you could send for free catalogs.

One of my favorite was Netcraft. Wow, that little catalog was packed with everything a young fisherman would want. Split shots to expensive lures, hooks to bobbers — many things to spend my hard earned snow shoveling money on.

Ironically, years later when my Navy destroyer reached the combat zone of Vietnam, the mail was postage free. All us swabbies who liked fishing and hunting filled the mail bags with catalog requests.

In our basement, the tackle box was cleaned and restocked. Sometimes walking back from school, or while waiting for the newspaper truck dropping off my five-seven papers to deliver, I’d go to Johnson Hardware.

It was in the center of town, they had a little area for local fishing tackle. It was heaven; a way to spend my paperboy money.

The basement was the place to work on the rods and reels, too. Re-line the Zebco and Johnson Century spin-casters. Oh, those bait-casters just backlashed too much – stayed away from them. Ironically, with great improvements in equipment and bass fishing lines, a baitcasting reel is my favorite for bass fishing.

Everything is now ready to go!

Now let me know what you have done in the off-season.

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