As I pored over the dozens of lures that I’ve accumulated in my umpteen years of fishing several thoughts seemed to surface. Looking at the old lures brings back memories of their sources and how they have spent their “lives”. Several have ridden in my truck and/or bass boat for a ridiculous number of miles and have never been wet. Didn’t catch a thing on those lures. You have to get them wet before they have much of a chance of working.
Some of the lures, especially the crankbaits, were the result of having driven many miles to find a shop that had this certain lure. Having traveled many miles to a tournament in some remote lake I’d got the idea that this lure that some successful local angler was using was the only thing that was going to catch my fish on tournament day. Such are the dreams of a competition angler. Seldom worked, but I accumulated a tackle box full of lures that way.
Now all of these lures weren’t failures; some of them have caught quite a number of fish and as I dredged thru the memories trying to decide which ones were successful, a pattern seemed to form. First of all most of the best producers were “name brand” manufactured. These are tried and tested crankbaits that will run “upright and true” when retrieved. Many of the others were copies or made in someone's garage (or China) and usually twist your line and become an aggravation besides being fish-less.
A second observation was that many of the more successful baits were made from wood. The older manufacturers made a lot of hand-carved lures before the advent of lure carving machines that turn them out much faster. Even the wooden lures that were made rapidly with machines couldn’t compete in price with the plastic ones that came a bit later and pretty well took over the industry. The plastic lures have evolved into many variations or shapes and designs but in the end, they all are trying to emulate something that’s edible and attractive to the predator fish. It still seems to me that the older wooden lures excel.
Apparently, there are many other older anglers who feel likewise. I had quite an array of duplicates and unused ones that I listed on e-bay and they sold very quickly. I still have several boxes of others and need to decide their fate. If I sell them I’ll want them back and if I keep them they will collect dust or ride another hundred thousand miles. Life’s just full of big decisions!
Switching subjects but still wandering thru my man-cave inventory. I dug thru some boxes of knives that also hadn’t seen proper cleaning and care for a while. Again, I had some factory made fillet knives with old wooden handles as well as quite a number of handles made from plastic or similar materials. Most of the old wooden handled ones were Rapala made and these seemed to have better materials in the blades. The newer plastic handled models seem to sharpen okay but fail to hold an edge. Just made for mass-marketing rather than extended use.
The opposite of this is an old Buck knife that I’ve had for years that holds an edge great but is very hard to sharpen properly. It’s still my favorite but somewhere in the middle would be a better choice.
In the knives that I make, I seem to gravitate back to wood scales for handles. I use some man-made materials sometimes but still prefer the natural wood. Some of my favorite woods are; Walnut, African Lyptus, Hedge (Osage Orange), Oak, Hickory, Curly maple, African Zebra wood, and some laminates. Leather handles are also a favorite of mine and I need to make some new ones to better perfect my abilities on those. Knifemaking is a continuing education process. I think that’s one of the attractions for me. Just when I think I’ve got something mastered, it all falls apart and It’s time to regroup and start over. Maybe I should take up golf; I’ve been told that’s one of the most frustrating sports in existence. Just kidding, I don’t need more frustrations than I get from blade-smithing.
Just to expand on a Charlie Daniels quote; “IT AIN’T NO RAG” It’s Faith, Family, Freedom and the Flag --- Treat it with the proper respect!