Ok. So the title of this post is quite alarmist. Don’t worry. Nobody I know died. But I did lose a friend. She was a 5 foot 5 inch Berkley Cherrywood light rod paired with a snall Quantum spinning reel. I lost her in the truest sense of the word. I left her behind in a parking lot in my haste to get to work after an unexpectedly late-running fishing trip. I canvased the area the night afterwards, but she was nowhere to be found, which I expected, as it was a high-traffic area. I hope whomever picked her up gives her a good home and treats her well.
The rod was handed down to me. Not from anyone I know, either. My brother’s coworker gave him a bunch of old gear he no longer used, and Fish Glove, being a magnanimous brother, divvied it up amongst his siblings. The bulk of the gear was 6+ foot medium action rods paired with medium or large spinning reels. The little red rod (she was 5’6″ at the time) looked comical in next to all the shit-kicking gear meant for monster bass and northern. I secretly hoped neither of my brothers had an eye for it, as I wanted it desperately. It didn’t take me long after I began fishing to realize that I much preferred light line, small baits and finesse presentation to the more aggressive style often associated with bass fishing. Sure, I’ve got big bass on frogs and huge spinners and crankbaits, but I’ve got just as big and just as many big bass with 4″ finesse worms on 4# line. Beyond that, I’ve got slab crappie and bluegill on 1/32 oz feather jigs and 24 inch carp with a wheat bread ball the size of a pea with the same light rod and light line.
The idea of versatility has always been important to me. You see fishermen on tv and talk to ones in real life who are so specific. They have a rod for topwaters, they have a rod for trolling, they have a rod for cranks, they have a rod for plastics. That’s all well and good, but if you walk into my garage right now, you will see nothing but borrowed and hand-me-down gear. I’ve purchased one new reel for myself since the original Shakespeare “catch more fish” combo that got me started on this whole thing 2 years ago next month. I’m not rife with expendable income, so I need something that can multitask. That little rod opened up a lot of water and species to me that I otherwise wouldn’t have targeted. Indeed, it made it possible for me to enjoy what is now my favorite type of fishing, wading small creeks.
Which brings us to Tuesday of this week. I stopped at one of my favorite creeks on my way to my night job. It was the first hot day we have had this year, and I knew the cold torrent of water would not only feel refreshing but would be holding fish. I come to this creek for smallmouth, but it has been a crappie haven all season so far, and Tuesday night my second fish was easily my personal best crappie, bigger than ones I had been pulling from the Fox River proper all April. I’ve come to love crappie, and have probably pulled at least 50 of varying sizes from ponds, lakes, creeks and the river this spring. They’re fun, they fight and I would never have learned that if not for my light rod.
The loss of this rod has been a huge bummer. Not just because it had a lot of sentimental value to me, but because, financially speaking, I just cannot replace it. It was small enough for me to take into tight spaces and cast. It was small enough for Grace to use. It was an important possession and I left it laying in a parking lot because I was in a hurry to get to work and I miss it.
Here are some pics of my favorite fish I caught on my old Berkley and Quantum.