DNR: shaken by the years | News, Sports, Jobs

Courtesy Photo An old bait casting reel with a fishing scene engraved on the side of Daddy’s old collection of fishing tackle.

When I was little, I remember my father had two fishing rods and reels that he liked that I was not allowed to touch.

One was to throw worms into streams and streams for speckled trout, brown trout, and rainbow trout. It was an old bait-casting rod that was bright white, with yellow, black, and red coils that held the silver guides in place.

The spool was silver and had a thick black line that looked like a shoelace. The chrome on both sides of the reel was etched with a cool scene of two anglers in a boat, one with a fish on its line and the other putting a net in place.

The reel handles had a swirling pattern of dark brown on a reddish brown background. I was fascinated by this coil, and still am. I have spent more than a few times studying the craftsmanship of the coil, turning it, side to side, in my hand.

When the line is pulled out, with the drag set, the spool clicks which I must have heard hundreds of times, if not more. I find the sound very comforting. I think it has to be deep in my being.

Some of my earliest memories of fishing include these types of reels that my mom and dad both used. My mom used to fish and hunt partridge with my dad back when we had an old white Chevrolet Impala from the 1960s.

The second fishing rod my dad had was a larger strength yellow Eagle Claw rod used to fish Lake Superior from shore. In the fall, the rod would be used for angling for coho and chinook salmon in local tributaries to the large lake.

My dad and his fishing buddy, a co-worker friend from his work at the post office, also caught lake trout and the occasional speckled trout that tossed Little Cleos from the rock ledges along those cold, deep waters.

They often went fishing, but I was never allowed to go with them. Most of the time it was because I was in school when they went out on Thursdays, my dad’s day off.

I remember often having high hopes. I used to think that I should have had a reprieve from school for the obviously important and sacred activity of trout and salmon fishing.

No dice, kid.

Beyond school, I think my dad needed some quiet time fishing away from his job and the pressures of a household with a wife and four children. I can see this more easily now than I did then.

The reel he used for this more substantial fishing rod, although still considered intermediate, was a Garcia Mitchell 306 open-cast reel. It was a reel first released in 1958, with a Similar version 307 left-handed for left-handed people – like me.

I remember thinking that this reel looked huge to me as a young child – like it could carry a shark.

I was used to the basic simplicity of a Zebco 202 rod and reel combo. These rods were inexpensive and available at the hardware store coast to coast a few blocks from our home downtown .

The rods were anything but child-proof, prone to easily breaking or breaking their tip guide in the most basic disasters to children, like getting the stick stuck in the spokes of the wheel. your bike or accidentally slipping the stem. point on the asphalt when you get to the creek.

Thirteen years ago this month my father passed away.

Since then I have put his Eagle Claw rod and reel in storage, never used it once. I still have his baitcasting reel too, but I don’t know what happened to the rod that came with it. He hasn’t had it for the last few years of his life.

I never would have thought of using the baitcasting reel. It’s too precious for me. It’s like an old pocket watch or a compass, something with the mechanical secrets and craftsmanship of a bygone era.

He still wears the thick black line and the engraved fishing scene still shines.

Recently, after much agony, I decided that my dad probably wanted me to use his fishing rod now that he didn’t need it anymore.

I took it out for a Lake Superior casting, along with a former co-worker.

I removed the old fragile line and replaced it. I attached the reel to another rod, leaving the eagle claw at home on the fishing rack. I would be crushed if I damaged it in any way.

Everything worked fabulously. The reel was working fine, throwing my lure deep into the lake, then sliding it gently and deep on the retrieve.

All afternoon I never had a bite to eat, but it had been a long winter, already a long 40s and a glorious afternoon in the sun.

Before heading home, my friend and I worked the mouth and remote expanses of one of the tributaries, looking for an early, hungry spring rainbow trout.

Once again, things were going wonderfully.

And then, unexpectedly, the line got stuck under the spool and wound around the reel shaft. I hate when it happens.

I had to unscrew the cap shaft to lift the spool and unwind the line. When I did, the cap slipped through my fingers and fell to the floor. Like a camera lens cap, I well remember a bridge in Ontonagon County, it rolled a long, slow roller before falling into the river.

The cap sank out of sight, as well as the glow of the idea of ​​using my dad’s fishing reel. I felt like an idiot. I also felt sorry.

At home, I decided to search Ebay for a replacement part for the reel. I found not only a spool, with a drive cap attached, but it also came with an original manual for the spool. The cost was only $ 12.

I figured the reel probably hadn’t been properly greased or oiled by who knows when. I had no idea the manual would show me exactly how to do this, with pictures and everything.

So, while I was waiting for the postman, I found a great tutorial on YouTube showing me the steps to follow. I was proud to take this coil apart, learn it, and dig up the old grease, which looked more like Bit-O-Honey candy than gear lube.

I resorted to the help of the Mool and the Tater – my stubborn twin stepdaughters – to help me clean and dry the parts after I took the spool apart.

I was able to wind the spool up using the video, except for one small step that was missing because the man in the video moved his hand out of view of the camera, just at the wrong time.

So I waited a few more days for the spool and manual to arrive. I was so excited to receive this box in the mail. However, the excitement was short-lived when I realized the seller forgot to include the manual. An email and a few days later it arrived as beautifully as the Queen Mary.

The Mool and I put the coil back together. I think it was a great time spent for both of us. Now cleaned and restored, the reel spins freely and is ready for the next adventure.

Although I felt so embarrassed that I dropped the top of the reel, the experience that followed showed me things that I didn’t expect.

In a very tangible way, I realized the respect I still have for my father and his old fishing reel. I still felt responsible for fixing something that wasn’t mine to break.

I felt my love for my dad as I took the time and care to disassemble, grease and repair the fishing reel. I felt that I still honored her, while passing this example on to my young daughter-in-law.

It’s strange how life has lessons to teach even after you are gone.

Check out previous presentations of DNR stories in our archives at Michigan.gov/DNRStories.

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