Jim Braaten

Jim Braaten lives near Kenyon, Minn., and has been an avid outdoorsman for more than 35 years. He lives on the family farm that was first settled by his ancestors 152 years ago. He has been an outdoors writer and photographer, and he owns a business producing and marketing calendars.

Overwhelmed by the contents of your tackle box?

Posted by: Jim Braaten under Fishing, Equipment Updated: July 2, 2009 - 6:58 PM

I popped open the cover of my tackle box yesterday and then spent a moment just gazing at the assorted contents.   The question I was reluctant to even ask myself was... "do I really need all this stuff?”   Seriously, over the years my tackle box has become an accumulation of lures, tools, fishing accessories and related knick knacks much of which I’ve reluctantly determined should be more appropriately found in a garage sale grab bag.

Subsequently, over my fishing career I’ve witnessed my tackle box morph from what once resembled a small mechanic’s tool box to now appearing sized more like a jet-setting traveler's suitcase.   Indeed, my current tackle box is big, cumbersome and sorely disorganized with unnecessary clutter — an affliction I’m quite sure many other modern fishermen also share.

In comparison, I thought back to my father’s tackle box from 40+ years ago.   It was a small, rusty ol’ box that contained mostly just the bare essentials likely needed for a day of fishing fun.   No fancy electric hook sharpeners…no digital electronic scales…no hi-tech LED flashlights…no hand-held GPS lake navigational device…not even an electric filet knife.   Not to mention, dad’s tackle box certainly did not include a wide array of lures sporting every color combination contained under the rainbow.

Yet, the old timers caught their fish and likely weren’t severely disadvantaged by the lack of all the modern technology still many years off in development.   The point I’m trying to make is fishing doesn’t have to be as complicated and complex as much of today’s fishing industry has made it.   Sure it’s always fun to use this gizmo or that gadget to seemingly increase your odds of putting fish on the stringer, but the fact is keeping things basic while fishing does not have to be a bad thing, either.

Ron Schara, long-time Columnist on these pages, has lamented and been an outspoken proponent of simplified fishing rules here in Minnesota.   My suggestion is fishermen could take it one step further and carry this simplified concept over to the strategies they employ to catch fish, as well.   I fear many potential newcomers to our angling sport take one look into the sporting goods isles of their local discount store and immediately become bewildered by all the equipment choices available.   These same people then listen to seminar speakers and fishing reports promoting the use of this particular lure or that lure fished in this specific manner.   Great information, indeed…but nevertheless it can also be rather intimidating and daunting for the beginning angler to own all the fishing equipment being touted by the experts.

So, is your tackle box loaded with the sort of fishing gear some of which you seldom use?   Or are you one of the few anglers among us who meticulously culls out lures and equipment that never sees any legitimate fishing use.   I’m not disputing there are times when a certain lure sporting a specific color can dramatically increase your success on the water…but in most instances I contend it’s just not practical for the average angler to carry it all.   I’d like to hear your thoughts on this topic of keeping one's fishing gear less complex. 

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