Lacking fishing gear? Get creative
Do you have reoccurring fishing dreams like I do? The dream always begins by spotting gigantic fish of all different species in the water. Sometimes they are in a lake, stream or even a pond. I am usually without a rod so I reach into the water pulling the fish out with my bare hands. I wake up disappointed after realizing it’s just a dream. It’s the same feeling I get when I have dreams of finding money.
I visited a dear friend of mine from college, Courtney Laskey, who resides on Lake Winnebago. We chatted on a bridge in her backyard that arched over a channel from the lake. The terrible lake flies were fewer on the bridge, which gave us a chance to talk without one flying into our mouths.
That day my fishing dream turned into reality. Actually, it felt more like a nightmare since I did not have any fishing gear. This was reality. I could not simply reach in and pull out the enormous bass and crappie I saw a few feet away. After spotting the large fish while standing on the bank I begged Courtney for a rod and reel.
“Let me see if I can find any in the shed,” Laskey said.
She came out with an old dusty pole with a rusty fishing hook dangling from the line. The line was old and a little discolored. Even though the gear appeared to be shabby, I felt grateful. I had a chance. I ran to my SUV – surely I would have some sort of jig in my trunk or on the floor. No such luck.
So there I stood with my rusty, weightless rig wondering what I could do to hook the lunkers within sight. Courtney came out of her house with a small glass bowl of blueberries and a piece of American cheese.I knew the idea of using either for bait was preposterous, but I was determined to catch a fish. This all brought me back to my ill-equipped youth. My brother and I would use anything we could find in the fridge to catch fish.
I used a blueberry as a weight and molded a ball of American cheese for bait. I casted hard, yet my rig traveled a disappointing distance. Of course, the fish were not interested. So I did what any other normal person would do – I pleaded with Courney for a small shovel and a piece of her flower garden with hopes of finding some nightcrawlers. I wanted to catch a fish like never before. The challenge felt frustrating, yet delightful. At last, I found a few crawlers. I only had a few minutes left to fish since Laskey had to leave for a concert in Milwaukee. On the last cast, a crappie grabbed my bait. As I reeled in the smallest crappie, I shouted, “This is the best fish I ever caught!” Laskey gave me a funny look and appeared surprised that the tiny crappie was the best fish I had ever caught. I explained that it certainly wasn’t my biggest catch, but rather the biggest challenge of catching a fish without my regular gear. If I would have had my lures, I would have caught one of the lunkers, I just know it. Perhaps they will be there again on my next visit. Only now I travel with a small emergency tackle box and two piece rod. Just in case.