Mike Jones - KEEPING UP

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Thursday, November 08, 2018
A River Kinda Ran Through It
Friday, November 30, 2018
Log jam

Giving until it hurts
There is one and only one way to get what you really want for Christmas: Buy it yourself.

If you ask for or even slightly encourage fishing tackle as gift options, then you will most likely get exactly what you deserve. No matter how explicitly you spell out the make, model and/or color — in all but the rarest of cases — it will not be what you want. In case you’ve forgotten about the cultural atoll surrounding our little island of fish and frolic, grab a buddy and go deep into a serious angling conversation in front of non-fishing loved ones. See the looks on their faces? We speak a foreign language my friend, one incapable of being accurately translated to disinterested third parties. So, no matter how clearly you’ve spelled things out in a fishing tackle gift scenario, the potential for something being lost in translation multiplies faster than jackrabbits at a fertility clinic.

ASKING A SIGNIFICANT other to give you tackle for Christmas is playing with fire. If you want to be sure to get what you want, suggest a gift card.

Even if your significant other dutifully tries to acquire the requested item, mistakes can be made. Left-hand retrieve instead of right-hand retrieve. Medium action instead of medium/heavy action. Green sparkly thing instead of putrid pumpkin/motor oil blend with colossal chartreuse tri-color holographic flake. Worse yet, your best efforts can be circumvented in nanoseconds by a chance encounter with another fisherman. Most likely, your loved one will cross paths with your brother-in-law who, when he begins sharing his gift-giving advice, will have conveniently forgotten your heated conversation last Fourth of July, the one where you so eloquently expressed your preference for the Mega 7 Mark IV and how you — or anyone in their right mind — would never, ever, settle for anything less.

And don’t think my gift-giving moratorium stops at the high-end stuff. Fishing theme socks, man cave signs or laser-etched “Game fish of the World” beer steins are all what I consider gateway gifts. These generally small and less costly choices, insidiously placed in the “stocking stuffer” category, do nothing other than crack the door ever so slightly to lay wide the path for future transgressions. This is ground zero for misguided holiday gift giving.

In this debate, if you choose to be the devil’s advocate, be my guest. When you’re reciting the old slogan about it being the thought that counts and whatnot, just remember this: If lightning strikes and they actually start buying the cool stuff you really want, they’re going to know just how much the really cool stuff costs. Let that sink in. When it’s not Christmas and the holiday spirit has been packed away for another year, the steady stream of packages on your doorstep in July may not be viewed quite so warmly as they were over eggnog in December.

If this sounds as unsolvable as the Seven Bridges of Konigsberg (Google it), I beg to differ. There is a way out and it is a perfectly acceptable gift-giving alternative: the gift card. Of course, you should have the preferred company and phone number already jotted down on a Post-It Note. In my case, it would be the 1-800-300-4916 number of Tackle Warehouse if for no other reason than I live in California and I can get the best thing that ever happened to fishermen in the history of fishing — Overnight Golden State shipping. And, if there isn’t a Nobel Prize for this there should be. In my long ago wildest dreams, I never once considered calling in an order from my boat one day and having it magically appear on my doorstep the next. Plus, they’ve usually got everything I need, not to mention they’re located in San Luis Obispo which, after all, is near Cal Poly where I went to school.

See what I did there? I personalized the gift card by finding a heartfelt, some might say “flimsy” connection to my former Central Coast community. Whatever the case, I didn’t make the gift card sound like an impersonal piece of plastic. A little emotion always helps so I suggest watching the last scene of “Field of Dreams” right before making your gift card request. Works every time.


NEED A REAL PRESENT to open Christmas morning? You can’t go wrong with ICAST Best of Show Lure Lock tackle trays or better yet, a Lure Locker. These are the ones with the proprietary Elastak gel liner that holds lures and terminal tackle in place.

If you’re still unconvinced, I understand. But like the steak knife infomercials, just wait because there’s more. As the sun rises and sets, I‘m certain your better half will trot out the oldest gift-giving argument since Eve handed over the apple which is that you need some real presents to open Christmas morning.

With Lure Lock tackle boxes, I’ve got you covered. These are the ones with the proprietary Elastak gel liner that holds lures and terminal tackle in place. Aside from the obvious benefit in preventing those tackle spills that make life seem hardly worth living, the Lure Lock system prevents the constant shifting and rattling of gear in boats and cars. Hooks stay sharper and lures don’t morph into one interconnected mass of plastic and trebles. Built tough enough to be stepped on, a Lure Lock box is bulletproof in other ways. The gel does not react to moisture or heat, it can be washed clean with soap and water, air dries quickly and will not affect lure finishes. For these reasons alone, Lure Lock has improved upon the basic concept of tackle boxes. But of course, there’s more.

Amid an ocean of pet peeves, the one long awaiting a solution has been with those plastic tackle box dividers. You know, the ones that require a collection of nippers, scissors, box cutters files and sandpaper to prepare them for use. I know it sounds like a very big complaint for a very small item, but the lingering question has always been, “Why does it have to be this way?” Apparently, it didn’t. In perhaps proving they left no stone unturned in their overall design, the Lure Lock team developed strong, no-warp, stay in place dividers that snap apart easily and leave clean, smooth edges that won’t slice your casting thumb. They got Best of Show at ICAST 2018 for the entire Lure Lock concept, but in my mind, they could have won for the dividers alone.

Now, here’s where this grand holiday plan all comes together. You don’t have to settle for one or two Lure Lock boxes. Ask for a Lure Locker that comes with five boxes (small, medium or large) and a rather slick grid system that clamps them together for easy transport and storage. If you accompany this request with a casual observation that the tackle boxes are sold empty, the one you love more than life itself will be more accepting of the lure wish list you’ve already emailed, texted and downloaded to all her media platforms. Even if you have to fend off that one final protest of “I can’t ask Aunt Mary to buy you a pack of Sierra Slammers”, fear not. REI carries some seriously nice socks in the Darn Tough lineup. As for the Slammers, I’ll buy my own.





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