The good news about today is that it signals the end of January. This month resembled Januarys of long ago when winters were much harsher. Still, we should be thankful that we dodged a fish-killing freeze.
Thursday, the warming temperatures were offset by strong southerly winds, which I am afraid are going to be the fisherman’s nemesis in weeks to come rather than bitter cold weather.
Like many of you, the urge to wet a line is driving me crazy and to help get my fix for fishing, I gave in to Polly’s persistent requests for me to clean out my tackle room. Actually, it turned out to be a pleasant experience as I came across items I had forgotten about.
One of my old tackle boxes dates back to the late 1950s and is a metal Old Pal brand that was given to me while in elementary school.
While most of the tackle was designed for pier fishing, one item caught my attention — a can opener, or church key as they later were called, with Grand Prize Beer printed on it.
Old-timers recall that canned drinks back then came in tin cans and required a special opener. It reminded me of the day I lugged a heavy metal ice chest to the fishing piers and enjoyed golden-age strawberry sodas while fishing.
Other items that brought back memories were a metal fish stringer, circa 1955, and Heddon and Fred Arbogast lures, especially the famous jitterbug and Hula Popper. Neither lure ever had a hit, although they were used many times at the Herman Park Lake across from the Houston Zoo.
The journey continued through boxes of tackle that provided a visible history of my fishing, including my early days offshore.
I suppose the one thing that surprised me the most was an old Gulf Oil Company fishing map of the jetties. While it is barely legible, it lists the fish caught along the various sections of both jetties. Among them were Jew fish, pickerel and tarpon. The map was free and given out at Heights Tackle House in Houston.
Unfortunately, very little was thrown away, which was not what my better half had in mind.