Many times while walking along a stream, I meet people who haven’t the faintest idea how to catch a fish.
They are doing things such as using a No. 2 hook and a 2-ounce sinker while fishing for blue gills. Or at least they are fishing in water where bluegills are the predominant fish. In most instances, they are accompanied by a child.
I suspect momma told the father to take the son fishing.
With that in mind, I pack three bags with an assortment of things for different styles of fishing and for various types of fish.
In one bag are lures and hooks for crappies. In this particular bag, you will find an assortment of hooks and split shots. The hooks are No. 8s. Forget those tiny hooks; crappie have a large mouth and anything larger won’t fit in the bluegill mouth when they occasionally hit the lure.
Also in this bag are an assortment of floats.
Of course, few fish are caught with a bare hook, so there are various jigs and plenty small curly tailed grubs under two inches in length.
The reason for taking a good supply is you are never sure which color the fish will want on a particular day. Also, there will probably be a few that are gabbed by tree branches. There are always some trees decorated with enough of my floats that they look like Christmas trees.
There are some jigs and a few flies in the bag as well, just in case.
An optimist also has a fish bag tucked away with the other necessities.
And I don’t want to forget the hemostats to remove hooks from the fish’s mouth. I’ll also have a pair of pliers or a leatherman to squeeze split shot.
The second bag is set up for trout fishing. This shoulder bag also is loaded with No. 8 hooks and split shot. The hemostats and leatherman are there as well. But instead of the curly tailed grubs, the primary lure is a good supply of spinners.
A rule of mine is to never go fishing without more than one prime lure. If that lure is producing, you will surely lose it to a rock or nearby tree.
All of our local trout waters are home to a lure once belonging to me.
As far as using spinners, your hands stay much cleaner when using them rather than worms.
If I could fish year-round using just one lure, it would be a spinner, though I would use three different varieties.
Roster Tails are high on the list, but I occasionally use a Panther Martin or an old, outdated lure called a CP Swing.
About 50 years ago, I learned to catch fish on a spinner using this lure. It is a rare day when I’ll be caught fishing for trout using something else.
Don’t get me wrong, when I’m fishing local lakes, I’ll use Power Bait. The same can be said about fishing the water below the Youghiogheny tailrace near Confluence.
My third bag is full of things for general fishing.
Those plastic worms are in it for summer bass fishing. There are also some No. 6 hooks and a few even larger than that for local farm ponds and the river.
It also holds sliding sinkers and spinner bait lures. When fishing bigger lakes such as Pymatuning or Piedmont lakes, bass lures are hit by the occasional muskie or pike.
Of course, I carry a pole that is a bit heavier for muskie and larger hooks for bigger fish such as the muskie.
Over the years, I decided what is needed for each occasion. By separating the equipment and creating three bags, I can just grab one, pick up a fishing buddy and be ready to go.
While it’s not perfect, it does work.
George H. Block writes a Sunday Outdoors column for the Observer-Reporter.