Nebraskaland May 2019

NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.

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36 Nebraskaland • May 2019 Retiring Lures A Mangled Fly Ryan Sparks Who you are fi shing with is often more important than what you catch. From channel catfi sh in the Platte River to panfi shing from a dock, some of my fondest memories are of fi shing with my grandfather, or as I call him, "Papa." By far Papa's favorite fi sh is crappie. He'll be the fi rst to tell you that his love of crappie has more to do with eating than catching. When I was growing up we would fi sh until we had enough to make a meal and then our entire family would gather around a shaded picnic table – aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and close friends – for a fi sh fry lunch of scalloped potatoes, hush puppies, garden watermelon, baked beans and, of course, fried crappie. Later, I moved to Montana for graduate school and taught myself to fl y-fi sh. I'm not sure what Papa thinks of it. He's a faithful subscriber to the belief that live bait will always outfi sh artifi cial lures, so the thought of using a hook lashed with chicken feathers and deer hair doubtlessly seems ridiculous. He's probably right. However, during a spring afternoon on a Cass County farm pond I showed him how eff ective fl y-fi shing can be. I caught so many fi sh the fl y began to fall apart. Its black bucktail frayed, the copper mylar mangled and the thread wore loose. It kept catching fi sh. Eventually, we made calls announcing a fi sh fry the next afternoon. I clipped the fl y and slipped it in my pocket. The next day as we sat down to eat I noticed Papa was hanging back, letting me fry the fi sh and watching dishes being carried to the table. He just leaned against the porch railing and smiled. That's when I realized why Papa really loves crappie – they bring his family together. Most fl ies have elaborate names like Royal Wulff , Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear or Lefty's Deceiver. This home-tied fl y doesn't have a name and it's about as basic as they come: a stout hook, lead eyes, some copper fl ash and a small clump of bucktail. When I look at it I remember Papa smiling and recollect that fi shing is about much more than fi sh. Walleye- Chomped Red Fin Daryl Bauer There are no magic lures that catch fi sh all of the time. Every lure or bait ever made will catch fi sh when used in the right place at the right time. They are all just tools, and the trick is to use the right tool for the job. With that philosophy, I do not retire lures for sentimental reasons. If they are catching fi sh, I want to keep them in the water. Sure, I have a bunch of them that have caught big fi sh, or are special baits for special reasons. But the collection of old, retired lures that hangs on a section of netting in my basement is made of baits with busted lips, mangled bodies, leaks, holes and other major failures. Far too many of them, including some expensive muskie lures, ended up hanging PHOTOS BY JEFF KURRUS Whether they be worn-out, abused, busted, or simply evoke fond memories, some of your favorite fi shing lures sit on a desk, a shelf, or a fi replace mantle – a place of honor for retired lures.

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