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One bobber at a time
by John Pederson
Issue 6
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I used to have a tackle box. I remember when I got my own and no longer had to share one with my brother. We would sit on the porch, organizing our lures. I remember the smell of plastic worms and fish attractant that would leave tiny oil spots on the water. Rapalahs treble hooks, and, of course, bobbers of all shape and sizes.

My box actually started as a bobber collection, the hollow plastic ones were all my dad would entrust to me. I graduated to slip bobbers and then to hooks, I still remember my first pack: they were “eagle hooks”, beautiful golden barbs from my uncle—I never took them out of the package.

Each birthday and Christmas made my collection grow more complete, independence seemed to be the goal, autonomy. Our boxes grew larger and larger, “Bass-a-Reinos, wire leaders, compact scissors, everything we needed for the catch of the day. My dad would come from Mills Fleet Farm with an orange bag of the latest fish tackle technology; his boys were to have every advantage in the great sport.

Soon we did it ourselves. We grew less and less dependant on dad’s magic box, as he gave us the tools to do it ourselves. I wish I could go back now and empty my box, throw my lures, my blind search for independence, overboard.

I wish I knew that the time would come when, whether I liked it or not, I would have to bait my own hook, tie my own knots and detangle my own line. I haven’t fished for a long time. But the next time I do I will not take my own tackle box, full childish pride. I will use my dad’s if he will still let me—not because I need to—but because I can.

He taught me to fish knowing I would someday rather hang out with girls, because he filled my box with dreams and tools that would be used to separate us, because I can now fish without him, but would never want to.

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