Advice from Grandpa: Always use a fishing pole and a wishing pole!

My fishing pole and my wishing pole

In Michigan, in the 1950’s, it must have been illegal to fish with more than one pole at a time, but Grandpa Duffy, who was a very law-abiding man, told me to use two poles “when I could get away with it”.  What he meant by this is that if possible, fish at more than one water level at the same time because not all fish feed in the same way. 

The “wishing pole” was the one that you cast out to the deepest part of the lake that you could reach and weight it so it would stay on the bottom where the biggest Catfish, Carp, and other bottom-feeders dwelt.  If you caught something that you didn’t want to eat, like a giant Carp, you at least had the sport of landing it.  Then you’d throw it back. 

The “fishing pole” was the one that you held in your hand at all time.  You could use a bobber if you liked to keep your bait off the bottom but Grandpa Duffy, and me too, liked to just use what he called “drift lines” where you cast your line out, without a weight, and let it drift so fish would think it is just a floating meal.  Perch, Crappie, Sun Fish, and Bass all feed this way along with many others.

This plan holds true in the ocean as well where Sharks, Rays, Halibuts, and many other fish feed on the bottom and these tend to be bigger fish.  Mackerel, Perch, Croakers, and Sea Bass, among many others prefer bait that is drifting and moving almost as if it were alive.  Using a drift line means staying aware of what is going on, keeping your pole in your hands and watching for every dip in the tip of your rod.  It is a very interactive way of fishing that many fishermen don’t have the patience or energy to deal with which is why I can be standing 10 feet from another fisherman catching fish after fish while they are being shut out.  On many days, I show people how I fish and they still don’t catch anything because they are not interested in putting in the effort needed to fish this way.

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