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A hobby becomes an obsession - Tamara Boatwright

It was supposed to be a hobby that my husband and I could enjoy together. I, however, became obsessed.

It started out simple enough. A SpongeBob Square Pants rod and reel (the adult size, of course) and a plastic container of "pan fish" lures, line and hooks.

But oh no, that wasn't enough. A visit to a store that specializes in fishing equipment fed my obsession. Soon I was watching fishing shows on Saturday morning and plotting my approach to catching that perfect bass or that 2-pound crappie.

Instead of doing my nails, shopping for shoes or other girlie things, I was re-rigging my rods and reels. I sorted hooks, weights, jigs and worms (some are scented with garlic that fishing experts say pan fish love). I bought a casting plug and stood on the deck practicing for hours.

I was hooked. (Pardon the pun.)

Fishing isn't something new to me. My daddy and I spent many hours on the shore of area lakes during my childhood. I had a cane pole, a little hook and a red wiggler offering himself to the fish gods. I even have a scar on my right hand from being hooked by someone who thought they had landed a fish but instead were firmly planted in the tendon of my thumb.

But fishing as an adult took on a whole new meaning. My SpongeBob rod and reel was soon joined by a lovely gold Zebco rod and reel, a Shakespeare Ugly Stick and a reel that I am embarrassed to say how much it cost. I have a tackle box full of all sorts of hooks, green line, clear line, white line in all different strengths, jigs, flies, plastic worms (scented and unscented) and a pack of pre-hooked plastic shad that was advertised as "what a fish wants to eat."

I even recently traded in my gas sipping car for a gas guzzling truck that can pull the john boat we just bought. (It was used and inexpensive.)

In the last two weeks I have been out on the lake nearly every afternoon.

So, what of all this marvelous equipment and my oh-so-wonderful skill at casting?

The one and only bass I have caught was on a crappie hook using a dime-a-dozen grub worm while I was standing on the shore. My prize 2-pound crappie was caught using the very inexpensive SpongeBob rod and reel and a squirming red wiggler. My expensive pre-hooked shad was pulled off the line by a rather large turtle who took it and the line under a log. Bye, bye plastic, pre-hooked, fancy-smancy plastic "what a fish likes to eat" shad.

So Saturday afternoon as SpongeBob, a red wiggler and I reeled in my prized crappie n which I promptly released n I had an epiphany. Simple is almost always the best.

So the fancy tackle box will stay at home. SpongeBob will soon be joined by a cane pole and red wigglers, and grub worms will replace the pre-hooked shad and garlic scented plastic bait.

At least for a while. I saw a guy reel in a 12-pound bass on TV with a special little jig that rattles and is on sale at that big fishing store.

Ohhhhh weeeeee!

Tamara Boatwright is the managing editor of the News Daily and Daily Herald. She may be reached at (770) 478-5753 ext. 272 or at tboatwright@news-daily.com.