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Tom's Letter: Going for Gold, in Rio and Out on The River

Tom's Letter: Going for Gold, in Rio and Out on The River

I, as with many Americans, had a blast watching the 2016 Summer Olympics during August. It’s great to see a population that disagrees on so many things (for example, in my native Ohio, our preferred NFL team) rally collectively around inspiring champions such as Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky, Simone Biles and others. This American sports fan takes special interest in track and field, reflecting back to my days competing in the same events.

It’s awe-inspiring to watch someone such as South Africa’s Wayde van Niekirk come close to breaking 43 seconds in the 400 meters. I was relatively slow myself, running a similar distance in 52.6 seconds during high school (in my defense, 440 yards was the standard at the time, which is a few meters longer than 400...may have given me a chance over Wayde), regardless, many of the men in the final beat my best in the short event by nearly 10 seconds.

One risks falling into a funk if they dwell upon the natural talent needed for such accomplishments. That’s why fishing is a nice sport for the rest of us: No one is born a great angler. We learn, we practice, we mix up our approach to figure out what gets bites. Unlike running or swimming, there’s no roof on where your natural skills can take you.

My current pursuits more often involve standing in place, and my throwing (I used to throw shotput and discus as well) is more accurately described as “casting.” Fishing is just a slower sport than track and field, and that’s OK. In fact, as this month’s blog posts have focused on, sometimes slowing down is best for anglers, and certainly better for their equipment.

A theme this month has been the improper storage of lures during transport and what kind of damage that can do to your reel, rod and line. The easiest thing to do is just to hook your lure to your reel or any one of the guides, which can damage those pieces and ultimately damage your line as a result. Our first post looked at what habits to avoid to keep your line intact.

After that, as part of our series on independent fishing tool creators, we spoke with Marcus Whitehead about his Lure Tamer, which is a polyurethane container designed to avoid these circumstances. Of course, he damaged more than a rod because of unsafe hooking: His inspiration for the Tamer was a trip to the hospital with a hook snagged on his tendon.

If you want to read about something outside of lure storage, check out “Casting Our Nets Wide,” a new segment where we gather our favorite posts from around the web for your consideration. It features stories on travel, tips and even some philosophy.

We’ll see you in Tokyo, 2020, or maybe next month in this letter.


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