Tales from the Cabin
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Tackle Box

A guided tour through one man's life — via his lures

By Paul Sullivan
Published: March 1, 2009
Photo by Paul Sullivan

Hi, everybody, welcome to the Knuckles Lake Convention Center and the first ever public exhibition of “Paul Sullivan’s Tackle Box.” My name is Paul Sullivan, and it’s an honor to be with you here today.

If you’ll follow me please, we’ll start with the Early Years. To your left, that’s a TK 200 red and white bobber made in Hong Kong. I was six when Daddy and my older brother walked up river and left me sitting on the bank with nothing but a cane pole, a shiner and that bobber. When they came back – empty handed I might add – I had a three-pound walleye on the stringer. Daddy was so proud of his little fisherman.

Our next exhibit is a #3 Lazy Ike in brown scale. I caught my first smallmouth bass with that in the Des Moines river at Ft. Dodge, Iowa, where incidentally, Lazy Ikes were hand carved in 1938 by Newel Daniels.

We’re walking; we’re walking now.

To my left in the Lucite cube are two Fred Arbogast Jitterbugs in frog pattern. Look closely and you can see one has a plastic lip; the other, metal. In WWII, metal went into tanks and bombers which means that plastic lip Jitterbug is a hand-me-down from my Grandpa. When the Old Man couldn’t get out anymore, he gave away a lot of his tackle to a grandson he taught to love fishing.

This redheaded jig with a white, deer-hair skirt was made at the Sullivan Jig Manufacturing Company, possibly even by my own hands. After my parents bought a fishing resort in northern Minnesota, Dad decided we could use our winter down time making jigs to sell in our tackle store.

In this hall are the hundreds of musky plugs, spoons and bucktails I used when I suffered Obsessive Compulsive Musky Mania. Yeeeoweee! I was certifiable then. A thousand casts meant nothing to me. But see this little, orange Humpy plug? One summer evening, when I had my OCMM under control, I was trolling for walleyes with it and hooked my biggest ever musky. A real trophy! After it got away, however, I sank back into the dark depths of OCMM until the lakes froze over.

We’re walking. This way please.

Here’s the Fly-Fishing section. By this time in my life, I had caught enough big fish to free myself of OCMM and regain my sanity and sense of self-worth. My late wife, Pat, and I spent many enjoyable hours in pristine mountain streams untangling our flies from the brush.

This concludes today’s tour. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Management wanted me to remind ya’ll to stop in the gift shop on your way out and pick up my latest audio cassette, “Hog Calling for Nightcrawlers: How to Fill Up Your Worm Box for Free.” I give 15 percent of all proceeds to helping find a cure for OCMM. Good fishing everyone.

Paul Sullivan has never met a cabin he didn’t like.  

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