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My fishing poles. Or: This guy has way too much time on his hands...

3-pole permit - Kansas fishing license.

3 pole permit stamp - Kansas fishing license.

    I have seven fishing poles. I know that seems like a lot, especially since under Kansas law I can only have three of them in the water at any given time. Having extra poles means you spend less time swapping lures if the lure you're using isn't working. You can also loan a pole to somebody if they don't have one. I fished for a lot of years in North Texas where they didn't have this three pole permit (or at least they didn't then). Two poles were all anyone could legally have in the water at any time. You put one on the bottom with catfish bait and you cast the other on top with little spoons and jigs, or maybe spinnerbaits, or maybe live minnows and a float. It was an efficient system. It's even more efficient now that I can use three poles. My options have multiplied considerably.

    I'd probably only have three poles today except I ran across a garage sale where a guy was getting rid of all of his fishing gear (why, I don't know and didn't ask), and I bought four of his poles for a dollar each. These aren't high-end fishing poles, but the reels cleaned up well (minor repair work fixed one of them) and I re-strung them with new fishing line so they should have quite a bit of use left in them.

Shimano AX2000 spinning reel. My favorite reel. It has a right hand cranking handle and a 5.2:1 gear ratio, combined with a six-foot Abu Garcia "Harold Ensley" signature series fiberglass spinning rod.     My main fishing pole has a Shimano AX2000 open-face spinning reel with a "Quickfire II" release, right hand handle and a 5.2:1 gear ratio, and a six foot Abu Garcia "Harold Ensley" signature series fiberglass spinning rod. I've had it for nearly ten years and I hope I have it for ten more. That's how much I like it. I use this rod and reel to fish artificial lures like spinners and spoons, or anything else that needs to be constantly moved through the water. It's a reliable reel with a smooth, precise action coupled with a six-foot fiberglass pole that's sturdy enough for even big catfish. If I ever lose this rig, or less likely, break it beyond repair, I plan on getting another one just exactly like it to replace it. My brother David gave me this pole for my birthday so it's got that sentimental thing going for it too.

The line up - Mug shots of my fishing poles.

Zebco 404 spincast reel.     This is one of the garage sale poles that I picked up for a dollar each a few years ago. It's a Zebco 404 spincast reel on a five-foot generic fiberglass pole. I have this one strung with twelve-pound test and a number eight fish hook and use it mainly for catfishing on the bottom.

Zebco 202 spincast reel.     Another garage sale pole and another Zebco. This one is a Zebco 202 spincast reel and I have it set up with the same twelve-pound test fishing line with a one ounce sinker for fishing stinkbait on the bottom.

Another Zebco 202 spincast reel.     The second Zebco 202. When I was a kid, these Zebco closed face reels were about all you saw and I grew up using them. They're sturdy and extremely reliable. As long as you keep the gears clean and give them a drop of oil every now and then, those old Zebco reels will last forever. I don't use this one much, even though it's in good shape. Got it at the garage sale. I get lots of stuff at garage sales.

Zebco Z20 spincast reel.     Zebco Z20. I've got this one rigged with a red and white float and a #6 hook for dangling night crawlers or minnows two or three feet below the surface when I fish for bass or crappie. Another of my garage sale bargains.

Shakespeare Firebird.     Shakespeare Firebird. Great casting reel fixed to a stout five-foot fiberglass rod. I've got a swivel tied off on the end of six-pound fishing line and use it, along with the Shimano, to fish for bass and crappie. I bought this one at a major National retailer a couple years ago for less than twenty bucks.

Shakespeare SC-52.     The second of two Shakespeare brand reels that I own. This one is the SC-52. I've been trying to remember all afternoon where I got this rod and reel but I can't. It just seems to have always been there. For a long time I had this fishing pole and my Shimano rig and that was it. I was a two pole guy.

Now I'm a seven pole guy.

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