May 10, 2018

Bobby’s Tackle Box

By: Scott Ehricke

I received an email from a young boy interested in going on a guided trip with me.

He told me he’d seen me on television and visited my website several times, and that he was saving money from cutting lawns and helping out around home so he could fish with me. He asked me how much the trip would cost, and I told him it was $225 for a 5-hour trip.

The young boy told me he had only about half the money and would call me when he had the rest. I didn’t give it too much thought. I receive a lot of email from people inquiring about guided trips out on Lake Winnebago.
Well, about two months later, I receive a call from this young boy, telling me he has the $225 and wanted to book a trip. I looked in my book and discovered I had an opening in just a few days. He checked with his parents, then said he would book it.

I asked him who was coming along since the guided trip accommodated two people. He replied his parents had to work that day, and he would ride his bike to the boat landing and meet me at 7 a.m. I checked with his father, and his dad said it would be fine.
The day of the trip arrived, and there was Bobby all smiles from ear to ear and ready to fish for walleye. We jumped in the boat and headed out to fish the west shore reefs on Lake Winnebago. It was not too long and Bobby had a fish on. He was so excited to be in what he called a “cool boat” and actually catching fish.

He asked me almost every possible question he could think of the whole time we were out there. This young boy was truly in paradise and was a die-hard for sure. He had a lunch packed, but never once did he stop fishing for a sandwich or a soda – the kid just kept fishing. He told me he was now going to save up some more money and go to the store and buy some lures like me and some fishing poles like I own. I told him it may take a lot of lawns to cut to buy some of this stuff, and he just laughed and kept on fishing.
We ended up the morning with a limit of nice walleyes and a few bonus perch tossed in for good measure, and headed back to the landing. I tossed his bike in the back of the truck and drove him to my house where I clean all the fish for my customers. He walked into the garage and was in awe as he saw all the pictures of my past customers and all the fishing gear in the garage.

He once again started in with a million questions. I answered every one of them the best I could. This kid just loved the whole scenario. After snapping a few pictures and hanging his picture on the garage door, cleaning up his fish and putting them in his backpack, I told him I had to get ready for my afternoon trip. He asked what time I would be home later that night. I replied that I would be here about 8 p.m. He wanted to ride his bike back over to see what we caught that afternoon, and I told him, “Sure, if it’s alright with your folks.” He paid me for the trip and drove off on his bicycle.

Sub: The enthusiasm of a child
I took my afternoon clients out on the lake and we jigged the reefs some more. In no time we had a nice limit of fish for them. I could not keep any fish in the afternoon because I already had my five from the morning trip. I think we ended up with about 40 walleye in that afternoon trip and a few other fish tossed in. We finally had to quit and headed back.

I took my clients to my house, and to my surprise, there was Bobby just waiting to see what we caught. He jumped in the boat and asked if he could get the fish out of the live well. I told him sure. He then started to explain to my afternoon clients how “we” clean fish and where “we” fished and showed my clients everything in the garage, including his picture and what pole he used in the morning. My clients couldn’t believe how excited this kid was and how much he just loved to fish.

I went into the house to rinse off their fish and package them up. I thanked my clients for coming and they left to head home. Bobby was still there and wanted to know what “we” were going to do next. I told him “we” have to clean up the boat and get it ready for tomorrow. He helped me do it all. He washed windshields, vacuumed the floor, cleaned out live wells – the whole bit. I don’t think the boat was ever that clean.
As he was cleaning the boat I went into the house and found a brand new small tackle box and filled it up with some lures, bobbers, hooks and some basic things for him to take home. I also placed his envelope of loose coins and wrinkled up dollar bills from mowing lawns back into the bottom of the tackle box.

It was getting pretty dark outside, so I offered Bobby a ride home. We loaded up his bicycle into the back of the truck and headed over to his house only a few blocks away from my own. When we arrived at his house, I told him I had a few things for him to take home. I dropped the tailgate and took his bike out, then handed him a brand new tackle box filled with everything. I also gave him one of my rods and reels. He couldn’t believe it.

Bobby put his bike away and came out to grab the tackle box and rod and reel. I told him not to open the tackle box until he was back inside the house. He agreed. He called for his mom and dad to come see his new pole and new tackle box, and then kindly said “Thank you” to me. I told him, “Thank you for helping me all day,” and drove back home.
I can only imagine what went through that young boy’s head when he opened that tackle box and saw all the lures, bait, line and tackle, as well as his hard-earned money on the bottom of it all. Lastly, I placed a note in the bottom of the tackle box that read:

Dear Bobby,
Thank you so much for reminding me what it is like to go fishing, have fun and act like a kid again. You were the guide today.

Axl (Scott)