Rob Phillips: Trip to thrift store provides inspiration to cull some fishing, hunting gear | Outdoors and Recreation

I wandered into a thrift store the other day. I’m not sure why, because I’m not a big shopper for anything, but particularly used items.

That’s because I already have plenty of used items. If you were to walk into my shop, garage and tool shed, you would be of the belief they are storage facilities for one or more of the local second-hand stores.

I don’t need any more stuff. So, my journey in to check out the shelves of the thrift shop was definitely not a thing I commonly do.

On this day though, for some reason, I thought it would be interesting to use the offerings in the fishing and hunting gear section. As it turned out, while they had some items in those categories, particularly clothes and boots, there was nothing of real interest to me, so off I wandered to do something else to take up a little more non-fishing time.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am sure there are some unbelievable finds in some of the second-hand stores and thrift shops.

I did a story a couple of years ago on local duck decoy collector Milt Cobb, who found a rare and very valuable decoy in a second-hand store.

The lesson here is, if you are looking for something unique and valuable, have some knowledge about what you seek.

I have very little knowledge about anything, including used items, but I do know what kind of fishing rods I like, so occasionally I’ll watch the listings on the marketplace sites on the internet to see what might be out there for sale. So far, I haven’t found anything I needed, or more correctly, wanted.

A couple friends of mine enjoy hitting the local estate sales that pop up throughout the year. They have found some good items, and sometimes will bring me an old reel or fishing rod they have discovered, thinking, since I like to fish, and the fishing rod was only four dollars, I might like it.

Hey, it’s the thought that counts, right?

I just don’t have the get-up-and-go to do the whole estate sale or yard sale deal. Again, I am sure there are some good finds waiting at some of these sales, but the thought of pawing through dozens of old tackle boxes looking for that rare 1930s fishing lure just doesn’t do it for me.

Many years ago, when I was helping on a giant rummage sale the local Rotary Club was putting on, I found an old duck decoy (a leather one, not nearly as old and rare as Milt’s) and an old wicker fishing basket, and bought those. I thought they would make neat decorations in my office, and for the next 30 years, that is where they were displayed.

Both items might have some monetary value, but to me, they are just neat to look at, and it made the place where I spent over a third of my life more comfortable. After seeing the old decoy and fishing basket, another friend brought me an old bamboo fishing rod with an antique single-action reel attached to it and I added it to my office décor.

A couple of months ago yet another friend (let’s see, that is four different friends. I actually have four friends. Nice.) called me and asked if I might be interested in looking at some of his fishing gear.

He had sold his boat and was at a point in his life that his future fishing would be with a guide or good friends who would provide all the necessary equipment. So, he was wanting to clean out his garage by selling some of the gear he was no longer going to use.

I certainly didn’t need another fishing rod, fishing reel or tackle box, but I did end up buying a number of items. The rods and reels were in excellent shape, and the lures and other tackle were well cared for.

So, I grabbed a couple armloads of stuff and added them to my already extensive collection.

Again, not that I needed the gear, but several of the items I got from him are now the first I turn to when I head out fishing. I hope that makes my friend feel good about selling me the gear. It is getting put to good use for sure.

At some point, and that point is getting closer every year, I will need to make the same decision about all of my fishing and hunting stuff. Well, maybe not all of it.

I think my sons will want to have some of their old man’s gear. But there are a number of fishing rods, reels, tackle and other items that they aren’t going to want, and honestly, I could and should start getting rid of them now.

Some of it rarely is used anymore, so why keep it?

It is something to consider for sure. I have the time. So why not make it happen?

Maybe I did discover something at the thrift store after all.

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