OPEN SEASON by Reavis Z. Wortham

May 25, 2017
May 25, 2017

Saltwater Gear

W oodrow had his tackle box open when I escaped the bright sunshine and walked into his cool, dim garage. “Whatcha doing?”

He held out a hand full of bright yellow plastic baits, the kind designed to be filled with smelly paste. “Cleaning this thing out before we go to the coast. Look here. Do you think we’ll need to take these refillable catfish baits?”

“We won’t be catfishing.”

“You know they have those hardheads that look like catfish.”

I thought of the slimiest fish in the world. The folks down on the gulf coast despise the fish and don’t touch them because of the nasty slime and their poisonous fins.

“I imagine we can leave those home.”

He stared downward at the open box. “I just don’t have anything worth taking.”

I joined his forlorn look. “Well, we can go buy some gear.”

As though an electric jolt shot through his body, he danced a little jig and opened the door into the house. “We’re going to the fishing store!”

Cheryl’s disembodied voice was cut off by the slamming door. “Don’t you buy any…”

Feeling light and happy, we soon pulled into the sporting goods store parking lot and charged into the refrigerated interior.

“What do we need?” I shouted as we rounded the sales rack of clothing, pushing an empty basket.




“Steel leaders!”


“Giant baits so big they can be used as wall decorations!”


“Fighting chairs!”

“Yay…hey we don’t need those. We need stuff to use from the shore, or if we hire a guide.”“Guides will provide everything we need,” I said.

“But we’ll want to sit on the dock and fish while the girls lie in the sun. Lazy summertime fishing.”

“Yay! Then we don’t need surf rods,” I said.

“What do we need?”

I paused. “Well…I don’t know.”

“Let’s look.”

“Good idea.”

We walked slowly down the aisle. “There’s a lot of freshwater stuff here,” Woodrow said. “Where’s the salt water section?”

“Keep looking.”

He threw a few packages of hooks in the basket. “I’ll need these later.” He picked up three boxes of fishing line. “Need to change out the mono on some reels.”

“Don’t get distracted. We’re here for saltwater gear.”

“I won’t…I need some bullet weights, though.” Several packages thumped into his basket, followed by hooks, bobbers, assorted lures, a new cooler and a brightly colored koozie. Look at these wading boots,” he said.

“You’re going to get in trouble. Didn’t you hear what Cheryl said when we left?”

“Nope. The door slammed pretty loud. Hey, I need a new bream rod.”

“We won’t be fishing for bream.”

“We might. You know, I want to get a rod tube so my rods won’t get tangled in the RV’s storage bin.”

“That’s the smartest thing you’ve said.”

He added a large, gray rod tube. The basket was filling quickly.

Woodrow frowned. “They really don’t have much saltwater gear.”

“That’s because the nearest ocean is hundreds of miles away.”

“But how can people prepare for a trip when we live up here in north Texas?”

“Hold on,” I said. “You’re missing the point here, and another great opportunity. We can wait until we get to Rockport and then buy the gear we need there. They’ll have stuff we’re not even thinking about, and the girls won’t say a word because they’ll understand that we can’t use our freshwater gear.”

His eyes misted. “You’re a genius.”

I picked up a spinning reel. “But I need this.”

“How about a medium action rod to go with it?”

 “Yep, and some Tru-turn hooks and a few of these spinners.”

“The girls will be proud that we showed so much restraint in the face of this great merchandise.”

“Yep, and then they’ll just smile and nod with understanding when we have to buy new stuff in a few weeks, because they’ll know how good we were today.”

“We can buy them their own saltwater rods, too.”

“We’re good husbands.”


Email Reavis Wortham at

[email protected]


Email Reavis Wortham at [email protected]


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