ED GILBERT: Sinkers don’t float like flies

By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 9:48 am on Tuesday, February 14, 2012

An acquaintance of mine used to be a charter boat captain on Lake Michigan. But he fell on hard times, quit the charter business and started a small shop making sinkers and lures.

His shop was on the first floor of an old building and I happened to walk in on good ol’ Carl one afternoon, unannounced of course. And there I was, amid a hodge-podge of old machinery and almost stepping on one of his cats as I entered.

Once inside it was necessary to adjust my eyes to the darkness as I stumbled my way toward the back of the building. Finally I saw a figure huddled over a drawing board. Yes, it was Carl, probably trying to design a lure, a new kind of sinker or some other “what not.”

Carl glanced up as I stumbled over a stack of lead ingots, but he didn’t move. “Grab a couple of cans of suds out of the fridge over there,” he says as he’s pointing to a dark corner. Well, I did as instructed, handing one of the cans to him as I cracked open the other.

“Haven’t seen you around for a while, Ed,” he says, peering at me over glasses that were about to slip off his nose. What’s up? You in need of money, or something?”

Having seated myself on a drafting stool to his left, I replied, “Matter of fact, ‘tis I that owe you some money. Remember that batch of sinkers you heated up for me last summer? Well, I’m here to pay off.”

“Well, it’s about time,” came the reply. “I thought you may have drowned off Grand Haven somewhere by now.”

“Not hardly,” I replied matter-of-factly. “So how’s the sinker and lure business going?”

Carl almost sneered. “Hey, look around, Does this place look like Rapela or Garcia to you?”

“Well no,” I replied, “But it looks here abouts as though you’re trying. That has to count for something.”

“Good of you to say, Ed,” he smiled. “Then, how about buying some stuff from me?”

“Carl, you know I mostly fly fish. Besides, flies float and gloat while sinkers sink and stink,” I said. “Say, why don’t you try to sell this place to one of those big outfits? Those companies are buying up small business like crazy, if they have a product, that is.”

Well, it had gone on long enough, so I handed Carl a $20. bill, which he looked over carefully to see if it was real before folding it up about ten times and stuffing it in a shirt pocket.

I got up to leave and remarked, “I’ll get some more lures and sinkers from you another time, Carl. In the meantime, just remember that flies float and sinkers stink.”

He grinned as he tossed an old, rusty lure in my direction. Of course I grabbed the thing, with a little pain from the hooks. Then I made my exit, stumbling over that same cat at the doorway… “I shall return,” I said.

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