One of the things I love most about my job is getting feedback from our readers; over the years nothing I have written has produced more feedback than my plug building series. These correspondences have run the gamut from people telling me they love to read them even though they have no intention of building the plug, to questions about how different changes might affect the action, to anglers showing me photos of their creations. There have been a couple interactions that have really blown my mind.
The first one happened a few years ago at the Saltwater Lure Collector’s Club Show. It was late in the day and the crowd had mostly dissipated; a man came up to me and put a yellow darter in my hand. He went on to explain that his father had made the plug using my article as a guide. The plug had a very unique shape and was made from red cedar, a wood I would never have picked for darter. He told me that his dad had made several adjustments to accommodate for the density of the wood and that he had been very happy with the design. Then he told me that his dad had recently passed away and one of the things that stood out among all the things in his workshop were the dozens of my plug stories that he had been using to make his own lures. It would be hard for me to put into words how much that meant to me. I never swam the plug, but it will always be something that I cherish.
The more recent one came in the mail. A package, addressed to me that I wasn’t expecting and when I opened it, there was a fancy box with the words “Annicke Eau De Parfum Pour Femme” printed across the front. My wife looked on through narrowed eyes as I considered what this might look like to her and scrambled to say something funny that would propel me out from under the darkening shadow of guilt. I cut the tape with my thumbnail and opened the box, having no idea what to expect. A handwritten note fell out that told the story of finding a copy of The Fisherman Magazine in the chiropractor’s office from March 3, 2005 where I detailed how to build the Danny Plug. He said he subscribed that week, has been a member for the nearly 20 years since and eagerly awaits each New Year for a new set of plugs to build.
The note went on to say that he had recently purchased a 3D printer and inside the perfume box, was a, meticulously packaged, 3D printed version of what I called the Anti Pike in the January 2023 edition. For those who didn’t read the article, this was modeled after the first plug I ever made, and like my wooden original, it was completed by a hand-cut metal lip. Some emotions can’t be described with words, but I know I could never forget these two gestures of kindness. I wanted to write this as my way of saying “thank you”.