Scrapbook One Hundred Thirteen…






This little 2¼” lure doesn’t look like much, but please don’t let his appearance mislead you. He’s a killer bait that keeps his talent well hidden until he’s thrown into the water. His name is Pickles. In 1955, I carved him from a piece of oak that I had in my fireplace at Randolph AFB.


Just outside the base was a little pond that was owned by Claude Ivey. He let me fish anytime I wanted to. I’ll bet at least 200 smallmouth black bass succumbed to this bait’s allure. He floats when I leave him alone, but when I start reeling in, he ducks under the water and starts fidgeting in a way that drives fish crazy.

Claude always wanted me to keep two small fish for his family, and I usually took one for Peggy and me. The others I released back into the pond so they could rest up until I returned.

Pickles is retired to an honored place on a bookshelf with a few of his cousins, once removed. They were store-bought so Pickles doesn’t want them in his close proximity. f



122 thoughts on “Scrapbook One Hundred Thirteen…

    • I smiled quickly at 12:01am to subscribe. Still smiling this morning at your cleverness Mr. Fenn. Cute little fishing story with at least 8 hints that I count, and I’m kind of slow so I probably missed a few. But I fall into the category of those who find hints in all your stories. P.S. Mr Fenn, you sure do keep your nails looking nice. I’ve noticed them in a few pictures.

    • Emergency fishing trip needed stat……..

      Wise, you don’t put worms on a lure. Well, I guess you could if you wanted to. The lure attracts the fish and they try to eat it.

      There are all kinds of lures, squiggly, and wiggly, two parts, and three parts. Most of the time the bigger ones simulate the little fish the big fish feed on………Kind of like the flies Fenn makes for fly fishing.

      You really should go fishing, you don’t know what you’re missing.

      • Thanks Goofy, I have fished a few times in my life, but never with a lure. What if the fish doesn’t like pickles? JK… I don’t.
        I did enjoy fishing from what I recall. It was fun, but only if they were biting…

        • Wiseone,

          I subscribe to this site. Perhaps you can look at fishing holes in your area for reports and other great useful information. I have good friends that post 20lb plus trout they caught. Colorado has some of the best trout fishing lakes and streams. I enjoy heading out after the lakes thaw. Yet, waiting for the cold to set in to do a little ice fishing and leave the dynamite at home. Jigging is a exciting alternative. I have been approached to design a specific camera system to capture 360 views as the fish take hold. Even though there are many out there but….Hope you enjoy.

    • Kat, It looks like a National Geographic beside the Treasures of the S book, but i have never seen NG in those colors, the NG’s usually have more of a yellow color to them. I cant figure out what the treasures book is either.

      • Thank you for your comment Sally. That book continues to make me wonder, but think I found the answer. Where are you from and which state do you search? Good luck in the chase!

        • Hello Kat, I am from Alexander Arkansas, out in the country about 15 miles from Little Rock. I have been in the chase 2 years and i believe the chest is in New Mexico. I drove out last summer and searched for about a week. Where do you search? and good luck to you also.

          • I am favored Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana….not NM. LOL. I am living in Washington state. I’ve been in the Chase two years also and went looking last summer. Will be going back in the spring to look again.

        • Kat and Sally, I thought maybe that book was a foreign edition of a National Geographic book? But I have not found it yet… Kat where are you at in Washington?

          • Kat Beautiful area!!! I am over by Skagit Valley but have a good friend in Bremerton… Let you know if I ever track down that book… I wish the title wasn’t so blurry 🙂

          • Would love to do a meet up if you are over here on this side. I’m close to the bremerton fairgrounds.

          • Spallies and Kat
            If you figure out which edition the NG is, please let me know and i will do the same for you.

          • Spallies

            I am not sure about the National geographic, do you think they would print different colors for countrys outside the us? that seems like it would be an extra expense.
            It still has me stumped,,,

          • National Geographic has published hundreds if not thousands of books, and the covers have been of many different colors and formats–not just the yellow border found on the magazine. Google “National Geographic books” and you can see what is offered currently for sale and there are hundreds.

          • Kat, will do and you the same if your ever over in the Valley or better yet up by Bellingham we can go over to Lummi and go bug Dal… if he is not out searching 🙂 I have never been to Lummi Island…

  1. I like it Fenn, what was that you used to attach the hooks. It looks like part of a hinge or maybe a receiver from a sliding bolt latch. I wonder what the fish thought they were going after.

    Just goes to show you that some fish will bite at anything…..Kind of like treasure hunters looking for clues. 😆

    • Fish mostly run on instinct so when you jerk the line the popper makes a nose dive down and a splash that drives the bass crazy, good analogy would be like running from a bear even though he isn’t hungry but he will chase you just for running 🙂

  2. We grew up on a lake. It did not take long to figure out what the fish liked . Sometimes just a big shiny hook worked like a charm…I’m gonna dig out some of my old jitter bugs and plugs, just to say hi. Good thing to do in the winter.

  3. Your stories are what get the fish chasing. They should stick with the poem and stay away from third hand information…..nice lures.

  4. LOL Homemade popper! it looks well carved too Forrest. Of course those bass are gonna get gangrene from the rust on those hooks 😛

  5. That is one of the cutest little stories yet Mr. Fenn…. My Pa Johnson on My Mother’s side could catch a whole mess of fish with snow on the ground. We used to go to the Big Black River when we were little and Bayou Pierre and of Course the Mississippi River. My Granny Johnson, once caught a barge with her line and had to break it loose before her pole got dragged out!! When we used to go to my Grandparents pond or Bayou Pierre, we used worms on a hook, sometimes a Sugarcane Pole and had the most unusual baits to date. My Granny has used popcorn, cheese,liver, of course minnows,and even souse!!! It has all worked !! Nothing compares to those times as a child and never will they stay in your mind forever. I do not fish much now but need to take my 14 and 19 year old and show them how unusual baits can be used and make wonderful family memories.

  6. Pickles has standards like Forrest.

    When I ran into Forrest signing books a huge stack of TTOTC in Collected Bookwork’s yesterday I was lucky enough to sit with him on the couch and chat for a while after he was done signing.

    I offered him a try of my espresso and he obliged but made his opinion known of how bad it tasted with both expression and words. Of course that made me want to try his hot chocolate which I admit tasted better than my espresso.

    At least we can agree on Chapstick, Forrest really does keep it in his left front pocket!

    Looking forward to his new book coming out in February!

  7. A local art professor and avid fisherman told me a story of someone reeling in a medium-sized fish on the Madison River. Right as it neared shore a big splash and only the head was left on the hook.

  8. Dal, where is your little island located? Are you ready for the storm? Dive gear, boat, ark… 🙂
    I’m in Nor Cal, loving the blessing of rain, and getting ready for a couple of really good scanner days! 🙂

    • We’re getting ready too – have the generator gassed up and ready to go, just in case we lose power again. Looks like the storm won’t hit until Thurs now in N CA, but Dal will probably get hit before we do. Stay safe everyone, on both coasts!

    • Storm…what storm?
      It’s raining so hard and the wind is blowing so loud that I can’t tell if a storm is coming or not.

      • How is it Dal?I am actually in California on business. My Husband said it’s not too bad yet but around 3:00 am it’s going to get really bad…:( Just read the weather report sounds pretty windy!!! It is also supposed to get bad here in Cali on Thursday night.. Stay safe… Did the term hunker down come from pirates I wonder????

          • Thanks for asking! Yes we are prepared for the BIG ONE. We have a generator all gassed up and ready in case we lose power again. We’ve been in a blizzard in the Sierras and one time, when driving back from MN, even had to sleep in our van over night with 2 dogs and 2 cats waiting for I80 to open up. what a night that was! 🙂

          • jdiggins, where are you located? You stay safe too. I hope the storm isn’t going to be as bad as the predictions.

            Dal, are you in the middle of the storm now? How bad is it up your way?

            This will be a good time to reread TTOTC and TFTW. 🙂

          • No storm here yet…but unseasonably warm…boy, do I hate that!!! 🙂
            It’s been raining…but this is the Pacific Northwest so???

          • Cj, I’m in lake county ca. In the mendo nail forest. Bout 3800ft. We are prepared, thank you. It is pouring out. Has been since 2pm.

        • Spallies-
          Nothing here out of the ordinary except the warm temp. About 63 here today…wind died down…
          We are waiting for the other shoe to drop…

  9. I’ll mention this since, as yet, no one else has: proximity. In this case, it’s spelled correctly. Contrast this with one of Forrest’s answers on Jenny’s site:
    There isn’t a human trail in very close proximaty to where I hid the treasure.f

    A personal credo: A true coincidence is truly a rarity. This is absolute conjecture on my part and I won’t elaborate, but I believe the different spellings are not accidental. To quote another famous Forrest: “That’s all I have to say about that.”

    Off-topic riddle:
    Without spine, but can bear head or tail,
    Without tooth, but with bite of great lore,
    Without lung, but with song can I hail,
    Without fin, but found at every shore.

    • “Proxi maty”
      Is maty a tongue in cheek reference to pirate? f having a bit of fun? He’s so clever with language that I’m not ever certain if it’s a pun or hidden hint.

      Great riddle Joe!

    • I’m wondering…Does f email his answers to Jenny? If so, and f actually typed his answer himself, spelling it incorrectly deliberately, and it was not retyped by someone else, this could have some credence. Just trying to think of all possibilities here… But, I am beginning to think you could be right. Thanks Joe.

  10. The first time my 10 year old daughter went fishing was in New Mexico. We took time out of our treasure hunt to have a picnic and fish. She caught a very small trout and was SO excited she dropped her pole, while her brother screamed we were killing the baby fish and we Needed to get it back in the water. It was something to watch…I caught the pole before it disappeared and successfully placed the unharmed little guy back in the water.

    • Smyhre, thank you for sharing that sweet story. I love hearing about kids and their reactions. 🙂

  11. Hmm, who knew? Small mouth bass favor oaken barrel flavor. Makes sense since fine wines are pickled in oak.

  12. 🙂 I like fishing lures I hooked Duane with one my husband before we got married lol . It was a really funny moment. 🙂

    • My two older brothers and I used to go fishing every weekend at san Luis Reservoir. I remember us in the bed of the gsc in sleepin bags at 3 am freezing o as we drove down the highway. We always brought what my brothers called the “tidy bowl” boat, it was the color of the toilet cleaner and small. We used anchovy for bait, and yes I did it all by myself. It was so fun, and some good memories in the still quiet of the morning with the sun rising over the foothills and onto the water.
      The worst part – the only girl having to pee over the side of the boat!! 🙂

      • That was a GMC, and it was freezing back there! Grandpa was the driver. :}
        Oddly enough, this year, my oldest brother, a 13 year veteran in Army Intelligence, a certified diver, lived in Hawaii, went for a swim and drown. He was only 52.
        Not to dampen anything, he’s at peace now, but I thought I’d share since it helps.

        • Jdiggins, I’m so sorry that you lost your brother. May good memories of him help carry away some of your sadness.

        • Death is inevitable for all of us. How many think they will die doing what they love most? I certainly don’t. JD, perhaps knowing this gave you peace. I wonder if Mr. Fenn has found the same peace knowing Skippy lost his life in the same manner?

          May you continue to find peace in the good memories that will slowly return.

  13. Your lures look very well used. I bet you caught a lot of fish with Pickles and the other fancy lures that Pickles doesn’t want to associate with. 🙂

    We have a lot of old, well used lures too at our cabin in MN. I don’t imagine you’ve ever done any ice fishing but that’s very popular in N MN where our son lives. The lake ice is now over 5″ thick and he just caught a 30″ Pike a few days ago. Pickles might not like it up there. 🙂

  14. I can see where the dark stripes on that lure would get the fish’s attention along with the expert movement that the person put on it at the pole end. I used to fish Elephant Butte lake and the rio-grand drainage south of Albuquerque, N.M. Great bass fishing small mouth and large mouth with crappie to. Also cabalo lake south of Elephant butte was good to. I caught a 7.6 lb on fathers day one year at 7 in the morning . Elephant Butte lake is much smaller today because of the drought they have had there . was some great times.Some lures are just a great lure . Sounds like you caught more than one meal with that one.

  15. Neat story Forrest,
    Your story reminds me of fishing for sunfish in the creek on my grandparents farm when I was a kid. Those poor little fish were so hungry that they would bite on any shiny non-baited hook that crossed in front of them. It was great fun for me and my cousins up till the point when we told Grandpa that we dumped them all in his fishing lake so they could grow up to be big. Boy, did he get mad! Ahhh…Those were the days.
    Those old lures remind me of Grandpa’s tackle box. It was full of Hula Poppers, Hellbenders, Zara Spooks, Jitterbugs and many other lures that had no known names. Do you remember the names of the other lures next to Pickles?

    • I’m not a bass fisher but a cousin Danny Westfall developed Westy bass lures and equipment, and fishes in tournaments as a career. Sounds like a fun way to make a living. I’ll bet the Fenn guys could have done the same.

  16. Nine mile hole anyone? I haven’t been out searching yet. I wouldn’t even know where to begin. Are these hints?

        • I’m clueless as well. Now that you say he’s mentioned Peggy, I hope his sweet wife is healthy and Forrest too. They are very lucky to have and hold one another for 60 years.

  17. Forrest I can hardly wait to see what you pull out of your bag of interesting things next.
    Never expected to see a handmade lure being posted by you. It does fit though.
    It would appear the towing eyelet is slightly off center, if so maybe that was why it caught so many fish?

    Thanks Forrest.

  18. Hand made lures and flies are works of art. When I lived in Bozeman there was a famous shop which had me hooked by the beauty of their work.
    I admit that I haven’t fished since I moved to Albuquerque thirty years ago. All of the equipment was given to the nephews.
    Was there hints and clues in this vignette? I’ll do a search for pickles creek.

  19. I have used a lot of things for bait but never pickles! When the kids were little we caught crawdads with hotdogs. We will have to try some pickles on those hotdogs and see what we catch with those.

  20. Hmmmm …allure, a decoy. Forrest ,my brothers love to fish and I’m sure they would be intrigue with Pickles. They fish mainly in the ocean and have used driftwood of all kinds to make lures and seeds that float for floaters,weights would be made from rocks or coral. All natural except for the hook. Maybe I should suggest to them to look into making a hook with bone.Would,nt that be nice? All Natural !!

  21. The son of a friend who was about five years old had caught a grasshopper and was about to bait his hook on the Boulder river south of Big Timber. I asked if he needed any help and he pulled the hopper and pole away from me. With the hook in one hand he looked at the hopper and said “You’re dead!” He had a fish on is a couple minutes.

    • MikeMt, the Boulder River is beautiful country. Many years ago I used to attend kids Camp Miminagish on the river. It was great fun but always cold without heated cabins.

  22. This is all good clean fun ! Can’t wait for the next one…old man winter has begun to flex his muscles. Good time to read and reflect.

  23. It looks to me like “close proximity” is about pickles’ body length.

    And with my treasures bold = “stand by, lure..” said the worm.

  24. Thank you for sharing “Pickles”. I remember my grandfather had several lures he made himself. They worked better than the store bought cousins removed. I wish I had them now as a reminder of how we spent mornings fishing from his small aluminum boat with a hand controlled motor.

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