Saturday, April 13, 2013

Old Decoy Line and Old Ways

Replacing some of my first-ever decoy rigging from 2001
with new Tanglefree line in April, 2013
As a rainy night kind of project, I recently re-rigged a few dozen of my diving duck decoys.  It's a tedious task usually left until about 36 hours before the decoys are needed (admit it!), but it needed to be done.  It's not a complicated process - the old lines are cut, and new lines are either tied or crimped on, with a lower loop for attachment to a single anchor rig or a long line.  The old material is thrown in the trash.

The first duck decoys I ever bought were Flambeau mallards, purchased in 1997 from the Boone, NC Wal-Mart.  The price was right, and although they featured an infamously dreadful paint job, they served their purpose on more than a few hunts.   I think my brother still has them, or at least a few of them.   Most likely, they've been repainted as diving ducks.

Which brings me to my growth in duck hunting back on the coast.  I started hunting on the coast in the 2000-2001 waterfowl season, and quickly saw that amongst salt cordgrass, osprey, and oyster beds, a pile of cheap mallard decoys was not gonna cut it.   What I saw, and I saw many of them, were flocks, rafts, and pairs of buffleheads and scaup.    My very next decoy purchase was a dozen #60 Herter bluebill decoys from Cabela's in September, 2001.   That's one of them in the image above - I still have them all, and even hunted over them last waterfowl season.   Along with the big box of weighted foam ducks, I purchased my first serious decoy line - some kind of waxed nylon cord, and my first long line rig for decoys (held 15 decoys).  

I didn't know how to rig any of it, so I just tied a square knot in the keel hole of the decoy and clipped it on to the long line when it was time to hunt.  The error of this method was obvious the first time the dog swam across the long line, tangling himself in the lines and nearly drowning.   Subsequent diver decoy purchases were rigged up with a substantial "drop line" to ensure it didn't happen, but I guess I never got around to changing some of the old decoys around.

So, it was funny to be sitting there, cutting old waxed nylon braid off of those decoys and replacing it with fancy Clear Tanglefree Decoy Line, crimps, and a real crimping tool.  The product is better than what I used to have.  It's simpler to use.  It's sleek and it just works.  I'm a better hunter now than when I was back then, but not really by leaps and bounds.    I wonder if it's true in other parts of life as well.  When's the last time you looked at where you started, how far you've come, and understood the cost of those changes inbetween?

All that,  from a poorly tied knot in cheap waxed rope. 

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