I’m Bad with Names: A Rant

I hear people say it all the time.

“I’m terrible with names.”

“That’s OK,” I tell them, as I reintroduce myself … and I truly don’t mind. It makes me appreciate the gatherings where attendees wear name badges. More than once I’ve sneaked a peak at a badge before greeting someone whose name I certainly should remember.

And my problem with names doesn’t end with people I know. It extends to fishing lures I know, too.

I’ve now been fishing for more than 50 years. In that time, I’ve accumulated a lot of gear — dozens of rods and reels, and thousands of lures.

As the managing editor of Fishing Tackle Retailer, I like to think that I know quite a bit about fishing tackle. I’ve seen a lot, used a lot, written about a lot, critiqued a lot, bought a lot and been given a lot. Fishing is as much a part of my life as it is for anyone reading this.

But if you and I were to pick up one of the dozens of utility boxes in my garage, the odds are that I could not name nearly half the lures in it.

I might be able to guess the manufacturer. A logo or unique eye style will often give that away. But the odds of my correctly naming the bait are not good.

Some manufacturers put their name on a lure. Thank you! They’ll paint it on hard baits and mold it into soft plastics or spinner blades. But today I started wondering: why doesn’t every manufacturer do this with every bait? Why isn’t the name of every manufacturer and the name of every lure on each of those products?

I can’t think of a good reason.

You might tell me that it would cost big bucks to modify a mold or to reset the painting or stamping process.

I say, so what! Whatever it costs will be recouped because I’ll see the name of your bait and know what to ask for or look for when I want another.

I have forgotten the manufacturer and the name of several of my favorite lures. It would be very difficult to replace them because I have no idea who makes them or what they’re called. I know where they live in my tackle boxes, but that’s not nearly enough. If you want to sell me more than one, put your name on it. Put the name of the lure on there, too.

Make it easy on me. I’m your customer, and it just so happens that I’ve worked in the industry for decades. If I’m challenged to remember the names of lures, what chance does a more casual angler have?

And when the name is not on the lure, you’re also adding to the burden of the retailer. When a customer comes into a shop and describes the bait he needs to replace or duplicate, the dealer might be able to figure it out … or he might not. Do you really want your repeat sales to be that tenuous?

Meanwhile, I’ve invested in a really good plug knocker. I don’t want to lose any of those lures that I can’t name.