Putting things back together after the fire

It’s been a long week. Putting things back together so that I can fish the rest of the season has been a real chore. I didn’t know I had that much stuff in my boat. Basically, everything was destroyed except for my Reins tungsten sinkers.

Before we get into that, however, I want to say something about sponsors. We often hear that they are the lifeline of professional fishing. I can tell you that’s absolutely true. I am so thankful for my sponsors and what they’ve done for me. Without their support, I’d be in disastrously bad shape. With them, I have a manageable problem.

And I want to offer an unsolicited tip to any of you who are up-and-coming pros. When you think about sponsors, you should think about more than how much money they’ll pay you when you sign or how much tackle they’ll ship you every year.

Think about the kind of company they are, the kind of men and women that they employ and how you’ll be treated when a problem crops up. That might turn out to be really important to you somewhere down the line.

I’ve spent a lot of time this week installing and tweaking my Raymarine electronics on my new Legend boat. Obviously, that’s a critical piece of equipment. The thing is, though, that’s just the beginning. You see, fire damage isn’t just about what’s destroyed by the fire itself. There’s the smoke and soot damage as well.

When we started sorting through this mess to see what might be useable, we quickly realized that most of it couldn’t be saved. There are a couple of reasons for that. First, we had to think about labor. Even if some things could be saved, it wasn’t worth the effort. It takes hours and hours, along with a lot of expensive cleaning products, to save some of that stuff.

The other problem we encountered was that even when we did get something clean, and somehow managed to kill the smoke smell, the stuff didn’t look very good. The stains and discoloration were obvious. This was an especially tough problem with things like my Mustang PFDs and my Frogg Toggs rain suits. I don’t want to wear stuff that looks like that. My sponsors deserve better.

We also have to deal with the rods and reels. Most of what I had was destroyed. Once the new ones arrive, our house will be covered over with All Star rods, Revo reels and something like a mile of Stren line.

My lures have been a little easier to deal with. Other than swapping out a few hooks, all I’ve had to do is take them out of the package, put them in plastic boxes and store them in the boat.

Despite all of the challenges, however, everything is getting back to normal. I should be ready to go by the time Chickamauga rolls around in a couple of weeks.


One final word: As of right now, they haven’t made a determination as to the cause of the fire. As soon as I know something, you’ll know something.

Chris Lane’s column appears weekly on Bassmaster.com. You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook or visit his website, www.chrislanefishing.com.