By Louie Stout

Back in the day, you could walk into a tackle store prior to the ice fishing season, pick up an inexpensive rod, a few jigs, a box of wax worms and even a few accessories for about $10-$15.

Those memories flitted through my head as I wandered through the Clear H2o Tackle Shop near Edwardsburg during its recent Ice Tackle Open House. Several buyers stood in line at the checkout counter with arms full of gear valued at a heckuva lot more than that.

They held $40 to $80 rods, $500 fishfinders, $400-$500 in specialized clothing and lightweight $200 ice augers.

Obviously, today’s ice angler is a lot more sophisticated and dedicated to the sport than my generation.

Does that mean you can no longer catch panfish by sitting on a bucket while jigging a tiny leadhead jig with a maggot attached?