A buddy opened a new tackle shop down the street, and my visit was overdue. I always liked his style. His previous store was a mix of hardcore bass items and old nostalgia. You could go in there and find Ballistic Bruiser D-Bombs, but it was anybody’s guess what would be on the next shelf over.

His new place didn’t disappoint. All the high-end hooks, weights and terminal tackle were there if I should run out. But scattered about were the bargain bins. I always spend serious time picking through the hodgepodge.

No, I don’t need Stingray grubs or Sassy Shads, but there’s just something about what I might find that keeps me looking. Years ago, I came across a pack of Original GatorTail worms and although those lures are known to be winners on my home water, I refuse to use them. Strange, I know. But there’s just something about knowing that I own them that helps me.

This time, I struck out in the plastic bins. Even I can admit that there is simply no need for more Zoom lizards.

Not to worry, there were a number of old boxes of used gear that someone had pawned off to buy new stuff, that would then become used. An original floating Rapala didn’t stand a chance. Anytime I find a cheap one, it’s gone. Four bucks well spent.

Further into the boxes, I came across some real oldies. Hellbenders, Flatfish and Mudbugs. These were crankbaits before the era known as the alphabet phase, when lure manufacturers began mass producing baits like the Big O, Bagley B and Rebel Wee-R.

There was a Mann’s 20+ with a crawfish paint job. I remember when these came out; the Mann’s series really revolutionized deep cranking. Everyone owned a 10+, some a 20, but just the crazies bought the 30+. To get the lure to such a depth was nearly impossible on an average cast, and everyone assumed bass didn’t live that deep. But then some pro won a big tournament on one and crazy became common. Memories.

There were lots of spoons. Not jigging or flutter types – this is Florida, and here a spoon is a wobbler. Some had plastic weedguards, others wire. A few had a little blade above the spoon; I think this was called a Weed Wing, and I’m certain it never worked. Keeping a blade spinning through hydrilla is futile.

It’s funny. After decades, the only viable spoon still on the market – and the one that has likely accounted for 90 percent of all the sales – is the Johnson Silver Minnow. And to this day, that lure has a garbage hook.

There was a big wad of spinnerbaits. Many had the old rubber skirts that stick together with others in the box. Some had turtle blades, or rattling heads, from an era when everything had to have a rattle. Bass love rattles. I moved on.

There was a little frog with four legs, and a white Mann’s Rat. The Rat lure was really something, and essentially opened up the idea of hollow-body frog fishing. Everyone owned a Rat. It didn’t walk or skip or even cast well, but it was a groundbreaker. One of the first big tournaments won on this type of lure was an event at the Thousand Islands, where largemouth prevailed, before most of the world knew about those big brown bass. Go figure.

Finally, near the end of my visit, I hit gold. A complete kit of inline bucktail buzzbaits. Remember those? A homemade favorite that was first mass-produced by Blue Fox, then later Bass Pro Shops, the inline buzzer was popularized by TV legend Roland Martin. He caught huge bass on them in Florida, where every strike was a gigantic explosion. Son!

Truth be told, the lure didn’t cast well or make much noise, but it did come through thick cover. Something in me demanded I purchase the whole collection, as much to save this piece of history as anything.

I think that’s where I get it. This feeling, this need, to reminisce as much as effectively shop.

The old tackle reminds me of the period in bass fishing that was my favorite. Not because it was the best, or the era of the most advancement. But, to me, it was still the unknown. The period of my greatest discovery. And that’s what fishing is, or should be.

Yours might be different. Perhaps it was the ‘90s or even after. Maybe the first lures that got your wheels spinning were squarebills, ChatterBaits or even a pack of Keitechs.

Regardless, you’ll find yourself in a tackle shop, most likely in the near future, and you’ll buy a lure that you don’t need. You’ll relive that timeframe, and justify the spend. And it will be the best thing in your bag.

(Joe Balog is the often-outspoken owner of Millennium Promotions, Inc., an agency operating in the fishing and hunting industries. A former Bassmaster Open and EverStart Championship winner, he's best known for his big-water innovations and hardcore fishing style. He's a popular seminar speaker, product designer and author, and is considered one of the most influential smallmouth fishermen of modern times.)