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Outdoors blog: It's the time of year for new gear

Bob Frye
| Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, 6:51 p.m.

Maybe he said it. Maybe he didn't.

I've always heard the phrase “there's a sucker born every minute” attributed to P.T. Barnum, the occasional politician, author and founder of a weekly newspaper — how about that — and the Barnum and Bailey Circus.

Apparently, there's some controversy there, though.

If you really want to research this — say, like I did, by doing a quick Google search in between bites of lunch — there's a whole litany of articles, scholarly and otherwise, examining the history of this. (Really? I love history, but c'mon).

Generally speaking, they debunk the Barnum angle.

He might have uttered the phrase — he was by his own admission a huckster, even if he never used that term, either — but he didn't originate it.

But OK, he'd have loved me anyway.

Especially at this time of year, and especially if he hawked outdoor gear.

I generally don't get too hung up on gadgets. Davey Crockett was roaming the woods and killing whitetails while wearing homespun clothes long before there was Under Armour and ScentLok and Ozonics. Pennsylvania's Zane Grey was catching trout on the Delaware and sailfish in the Atlantic decades before fluorocarbon line was invented.

So it's not all about the tools. I get it.

But some toys are just fun, right?

I'm not sure it's possible to own too many fishing lures. Or pocketknives. Or guns, bows, rods, reels or backpacks.

That's not to say I own a tremendous pile of anything.

Other things, trifling though they might be — a mortgage, college loans, tires on children's cars I never drive — compete for my finances. And usually win.

But I get drawn in to buying things now and again. And I certainly window shop.

And there's no time for that like this time of year.

This year's version of the Archery Trade Association's annual show — where manufacturers roll out the latest and greatest for arrow-flingers — was held in Indianapolis over the weekend. The SHOT Show, the National Shooting Sports Foundation's annual trade show for all things firearms related, is set for Las Vegas Jan. 23-26.

For weeks, news releases breathlessly touting gear set to debut have been pouring in.

I'll open an email and discover something I didn't know existed just seconds before. And suddenly I'll want it. And that's just by reading about it and seeing a picture or two.

Things will get worse in the next few weeks, as the outdoor show season gets rolling, I'll find myself walking the aisles between vendors pushing all kinds of gear. There will be plenty of chance to buy things.

Another crankbait, you say? This one not colored blue or silver, but “tropic ice” or “funky chicken” or even “Halloween?” With the paint faded, like jeans made to look old the day they come off the shelf? Guaranteed not to hang up?

Well, maybe just one.

Sometimes that pays off. Your oldest, most trusted go-to lure had to be new sometime, after all.

Of course, you end with clunkers, too. That mouth call that seemed like just the thing to bring in a big gobbler maybe doesn't work so well after all.

That's OK. There will be another vying to take its place soon enough.

P.T. Barnum probably didn't say this either.

But another season of new “stuff” is seemingly born every minute, too. Remember you heard it here first.

Bob Frye is the editor. Reach him at 412-216-0193 or See other stories, blogs, videos and more at

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