Psssst, Hey Newbie Pledge gonna give ya's some advice. Follow me over here behind the outhouse and we'll yap. The wind is blowing right anyhow. So many new faces and names coming aboard. A nice place you've joined here isn't it? About 2,345,132 people to interact with, all with one intent, to catch fish. Knowledge and brotherhood and camaraderie and fishes galore for the asking. You are in for a good journey. But this place can be confusing for the initiate, as confusing as a corn maze here in Iowa. So many things to see and read and pigeonholes to drop into. I joined in Ought and 7 and frankly no one was available to guide me I stumbled around like Moses in the desert. Let me clue you in, starting with your avatar, the premier embodiment of who you are. The right avatar makes the Actives (about 35 of them) sit up and take notice. I've devised a check list of some things you might include in your avatar so others may think you are one of them. not all can be shown at once but ya gotta have them. Waders: A must. Cool things, keeps your clothes clean and if you fall out the boat in 90' of water, keeps your feet from getting muddy when you hit bottom. Rods: About 35 at a minimum, the longer and bigger the better. This after all is primarily a men's forum. We are not talking cane poles here. The real McCoy should always be pictured. If you got something that would land Moby Dick the more power to you. You'll have the Old Hands 1. Jealous and 2. Drooling. Reels: Oh My, Oh My, this is a biggy subject. Absolutely imperative you have 2 reels for every rod. One should be spooled with #9 wire to go with that Moby Dick rod. Tackle: This is also a gotta have or you are useless to this forum. You gotta have more tackle boxes than luggage on the carousel at O'Hare. You probably know some tool freaks who got those expensive roll-around tool boxes they have bought from Sears. More tools than they got fingers to use them, they just like to rub them, most don't have any practical use. same with tackle boxes, collect them by the dozens. Also if you want to get rich you should also buy stock in Lead Mines. Most guys on here loose about 300 lbs of lead a year and they got to keep those boxes full of lead sinkers and such. Build another garage if ya have to to store all these tackle boxes. Guns: As a member in good standing on this forum ya's got's to have guns. Lot's of 'em. Take them everywhere with you. If fish aren't biting you can always shoot something to pass the boredom. Personally I have a few. That 7mm in my avatar comes in handy for long shots at spawning carp. Note also the bayonet at attention. Nice to have as a frog sticker handy or to poke anything that gets you mad. the holstered 38 is just to make me feel Macho. The shotguns are in case a duck flys over. Knives: Whooboy, you aren't a real BOC member unless you own multiple knives. From penknives up to 10" Arkansas toothpicks. That cornknife I got in my teeth works good for cutting trail through the multiflora rose and horseweeds when bank fishing. knives have multiple purposes. Use them to open stubborn beer cans or to clean the slime out under your fingernails before you have your shore lunch or feed your dog. I will continue this later for you guys who can't read fast or get bored easily. We'll talk about about bale hooks, thumpers, coolers, avatar faces, secret duffel bags, boats and ETIQUETTE to make your journey easier.