Were you at Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge over the weekend?

If so, you may have some information I can use.

I lost something sentimental at one of the weirs and I was hoping that you might have seen it.

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Cut to the chase: I forgot my tackle box (similar to the one pictured above) at a weir at Rockefeller on Saturday. It's the first weir on the left as you head out of Joseph's Harbor by boat.

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via Google Maps
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Not the weir at the locks, it's the next weir.

The tackle box is a basic, black and grey soft-sided tackle box with the typical gear stored inside - most of it is salt-water tackle.

There's a bottle of sunscreen in one of the pockets with a spool of braided fishing string.

In another pocket, there are a few corks and a couple of batteries for the live well aerator.

In the main compartment, are a pair of yellow fish-handling gloves. Also, there are 4 trays (with lids that snap shut) that hold more gear: one for hooks and jig heads, one for weights/sinkers, one for artificial lures, and one for mostly fresh-water lures.

In the front pocket, there are a variety of wire leaders and more jig heads and plastic bodies and a pair of (slightly rusted) needle-nosed pliers.

Attached to one of the zipper handles is a little snipper on a retractable string.

What is sentimental about this tackle box (bag)? Nothing, it's another item that is in that average-looking black and grey tackle box: my late father's fillet knife, similar to the knife in this picture:

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Some of my favorite memories as a child are the times that the family spend the day (sometimes the whole weekend) crabbing and fishing at Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge. We would either hit the locks for fishing and crabbing (and sometimes a great haul of shrimp in the cast net) or we would head to Price Lake Road for more of the same.

We would go to Rockefeller several times every summer to stock the freezer as best as we could. It was a great way to keep us busy during the summer months while putting food on the table.

When we would get home with fish, the kids would get the fish-cleaning table ready while Dad would sharpen up his fillet knife.

Was the knife expensive? I have no clue. Does that knife clean fish better than any other knife I can buy at the sporting goods store? Probably not.

But, it was my Dad's, and I have used it every time I clean fish since he passed away.

So, how did I "lose" my tackle box? That's an easy question to answer: I just plain forgot to pick it up.

This is an older satellite photo of the weir where I left the tackle box. Since this photo was taken, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries built a pair of catwalks that extend north of the control structure. The red oval shows where the east catwalk now stands.

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via Google Maps
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I had set the tackle box down at the end of the eastern-most catwalk that heads north from the control structure.

There were several people out there crabbing that day, so to keep it out of the way, I set the tackle box down on one of the crossbeams that support the catwalk. It was the last crossbeam, the one mounted against the final piling on the catwalk.

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When we packed up to head to a different fishing spot, I grabbed the crab nets, the fishing poles, the bait bucket, and the cast net, but I forgot my tackle box sitting at the end of the catwalk.

I didn't realize I had left it there until we had made the hour-and-a-half trip back home and started to empty out the boat. Upon realizing I had forgotten to pick it up, my heart sank.

I called someone with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to see if an agent was maybe in the area, and maybe he or she could take a look at the weir for the tackle box, but no one was able to do that.

Early this morning I hooked the boat up to head back out there to see if, by chance, it was still there.

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I got in the water at sunrise and I was the first boat at the weir.

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I tied up the boat, hopped on the dock, and made my way over the control structure. Before I even got on the catwalk, I could see that the tackle box was gone.

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My heart sank again.

So, here's where I need your help: could you ask your friends who went to Rockefeller this weekend if they saw that tackle box? And, if they did and they happened to pick it up, can you ask them to return the knife?

Whoever picked up the tackle box can keep everything else that's in it (finders-keepers, right) because I can get more leaders and sinkers and corks and braided fishing line and fish-handling gloves and tape measure and sunscreen and jig heads and needle-nosed pliers, but I can't get another fillet knife I inherited from my Dad.

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I found a picture of a similar knife (the handle on the one in this picture is a little faded but, other than that, this is pretty much the knife). My Dad's fillet knife was in a sheath that had a loop for a belt, and it would have been sitting at the top of the main compartment, right above the plastic trays and the yellow fish-handling gloves.

I know that this is a long shot but, with enough people putting the word out, the person who picked it up might just see this.

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