November 30, 2010

Going "Bo Bo"

The Urban Dictionary Definition of Bo Bo
Growing up in South Philadelphia in the early 80's, this term would have been used in the ghetto for any old raggedy ass, nasty, beat up shit kicker that all of the school kids would have accused your mother of buying at the Salvation Army, but usually of the Chuckie's variety. YOU KNOW short top with rubber tip. They were often found hanging, like Christmas ornaments from every telephone line...

In my area of the country, we call anything that's fake, generic, unbranded, or store brand, "Bo Bo."  It probably does stem from the reference mentioned above as my first exposure to the term as a kid was in the context of my Mom's shoes.  See she's always been quite fond of wearing dirt cheap white Bo Bo sneakers that you buy at the supermarket or Clover (another Philly reference - think ghetto Target) rather than the real Keds or Converse that they resemble.  They're like walking with cardboard and paper bags on your feet.

Clover - R.I.P.

Generic stuff might have a different definition in your locale, but I think you all know what I'm talking about.

To this day, I absolutely draw the line at buying three Bo Bo things (other than sneakers).  They are as follows:

  • Ketchup - Don't bother bringing store brand ketchup near my burger & fries.  In fact don't bring anything unless it's Heinz.  Yes, Hunt's is even considered Bo Bo in my book.
  • Toothpaste - You only get one set of teeth.  Take care of them.  Spend the extra cash.  Seriously.
  • Q-Tips - Keep those el cheap-o cotton swabs away from my ears.  The cotton disintegrates and the little stick in the middle is like a limp wet noodle.  How am I supposed to extract all of the waxy goodness with an inferior tool like that?

Don't even...

However, being Bo Bo is not always necessarily bad.  Here's an example of three Bo Bo things that I do use.

  • Yellow Mustard - The yang to Heinz ketchup's ying, store brand yellow mustard is perfectly acceptable in my book.
  • Shampoo - Does it make a lather when wet?  Does it get your hair relatively clean?  Yes to both.  No, I don't care if it costs $1...and neither should you, unless you're a chick.
  • Diet Soda - All diet soda tastes like crap, so what's the difference?

A Bounty of Bo Bo

In taking an inventory of my fishing equipment the other night, I noticed a relative lack of Bo Bo gear and wondered if I'm missing out on something good.  The handful of Bo Bo items included the following:

  • A fly assortment from WalMart.  I got my first fly rod a few years back but had no flies...they cost something like 100 flies for $9.99.  These flies are cheap and work great on indiscriminant panfish.
  • A non-branded 3-weight fly reel I bought off eBay for $10.  It's set up for the wrong hand and has no drag whatsoever, but damn if it isn't pretty.
  • Bass Pro branded split shot.  Why pay more for a chunk of lead (or in this case tin)?
  • White River tippet.  Sure, I prefer Frog Hair tippet, but I can get 2 spools of White River for the price of one of Frog Hair...and the trees and logs seem to like it just as much.
  • A spool of 4-lb test Bass Pro "Tourney Tough" monofilament line.  This line really sucks...who knows, maybe I just got a bad batch.  It should carry the tagline, "A bird's nest on every cast - guaranteed!"

Now here's where I'm going to toss out a request for some reader participation in the comments section.  What I want to know is am I missing out on some great Bo Bo fishing (or hunting) gear?  Are there off-price or store brand items that you use that really perform or that you even *gasp* prefer?  

If not...go ahead and humor me with some examples of Bo Bo products you use in your non-fishing lives. The more obscure the better.  But don't dare mention Hunt's ketchup.  That's blasphemy.


  1. I'm not sure of your parameters in fly fishing gear - does my White River or Cabela's LST rod qualify? I haven't had a "name brand" fly rod for almost a decade and I don't miss the $400-500 price tag one bit!
    As for other gear, a recent find is a Bass Pro branded ceramic bobbin that seems to work just as well as the 3 times more expensive Griffin bobbin I also use. And how about stuff you make at home? Firestarter cubes? Not for me...I always have a stash of dryer lint for starting a campfire or emergency situations - just keep it in a zip-loc bag (store brand of course) and you're always ready to make a quick and easy fire(providing everything outside is not soaking wet from rain)

    when I was in high school, a friend made up a song about his "bo-bo's." I haven't heard the phrase since then so in a way - thanks for the memories! :)

  2. When it comes to my hunting and fishing gear, nothing should be "Bo-Bo"!

  3. All I have to offer this subject is, I make sink tips for streamer fishing out of led core trolling line and use the colors that suit my light conditions.
    there is such thing a too cheep of tippet though and Wal-Mart knows which one I mean, I use the nylon Rio but it has to be fresh, I look for a colorful rubber band, the newest logo on the package, question how often its re-stocked or rotated, then if there is still any question, ill peel off 12 inches and try to break it if I get cut, Ill buy.

  4. Based on Owl's comment, allow me to clarify the Bass Pro/Cabela's question.

    No, I don't consider all of their store brand products Bo Bo. They are unique as retailers in the fact that they have so much store brand product at so many different price points - from inexpensive to expensive. For the sake of this discussion, let's keep it more focused on consumables - i.e. stuff you use up or run out of relatively quickly and is really cheap - fishing line, hooks, lures, ammunition, $5 polarized sunglasses, etc...

    Unless of course you do want to talk up (or slam) a store brand rod or reel you've used - then have at it!

  5. AMMO? Well, that's where I draw the line I'm afraid. Even our practice rounds aren't what you'd call "bo-bo." Although our daily carry arms will eat anything you put in them(Glock), we're pretty "anti-bobo" on ammo.

    PS - your mustard thoughts are perfect...we use the Kroger brand yellow mustard and let me tell you - although it's cheap, it's so very delicious on a turkey and ham.

  6. bo bo huh? I agree with Ketchup, but mustard is on my no bo bo list as well. When you squeeze bo bo mustard 2 ounces of yellow water comes out. I guess when you look at my homemade flies, you'd have to say bo bo compared to finely made professional fly tiers. Some great observations.

  7. BoBo is not a regional term unique to Philly... we used that one in Memphis when I was growing up too. It was often used in reference to shoes as in "them some BoBo fake a** Jordans you got on"

    I use all sorts of BoBo items. There is plenty of inferior White River saddle hackle that makes some real ugly woolly buggers in my fly tying junk. I have some a real nice BoBo Eagle Claw Granger reel ($40) that is very similar to a much more expensive Pflueger. I also have a $35 BoBo Eagle Claw Granger Fly XG fly rod 7/8 wt that can't be beat for pounding big poppers and streamers at the banks... it gives new meaning to fast action. I also have the same rod in a 5 wt, and it's nowhere near as nice... maybe because it's a little too stiff for its own good... probably would cast a 6 wt line better although I haven't tried that. These rods are my backup's backups... but I admit to really liking the 7/8 weight with an 8 wt line.
    I've got lots of BoBo Scientific Anglers (K-Mart) leaders that I found on clearance (77 cents) that I'm still using for trout.
    As for consumables in the kitchen. Kroger carries a great BoBo Mountain Dew called Citrus Drop. It's good stuff and cheap... 79 cents for a 2 Liter.
    One thing I will not go BoBo on is cereal. I have never experienced a BoBo cereal that was half as good as the real deal

  8. @Jay - Very impressive. Citrus Drop sounds like the perfect compliment to the Diet Spin I pick up locally, 99 cents for a 3 liter.