Document your outdoor aventures

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Journals, cameras and voice recorders are a few ways to document your outdoor hunting trips. (photo submitted)

Journals, cameras and voice recorders are a few ways to document your outdoor hunting trips. (photo submitted)

Having a successful day on the water or in the woods requires a lot of effort, unless you are one of those people with a hidden horseshoe. Most of us don’t have that strategically placed horseshoe so we have to work at it.

I actually can’t stand to watch fishing on TV. It gives a false sense of what to expect. I guess the good part is that the shows make people want to fish so they call a guide like me. The downside is they expect to catch fish like the show portrays — easy, big, and plentiful.

Those that fish or hunt regularly know the factors involved, and they are many. The benefit of years in the outdoors is learning what different scenarios in weather, seasons, etc. do to the quarry we are after. The difficulty lies in remembering all that stuff.

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I guess the old saying that a “short pencil is better than a long memory” is pretty true, so documenting your time outdoors is a great idea. I guess this is a “do as I say and not as I do” column, since I don’t document, well, not exactly.

There are several ways to document your outdoor endeavors. The simplest is writing about your trip, logging everything you can think of: season, date, time of day, wind direction and approximate speed, any weather patterns as of late, clouds, sun, water temperature, fishing pressure and boat traffic. You also need to note lure color, size, retrieve, line size, location of fish caught, fish graphed and presence of bait. You can get as detailed as you want to.

I know of a couple of people who write about every trip on the water. One simply writes down his info as soon as he gets home, and another, a client I met and got to know, had a great idea of carrying a voice recorder with him. He would pull out the recorder on a new spot and list his details, and he would then record when he caught a fish and how. I liked this idea since sometimes I’m too tired when I get home to write, or too aggravated after a tough day.

Most outdoors folk only recall and share of their successes. I think there is as much to learn from what didn’t work, as what did. The bad days keep us in proper perspective, and also teach us what not to do, all valuable stuff.

There are apps and websites available now to help you log your fishing info; the more you can collect and retain the better off you should become. The only hesitation I have about documenting is if you are not careful, you will stop thinking, and listening to that “gut feeling” and rely totally on statistics and the past. There is something about making decisions in the moment on instinct, that can’t be replaced by spreadsheets.