The Great Outdoors by James Murray

The Great Outdoors by James Murray

Column: For fishing trips, better to prepare in advance than be sorry later

Great Outdoors by James Murray

By James Murray


Up at the crack of dawn, get dressed, wolf down a bowl of corn flakes or Red River cereal, rush out the back door and try to get first dibs on the front seat of the car.

That was pretty much all the preparation I had to do when we went fishing as kids. I never realized just how much preparation my father put in to getting everything ready for our fishing trips. He would get everything sorted out the day before, making sure there was a good assortment of lures and spoons in each of our tackle boxes, as well as enough bait hooks and bobbers. The night before he would lay a couple of two-by-six boards, about three-feet long, on top of the soft soil at the edge of the garden in the backyard. In the early hours of the morning he would lift the boards and collect all the dew worms that had come to the surface. He would then go back into the house and boil eggs to make the egg salad sandwiches we would devour for our lunch. He would then pack the cooler and carry it out to the trunk of the car. Go back in and get all the fishing rods, tackle boxes and everything else that was deemed necessary to bring along. Do a quick head count and then we were off – as simple as that.

I mention all of this for no other reason than my friend Cory and I have been planning an extended two-week fishing trip for the past couple of years.

For the past six months we have been going through copies of BC Backroad Mapbooks and Fishing Guides to plan our route and selecting places to fish. We even have an app for the cell phone that allows us to chart and follow our selected route. When COVID-19 travel restrictions are finally lifted, we will also be able to make proper bookings for campsites and places to stay.

Over this past winter, I went through all my fly and tackle boxes to make sure I have all the right fly patterns and lures, spoons and spinners, as well as terminal tackle, needed for the various fish species we’ll be casting for, including grayling, trout and steelhead. For this trip, we have decided to fish rivers and streams exclusively. I’ve also made sure all my other fishing gear is in order. I cleaned and checked my fly lines for damage only to discover one needed to be replaced – better now than when we are in the middle of nowhere.

Just before we head off I will replace all the line on my spinning and casting rods. Although they have not been used for a couple of years, monofilament line tends to retain ‘memory’ and will probably come off the reel in curls – better to simply replace it and not take a chance.

Read more: Column: Stay safe outdoors in the Shuswap by being prepared

Read more: Shuswap mom helps others find their own outdoor adventures

I have also started to make up a safety supply/emergency kit which will include things like a first aid kit, several packages of windproof/waterproof matches, extra strong orange garbage bags, a full box of zip lock baggies, soap, mosquito repellant, additional sunscreen, extra batteries, a spare can opener, my old Swiss Army knife and a roll of heavy-duty duct tape, as well as an old pair of prescription glasses – all things I have forgotten to pack at one time or another on previous trips. As I think of things I add them to the kit. Hopefully it won’t be too full or heavy – but once again, better to be safe than sorry.

I even went online and purchased a used, commercial-grade, long=range walkie-talkie set, one that has emergency scan ability and is good for up to 50 miles. They can be charged off the vehicle as can our cel phones.

One thing I have learned the hard way over the years is that I tend to bring along a lot of things I end up never using. We will both have to decide what is necessary and what we can get along without. There is only so much room in a Range Rover. The necessities include a tent, cots and sleeping bags, all which will take up a lot of room. Then there is the Yeti cooler with all our food. Not to mention our clothes, waders and boots and all our fishing gear. While there are a lot of things we need to bring, we have also eliminated many items. I think Cory and I have done pretty good so far with planning this trip. A lot is going to depend on where we are with the COVID-19 pandemic, but we are hopeful.

Looking back now, I guess I never realized just how much preparation my father put into our fishing trips. Maybe as a kid I just took things for granted. All I can say is, “Thanks Dad.”
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