Being unable to call an end to a day of fishing can result in a walk in the dark to return to a vehicle. (File photo)

Column: Flashlight an important item to pack on fishing trips

The Great Outdoors/James Murray

You step out of your boat onto the dock and look back out at the lake.

It’s just past 11 o’clock at night, there are countless stars out and there is a great big, bright, shiny full moon hanging in the night sky. You look out at the lake and up at the mountains that surround you. The tree tops are covered in moonlight and the moon itself is reflected on the surface of the lake. It’s was a pretty darned good evening and you had several fish to the boat. You even kept one for breakfast in the morning. You take in a deep breath of satisfaction, turn and head towards the cabin.

Now let’s change the scenario a bit. Instead of a bright shiny moon, it is overcast and everything is shrouded in darkness. You can hardly see where you are going and you’re not even sure where the trail is that leads to the cabin. You can remember bringing a flashlight along with all your gear, but it is sitting on the window sill where you put it – just in case.

How many times have you fished a bit to long on a stream and then had to make you way back to the vehicle through the woods in failing light, all the while wishing you had a flashlight? How many times have you had to venture out into the night to go to the outhouse or get some wood for the fire or something out of the vehicle? How many times have you stayed at a fishing lodge, got all comfortable on the couch to read a good book, only to discover they cut the power generator at nine or 10 o’clock?

Related: Column: Nighttime sky reveals natural and scientific wonders

There are any number of situations that can arise on a fishing trip where you suddenly find yourself in need of a flashlight. I know because I have been in need and without far too many times. However, I can also say that is rarely the situation any more. I now make sure that I have a flashlight to cope with just about any and all situations.

Today’s LED (light emitting diode) flashlights are bright, powerful and inexpensive. A while back I bought a package of six little flashlights complete with batteries. It worked out to about $3 each. I have them strategically placed around the house in case the power goes out, which it often does out here. As well, I keep one in the glove compartment of my Jeep along with extra batteries. I also have one in my tackle box and another in the pocket of my fishing jacket.

I also purchased several little collapsible LED lanterns that close down on themselves to take up very little space. They are activated when you slide the outer part of the case open. They’re great when you want to illuminate a whole room and are easy on the eyes when you want to do a bit of reading. They can also be easily moved from room to room.

Somewhere along the line I acquired one of those hats with tiny LED’s built into the brim. They work amazingly well in failing light when you are walking through a wooded area, with fishing gear in both hands. The only problem with them is that replacement batteries cost almost as much as a new hat. LED headlamps are a lot more powerful and work great. (They just don’t work that well with the kind of wide-brimmed hats I tend to wear.)

Almost everyone has a cell phone these days and they really do provide a good light source. Just one more reason to always keep a full charge on your phone.

We (humans) are creatures of the day. We do not have good night vision and are out of our element when we find ourselves in the dark.

Few things are more annoying than finding yourself in a situation where you wish you had a flashlight. In the past I’ve had the pleasure of more then one fishing trip reduced because I forgot to bring along a flashlight. However, having said that, modern, efficient and inexpensive LED flashlights and lanterns are a simple solution to pretty well any and all lighting problems.

The bottom line though is whatever you do, do not forget to bring along extra batteries.


@SalmonArm
barb.brouwer@saobserver.net

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