Learning more about his outdoor interests

A lot of information is needed as I spend a lifetime pursuing my outdoor interests.

I’ve hunted, trapped, camped and fished and spend hours trying to learn more about these fun and interesting activities afield. As I strive to gather even more information about my interests the means to gather this information have certainly changed since my early years.

I know this will shock you youngsters, but there was no TV when I began my long path to becoming an outdoorsman. Maybe that is why I spent so much time outside the house learning how to shoot my trusty Daisy BB gun and catch those slippery nightcrawlers.

I also read magazines on my favorite outdoor activities and often checked Herbert’s store in East Palestine for each new issue of Sport’s Afield, Outdoor Life, Field & Stream and Fur-Fish-Game. Fur-Fish-Game actually published my first outdoor article. Each of these publications also published special periodic editions, and of course I gobbled them up as well.

Now we have TV and even special channels dedicated to outdoor sports. I check them out periodically, but find them too repetitive with scant helpful information. They seem to be more to promote the stars than to educate the viewer.

Sometimes I even watch one of the bass fishing tournaments, but those guys are fishing seriously as there are healthy prizes to the winners. I don’t blame them, but to win they need to hook a bass, horse it to the boat, weigh it and get back in the water after another one.

I would really like to see more fishing programs that teach me how to catch fish, especially non-bass species such as bluegills, walleyes, perch and catfish. I know they are on TV somewhere, but I have a hard time finding them on the channels I have available.

As I think about my constant search or information I come to realize the best source is talking, and learning from other anglers and hunters. As a writer I have an advantage as I have often shared a boat with guides who have a wealth of experience and are willing to share it. For instance, Barb and I learned about the effectiveness of Road Runner jigs while fishing with Woody on Kentucky Lake. These little jigs with the spinner on the bottom really work. Here in Ohio my neighbor, Doug, uses them on Lake Tomahawk with equal success. This is just one more tip I learned from fellow anglers.

While fishing with Don on Atwood Lake I learned a neat rig for catching saugeyes. Don taught me to tie a floating jig about 18 inches behind a slip sinker and tip it with a leech. You could also tip with a nightcrawler, but Don claimed a leech worked best. We caught fish, and I even hooked a northern pike. Another lesson learned.

While fishing on Mosquito Lake, Tom and Ed gave me a lesson on how barometric pressure affects a fish’s willingness to feed. Because of them I now carry a small barometer on my boat and record the pressure and my fishing results in my daily log. I cannot do anything about the barometric pressure, but I might learn how to fish on certain days, and that might improve my success.

And I sometimes learn from the non-experts even when they try unconventional techniques. My good fishing buddy, Ken, has trolled some lures behind our boat that I would never have trolled. Then he catches all the fish and the next time out I have a similar lure. The experts don’t know everything, and neither do I.

Fishing is an art. Fishing is a science. And sometimes it is just plain luck. The only thing certain about fishing or any outdoor activity is that it is time well spent and you should never stop learning. If you ever think you know it all my advice is to take up another hobby.

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