Category Archives: Fishing

The Recommended Fishing Book for Kids!

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I. Loved. This. Book.

Kids love picture books. It’s a time-tested fact that reading to a kid and pointing out photos on the page is a surefire way to keep their attention for long periods of time.

When I was a kid, the fishing book that I held in high regard was “Buck Wilder’s Small Fry Fishing Guide.” (Check out the amazon link to the book here)

This fishing guide for children became my youth fishing bible, and I loved to pour over the many drawings and comic book like illustrations that cover every page. At 18, I still love to laugh over the contents. Both a work of art and a true to life guide, I strongly recommend buying this book for the budding fishermen in your life.

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The Unfortunate Difficulty in Outdoor Recreation

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One summer, I spent a lot of time at a small neighborhood pond that was closer to a puddle than it was to anything else. It was a ten-minute drive from my house and yet provided me a fishing getaway on most days when I wished to get out and fish on my own.

This lake had a variety of game fish to choose from and was absolutely overrun with the Common Carp, a “trash” fish to most fishing purists. Now, young though I was, I was an avid fisherman and did just about any kind of fishing one could think of. I knew this pond, the spots, the baits and knew that I could catch at least something to stave off the dreaded skunk but at the time I fished for literally anything that would bite so I was usually rewarded.

On some trips, I’d invite my fishing deprived friends to join me because here I knew I could do my best to pique their interest in the sport. One trip in particular has always stood out as the perfect example of people not truly experiencing a sport as it could be.

My friend (who I will call Greg for this story) was a person that always said, “I don’t like fishing because you never catch anything.” So, of course it was my duty to invite him on a trip and show him that sometimes, fishing can be catching.

I met him at the lake near the evening and dark storm clouds were rolling overhead but never showed signs of rain. There was no wind and the air was warm, this I felt was the perfect fishing conditions for a little pond.

The minute I arrived and started setting up by the water, Greg ran over to me from the swings and insisted we play on the playground instead. He’d been waiting already and the playground nearby had been an irresistible source of entertainment.

“But we came here to do some fishing,” was my reply.

He ran the short distance to the playground and joined the game of tag already being played by the playgrounds residents while I continued to work pulling line through the guides, tying on hooks, and baiting up with worms I’d dug from my garden at home.

One rod was casted in to sit and wait while I took the other to a rocky section of the pond where I knew fish would cruise by in search of a meal. I flicked the line out a short distance from me and at a rod length away I dragged it back and forth before me like I was playing with a cat.

Only a few moments passed and bam! I had a hit. I set the hook and scooped into the net a skinny rainbow trout.

“Got one!” I shouted to Greg.

He ran over with a look of disbelief on his face.

“You caught that just now?” he asked.

“Yeah, today’s going to be a good day,” I smiled at him.

He pondered that for a moment.

“Can I try too?”

I smiled and handed him my re-baited rod.

“Here, I’ll show you what I was doing.”

That evening he fished with me the rest of the day and we caught more trout with some added bluegill and largemouth bass all within a certain length of shore.

I looked back and wondered if he’d been fishing with someone who knew what he was doing. My friend Greg couldn’t have known any better either way, and I was happy that this little experience was something that he enjoyed.

I see now that, especially with fishing, there is a stigma that it is boring, only for old people, and all it involves is sitting by a body of water and staring at a rod. While there are those moments, fishing is actually very hard and requires a large amount of knowledge to do it affectively. Most people I know don’t actually fish right and that is where people become unknowingly ignorant.

Just like any sport, fishing requires practice and an uncommon set of skills. In reality, fishing with a cheap Walmart Barbie rod is going to do more harm than good and if any little component of preparation is done wrong, it may throw the whole trip off.

There is a lot of ignorance regarding the outdoors and the environment. The best we can do for ourselves is to educate ourselves out of that state of mind and learn how to do things the right way. If a person ends up having a bad experience, many times it’s because they didn’t know what they were doing or the people they were with had been just as unskilled.

Outdoor recreation is a difficult branch of recreation and so the best way to experience it is with someone who knows what they are doing. But, with less and less outdoorsmen in the world, how many are there left to teach others? This is an unfortunate situation.

Bobber Bait fishing

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In the previous post we covered the best rig for bait fishing. Known as a slip-sinker rig, this style of fishing can also be used interchangeably with a bobber in order to target fish that are present in the higher levels of the water column. Fishing with a bobber is also useful when fishing in current because it offers a more realistic presentation and the weight hangs up off the bottom so you’re less likely to get snagged on rocks and sticks.  In this post, we’ll cover using a bobber fishing rig in still and moving bodies of water.

  • Please Note: Do not use the big red-and-white bobbers that most people associate with bobber fishing. Instead, use a streamlined bobber called a spring-attach bobber. The wind will not pull it around as easy and the fish will be able to pull it under easier.

Got to the previous post and follow the steps to tying a slip-sinker rig but substitute a slightly lighter weight so the bobber isn’t pulled under. Attach the bobber itself to the line at the depth you want to fish or the depth of the water you are fishing in. If you attach the bobber 3 feet from the hook then the bait will hang 3 feet under the water’s surface.

  • Please Note: Do not use Powerbait while bobber fishing because the Powerbait floats! Use sinking baits like a worm or salmon eggs.

Bobber fishing in still bodies of water depends on the depth that the fish are holding at. In most instances however, it’s safe to assume that a length of 2-3 feet should put the bait right at the fish’s nose. Most fish are willing to swim up in the water column for food and thus it won’t matter too much that it’s a bit out of their range. Whenever possible, cast perpendicular to the wind and the shoreline so the bait floats parallel to the shore. This keeps the bait in a consistent area where the fish are attracted by the scent. If the bobber goes under, set the hook and reel in the fish.

When bait fishing with worms, the best way to hook them is by threading them on and pinching off the rest of the worm. Leave an inch or two of free worm off the end of the hook to dangle in the water which will attract fish from a distance. The good thing about using worms is that they have a very natural scent in the water and do not have to be replaced until the worm is gone.

Bobber fishing in moving bodies of water like rivers and streams requires a slightly different set of rules. To start, set the line depth to just below the depth of the water you are fishing and check to make sure the weight is not rolling on the bottom and the hook is not getting snagged. Bait the hook after length is determined and cast upstream. Casting upstream will mean that the rig will float down and past you so it maintains the longest drift possible. As the line flows towards you, be sure to slowly reel in line so the slack doesn’t build up. If the bobber hesitates on its drift or is pulled under, set the hook. In some cases, the hesitation is a sign that the weight is rolling along the bottom so adjust the float accordingly.

That’s it for bobber fishing!

Tight lines everybody!

Slip-Sinker Bait fishing Rig

The most common bait fishing rig I use is known as a “slip-sinker rig” because the free-sliding bullet sinker has a hole through the center through which the line moves. When a fish grabs the bait, the line slides through the sinker and the bite is sent directly to the rod tip. If the sinker was tied to the line, the fish would have to pull the weight before the bite is seen on the rod. A slip-sinker rig is the most natural bait fishing presentation for this reason.

To tie the swivel and hook to the line use what is known as a Clinch knot or a Fisherman’s knot.

To tie this rig, start by sliding on the bullet weight to the main line with the tapered end first and then tie the main line to the barrel end of the snap swivel using a clinch knot. Cut a 1-2 foot section of line from a spare spool and attach one end to the snap portion of the swivel and the other end to the hook.

The bullet weight should be able to slide up and down the main line only being stopped when it reaches the swivel.

To fish this rig, simply cast as far as your gear allows, let the weight settle, and slowly reel in line until it’s taut. A taut line means the smallest of nibbles will show up on the rod tip. When you get a bite, jerk the rod sharply to bury the hook in the trout’s mouth. Fish on!

Common baits to use include:

  • Powerbait
  • Worms
  • Salmon eggs
  • Crickets
  • Minnows
  • Chunk bait (chunks of fish like Sucker meat

Just hook on your bait and get fishing!

Tight lines everybody!

Beginner Fishing Kit

TheOutLife Beginner Fishing Kit(left-to-right then top-to-bottom):

  • Bullet sinkers (bubble 8)
    • 3/8 ounce
    • 1/8 ounce
  • Split Shot Weights (bubble 6)
    • 2 gram
  • Snap Swivel (bubble 7)
    • Size 14 or 12
  • 6-pound test
  • Open faced Spin Casting Reel (bubble 4)
  • 1/8 ounce Kastmaster (bubble 1)
  • 1/8 ounce Roostertail (bubble 3)
  • Hooks (baitholder) (bubble 2)
    • Size 6
    • Size 10
  • Spring Attached Bobber (bubble 5)
  • Medium to Light action spin casting rod

The total cost for this kit will total roughly 70$ so if you start with no gear whatsoever, this basic kit will get you on any type of fish in the freshwater fishing world.

Grow The Addiction

dsc_5282I love the fisherman’s high. At a very young age I was lucky enough to have a father who took me fishing and a mother who supported my outdoor endeavors. Some of my fondest memories are set within casting distance of a body of water. As a result I have grown with an appreciation of the outdoors and nurtured qualities such as those that a fisherman would have. I grew patience waiting for a bite, respect when handling a fish, and, most important of all, a desire to show others why I love what I do.

This is not just a fishing story or how to or wistful musings from times of old. This is a plea from a member of the next generation to show all of us, fisherman or not, your secrets, values, and passion. I am a young man born and raised in Colorado who knows all too well other addictive mediums that kids in my age group use. They look for some sort of escape or fulfillment in their lives that they have trouble finding. Some end up glued to television screens and game controllers living viscerally through their online persona. They fall out of touch with their real lives and lose knowledge of what lives they could lead. Some end up plastering their faces on social media to find personal satisfaction in stranger’s comments and “likes”. Others still will resort to violence and misbehavior for the excitement and attention gleaned from overt acts. All end up detached from the outdoors as a personal outlet.

One of my close friends, prior to taking him fishing, told me, “My parents say that we’re a hotel family.” He was not young, not poor, not disabled. His family came down a long line of “hotel people” and he was set on a path that life, modern life, has handed to him. All his life lead to believe that going fishing is boring and when you go you never catch anything anyway so why bother. His few trips, to no one’s fault, were done in ignorance. Wrong bait, wrong tackle, wrong place, wrong time, throwing rocks, swimming dogs the list is endless. Well on our trip, he went with a fisherman. Now he ties the rigs and baits the hooks that catch the fish he’s looking for. One trip. The birth of a fisherman. Now he has actually experienced the fulfilling sport of fishing and asks me to take him more. Now the problem is that although I have showed him our sport I cannot always be there to support his growth. His parents do not take him and his family does not fish so that it falls to me to give him the opportunities to make more memories. On another note, he has told more friends about his experience and they want to go as well. I do not have the time nor the money to stage a one man movement to teach the world to fish.

As much as I would like to live my life abiding by the rules of the old proverb (see below) I cannot do this alone. I know that I was born fortunate, into an outdoor oriented family, and had many positive experiences and opportunities to form them. Others are not and will never be given the chance to.

Some fish for different reasons, by different means, holding different values, but residing in the core of all of us lies the hook for a hobby that can last a lifetime.

Believe me when I say that among my age group, rare it truly is to see a fisherman. Not one who “has been fishing before” but one who fishes for life. I see it in the midst of fishing trips. All those I see are mostly grown-men, many who are aging and grew up in a time when the outdoors was synonymous with everyday life. In today’s culture we see a trend where living inside is safer or more normal than spending time outside. This being the case, I see that fishing is a very powerful catalyst for getting someone outside and them growing a fondness for being there.

To me, fishing is much more than catching fish or competing for size or eating everything on the end of the line. If that’s why you fish, more power to you. However, I fish for memories. Years from now I will not remember the time I spent watching T.V. or playing call of duty. There was a time I heavily did. I will remember the evening with my father when we had an elk herd run in front of the car, illuminated by just our headlights and the slowly rising sun. I will remember the smile on my friend’s face fighting a huge fish all on his own and holding it up for his victorious picture. I will remember, and appreciate, my mother driving me to and from lakes and ponds many times at the drop a hat and always asking me, “Did you have fun?” This is because I do have fun, and I want to show others the same.

The success and growth of these values relies on the “breeding” of more fishermen. If they are not born, fishing will not live. It is in my humblest opinion that we are endangered, and it is solely up to us to save our bloodlines.

Take someone fishing. Sacrifice some of your time and grow the roots for the future of our sport.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

In both body and soul.