Don’t forget where you came from and how you learned to love the outdoors. Get back to your roots this summer.
I recently started fishing bass tournaments and going back to my hometown to hunt for whitetails. I noticed I sometimes get frustrated by not performing up to my expectations.
It finally occurred to me I need to get back in touch with what made being in the great outdoors a blast. Don’t get caught up in catching a record fish or scoring a monster buck. Just get outside and have fun!
1. Call your buddy and grab a lantern and fish for catfish
Grab some shiners, put them in a bait bucket. Then grab a lantern and some firewood and stock the cooler. Call a buddy or two and plan a night out on the river or lake. It’s simple, but sometimes the easiest things bring us the most fun. If the catfish are biting at night, there’s nothing quite like reeling in one of these freshwater monsters. It’s nothing but good, dirty fun.
2. Catch your bait, then fish with it
Spend an evening flipping over rocks and looking for worms and grubs. Sometimes, you just need to wait for a good rainstorm and the worms will do the work for you. You could also go to your local stream and use a minnow seine to catch some bait fish. Just the act of prepping to go fishing can be very satisfying. If you have kids, take them along. They’ll love grabbing the critters for you!
3. Go to the first place you ever fished
I did this one and I must say, it was good for the soul. Well, maybe it wasn’t the first place, but it was a memorable place where my grandfather would take me. I went fishing there recently with my dad. We only caught one fish, but the conversation and recollection of memories made the trip completely worth it. The mountain stream seemed massive to me as a kid, but it was now a tiny brook with only a few good fishing holes. I highly recommend completing this one this year. It’ll be good for you.
4. Go wading
Who knows what you’ll find! Wasn’t it the point when you were a kid: the adventure of it all? This one won’t cost you anything, but will pay dividends for your mind. Sometimes communing with nature without any expectations can be a very rewarding experience. Just walk and see what you can get into in the water.
5. Fish for bluegills
Fishing for bluegills can be a blast. They are vicious feeders! If you can find a place to fish from the bank of a lake, you are in luck. Get some grubs or minnows and get started. You could fish for hours, and it’s always fun.
6. Shoot a BB gun at cans
It is so simple, but so much fun. Go into the backyard and line the cans up on a picnic table or tree stump. Try hitting them from different shooting positions. Make a game out of it and challenge your self, or call a buddy or two and see who can shoot the best.
7. Make dough balls and go carp fishing in the summer
This one will take you from the kitchen to the stream. There’s something special about making your own bait and successfully using it on the water. This is a great thing to do in the dead of summer, when a lot of the fishing has slowed down. Once you hook into a massive carp, get ready to hold. They can be a blast to land!
8. Plan a trip with an old fishing or hunting buddy
I haven’t done this one yet, but I look forward to making it happen. It’s always fun meeting new folks, but I think it would be more special to hit the home waters or woods with an old friend.
9. Build a shelter and camp out in the woods
This one is a lot of fun. One of my good buddies and I did this on my parents’ property. We didn’t really know what we were doing, and the skies opened up and poured on us all afternoon and night. However, I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in a while. Life really slowed down for a few hours. All we had was a fire, our shelter, and the outdoors.
10. Take a kid fishing
Sometimes, we can get caught up in the pursuit of our personal best or our heaviest bag to weigh in at the close of a tournament. However, there is something special about stepping back and watching a young kid reel in a fish for the first time. The best part is the range of emotions on their face. It’s usually a blend of bliss, fear, panic, and excitement. Don’t miss out on this opportunity! At some point, someone showed you how awesome outdoor sports could be, so return the favor.
All images, unless specified, via Scott Vensel