The more I get into the great outdoors the more respect I have for the ‘old timers’ and am amazed that human beings, before organized agriculture survived and thrived enough to bring us to the point where we have 7 billion people on this planet.

Hunting, fishing, gardening, plant identification (wild edibles), and making do with what was found in your local environment…woah…lots of work, patience and knowledge is needed for it all! And HOMESTEADERS way back in the day did by themselves with knowledge learned the hard way (hit and miss, mostly miss) or learning by/from example through practical knowledge and know how learned from the elders or just from someone who has more miles than you do on a particular subject.


Personally, I prefer to learn the easy way…from others. The advent of printing and finally the internet we have access to so much information/knowledge that I believe many are falling prey to THINKING they know how to do something or could do it, after all, it all sounds so easy But applying that knowledge in a hands on situation is another matter entirely. Finding someone who already has that hands on know how, well, that can be a daunting task, but it sure makes it a lot easier, especially when you learn from someone who will let you learn how you need to learn instead of by a strict set of rules. Guidelines are great, ridgity is not when you are trying to learn a new skill, unless it’s a safety rule.


Case in point, my partner in crime who has had the pleasure of trying to teach me how to hunt and track has taken on the challenge of teaching me how to fish. Now, you might think that fishing is easy and honestly, its easier than hunting! But there are so many ‘things’ involved in being successful (you can see his posts here on fishing at VaCreepinOutdoors) that its crazy, at least to me, but on the otherhand, me being an herbalist/homeopath I am sure he feels the same way about trying to learn from me about what I do well. And sometimes, just plain luck is involved too. I have spent hours just learning how to cast the line and am now comfortable enough that I am practicing getting it under trees. VCO showed me the basics and then let me run with it. Even got a compliment Saturday that I actually looked like I knew what I was doing!


Well, we went out carp fishing this past weekend and he cast in, first cast he caught a channel cat. Here I am sitting going: ‘reel it in! reel it in!’ and to me it looks like he is playing with it, letting it run out, reeling it in, letting the fish run back out, reeling it back in. This went on for a few minutes with him telling me that he didn’t want to bring the fish in with it ‘still green’. What the HECK DID THAT MEAN???? It was a nice size catfish, big enough for eating (wound up releasing it) but why in the world did he let it run? I mean, you hook the thing and bring it in right? That’s what you do with blue gill and the other smaller fish so why not these bigger guys?


Fast forward an hour or so, we’re just standing there with bread on the hook doing not much but watching the line for movement (there is a trick to ‘hooking’ a fish too by the way) and I am thinking, screw this and told him “I bet if I sit down I’ll hook a carp” he laughed and said, ‘yeah, then you get to figure out how to stand up with that thing pulling!’ I thought, ‘whatever’ and proceeded to sit down and dang it, do you know that within minutes my line was busy running out really fast and I am sitting on the ground trying to reel who knows what back in from the sitting position? He’s telling me to let it run out and then reel back in and all I can think is ‘gotta land this sucker’. But I slowed down, followed his directions (kinda) and lo and behold, after a good fight out comes this 4 lb carp! Big fish, strong and a fighter. It was kinda fun, but man! Reeling that thing in was like trying to keep two pitbulls apart that wanted to fight each other.

So, I learned something…what it means to ‘not reel a fish in green’. It means that you let it wear itself out (kinda like putting the 2 year old outside to run around) before trying to bring it onto land. A fish flopping around crazy on the ground is not fun to get your hands on as many of them have fins that will cut you or the darn thing will flop back into the water (have that happen to me before). And getting the hook out so you can put it on a stringer…well, its better, easier and much less painful to let that fish wear itself out than to fight it on land too. Lesson learned about ‘green fish’. The fight was fun and now I am hooked, but next time, I will let it run and fight in the water until it almost gives up. And it was released. Yes, it was pretty small compared to what a lot of people catch size wise but lesson learned about big fish fishing…let them run, play with them. Much less tiring that way and you are less likely to get hurt and keep the fish too or get the hook out with minimal damage to the fish. Btw, I still let him take the hooks out if he’s around.


Just for fun…I learned there are no hard and fast rules about bait that day too, you can catch bass with bread. I did it that same day. VaCreepinOutdoors calls it top water fishing…but with bread? He said he’d never heard of such thing…guess the joke was on him that day. Granted it was only a 4 inch big mouth, but by bouncing the bread through the water, it jumped right on.


Have fun, get out there and learn! Now I gotta figure out how to get new line on the reel.