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The Naughty and Nice List - Trip Version

Walleye caught on a fly in fishing trip in Northern Ontario, Canada
A nice walleye caught on a lucky lure

As I post this on December 23, I thought a Holiday theme would be appropriate. This year Santa is checking his list for Trip Do’s and Don’ts, the Hero’s, and Zeros of tripping so to speak. This is not unlike my “That Guy” post That Guy on the Trip but this time I highlight some good as well

Naughty – Hook on the Guide

I don’t know why this bugs me so much. I am sure when I started fishing, I also casually hooked my lure on my rod guides. Then I read an article about how it can cut or scratch the guide which can then cut your line. I mean I get it – not all rods have that handy little keeper at the base of the rod but still – put your hook on the metal joint between the guide and the rod and have some respect for your gear man! I find this happens a lot on trips - you are in and out of the boat or canoe a lot, switching tactics or lures. I find myself reminding people a lot - like the grumpy old man I am. Hook in the Guide and Grumpy Andrew – Grandma’s Sweater for You!

Fishing tips and tricks blog
The right place to hook your rod - image courtesy of Daiwa

Nice – The Lucky Lures

Nothing is as sweet as being the guy on the trip with the lucky lure. Sometimes it’s a special colour, sometimes it’s a certain shape or sometimes it happens to be that family heirloom you have in the dark corner of your tackle box that you throw out on a whim. I remember fishing with my Dad and brother on Balsam Lake on year and I had the lucky lure. It was a colour called Fried Green Tomato and it was the bomb. I remember fishing beside Colin on Ogoki Lake when he had the hot lure – a weird variation of firetiger that the walleye and pike just loved. Lucky Lure – BB Gun for You

Nice walleye caught on a fly in fishing trip in Ontario, Canada
Colin w a beauty caught on that special Hot n Tot

Naughty – Ankle Biters

I have spent a good chunk of my summers in the outdoors. Camping, cottaging, trailering, fishing and so on. Up until this summer I never understood or experience ankle biters. Sure, I knew mosquitos, black flies, horse, and deer flies but whenever I saw a post or an article about ankle biters, I just assumed it was one of the aforementioned critters. Not true- this summer in Algonquin we were blessed with no blackflies and a medium barrage of mosquitos and then they came. These normal looking houseflies loved nothing more than landing on a bare ankle or to and sinking their viscous fangs (slight exaggeration) in. The worst part was that nothing deterred them – bug spray, socks, or a smoky fire. Ankle Biters – Lump of Coal for You (and a pox on your children!)

Canoing trip to Penn Lake in Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada
Getting as close to the fire as I can to ward off the ankle biters

Nice – Cold Beer

I am not a big drinker at home – heck 12 beers may last in my fridge for months – longer if we have no company. Put me on a fishing or camping trip, that changes. Somehow after a long day on the water, sitting around the campfire or at the end of a long paddle nothing in this world tastes as good as a cold beer. On our Algonquin trip this summer Algonquin 2021 we knew that lugging in cases of cold beer wasn’t possible or at least it wasn’t worth the effort. On one of our planning sessions, Mark had the brilliant idea of suggesting we each bring 3 beers. He has one of those fancy Yeti Cooler Bags (big shot he is) and with a block of ice that thing stays cold for a long time. Our portage and paddler on the second day was a grind – steep and muddy path and a paddle into a strong headwind. As we finally pulled into our camp spot reaching into the cooler and pulling out a cold can of beer was, well I can’t describe it. Cold Beer – Fancy Yeti Cooler for You

Best coolers for fly in fishing trips
The fancy Yeti Cooler - image courtesy of

I think I will end this post here. I have little to complain about from my 2021 trips. I am blessed to get to spend a fair amount of time every summer doing what I love – hanging with friends and family in the great outdoors. The last two years have been tough on all of us I am sure and being able to fish, paddle or just go for a hike has been a great way for me to unwind and relax. To all of you and yours I wish you all a Happy Holiday and a prosperous 2022 – may it be a year of windfalls, personal bests and I hop no one in your boat hooks their lure to the eye of their rod!



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