Showing posts with label relax. Show all posts
Showing posts with label relax. Show all posts

The Pause Button

Can you smell that? That coming rain smell? This morning in Central Texas the skies are a puffy gray, bloating with rain and just waiting for the right moment to let the dry ground drink. It feels like Spring. It smells like Spring but it's still January. Basketball is still going strong but more and more people are venturing out on the water.

Inevitably as more crowds emerge, more problems will as well. In short order we will start to hear more complaining about a certain person or kayak or power boat in "my spot". The talk of "meet me at the ramp" will bluster up and someone will get hurt. Sometimes the cops are called, sometimes not. One of these times it will escalate and someone may well lose a life, maybe not intentionally but it will happen. Someone will slip when pushed, hit their head and the lights will fade out. A family will be in mourning because of a dust up over "rights" to be somewhere or do something involving fishing.

This year needs to be different. This year we need more fishermen to hit the pause button. While the pause button is a metaphor for self control, it works in practical application. The fact of the matter is, when we get upset we need to step back and hit pause. Especially when we are fishing. Look at this rationally right now as you sit at a computer reading this. Do you fish to provide your family's only food source? Most of us will answer no. Do you fish in a tournament to provide electricity and shelter to your family? Most of us will answer no. Will the fish in this "spot" have a tattoo of your name along their lateral line saying they belong to you? No. They won't.

Will your world change if you can't fish that spot right now? No, it won't.
Yet, a lot of people act like it will. I've been guilty of the grousing that comes with finding someone already located where you want to fish. It's disappointing. Is it worth a life? No. Most folks won't evaluate it that way. What's a little yelling? Maybe a little pushing? The fact of the matter is, you don't know what the other guy will do. You don't know what you will do if the adrenaline gets going. Don't let it get up. Be a bigger man and understand: IT'S JUST FISHING.

No one should have to pay fines, go to jail, get seriously hurt or die because you WANT to fish a spot. It won't always be the other guy who gets in trouble. We have to be more like men and less like school yard kids. Hit the pause button and think about what you are upset about.

Some may say this is not an issue. I've personally witnessed three fights in the last two years. It never ends well. It also doesn't speak well to the sport we all love so much. Refined sportsmen react with patience and are slow to act on anger. Take a deep breath and paddle on. We need more sharing and less flaring to truly make others feel welcomed.

Share some time on the water with friends this week if the weather cooperates in your area and enjoy the beauty that nature has to offer. Enjoy the brushstrokes of purple and orange as you watch a sunset from your kayak. Hit the pause button and soak it all in. And remember, keep that remote handy in case you have to hit the pause button again when someone else catches a fish in your spot. Instead of wanting to slap them, slap them a high five and share in their success. Stay level and have fun. That's why we do it, right? To have fun. 

Cooler Weather Means Camping in Texas

Let's face it. Summer in Texas is hot. And when I say hot, I'm not talking sweat a little bit hot. I'm talking about the hydrate or get kidney failure hot. But with October winding down, Fall is here and bringing with it beautiful weekends to get out and enjoy nature. Whether you have a large family or it's just you and a couple of friends, camping is one of the best ways to soak in the beauty that nature is wrapping us in.

Camping mixed with some fishing and kayaking is my preferred envelopment in the season. While I would love to be down at the Devils River right now, a weekend escape to a local lake can be just as fun (and a whole lot easier to do with the kids).

Some people (me included) worry about camping with kids. It's easy for adults to go and enjoy the outdoors but ankle biters add a different twist. Here are a few things to keep in mind that have caught many a parent unprepared.

Kids are curious. They may be a bit overstimulated the first time to a new spot. Plan flexible segments of time where they can explore their new surroundings with you. They often will want to look at animal tracks, interesting sticks, cool rocks, every piece of scat on the trail and the list can go on forever.

Kids have patience at times and at other times don't. You need to understand from the get go that your time frame and theirs may be considerably different. It may also change as their mood does. A three night camping adventure could very likely only last a couple of hours. It is as variable as the Texas weather and you should plan for that. It's ok to leave early. Don't set yourself up for disappointment. Plan for the worst and hope for the best. If you power through and "force" the kids to stay for your planned duration, it may be the last time they ever go camping with you.

Kids love activities and snacks. This is a simpler one to navigate. Have some things to do while you are at your campsite. Kayaking is a favorite of my kids. They love being on the water, paddling around and looking at things. They also like to walk trails and look for things. Things is not specific here for a reason. Sometimes it's leaves; sometimes it's footprints. It depends and we leave it up to the kids. Snacks are the other key ingredient. Having smores is great around a camp fire. Having trail mix or juice that they can have while on a hike or paddle is also a good way to keep interest up. Look at 4 year olds playing soccer. For most of them, they play to get the snack at the end. Camping is no different. What develops is an association of a good time around camping or kayaking or hiking because there is not a distraction of "when can we eat?". When it is readily available they can focus on nature.

Pack for all weather. You will want to pack for cold and hot when you go. Little kids especially have a harder time with temperature shifts than we adults do. Have clothes, sleeping bags, jackets and shoes for all weather. Also don't forget a few changes of clothes if you are going to be out for more than a few hours. (And even then it is a good idea).

Hopefully as Fall joins us over these next few weeks, you will be able to enjoy the great outdoors in a tent, a kayak or on a trail with those you love.

Helping people to get motivated to get out there is Austin Canoe and Kayak. They are giving away some sweet outdoor gear now. For your chance to win check it out below. Even if you don't win, ACK is a great place to stock up on all your outdoor needs.

Politics and Fishing

As we near another Presidential election here in the United States, many minds, even those of us obsessed with fishing, turn to politics. The first debate is in the books and sides are emerging more clearly. People tend to polarize quickly this time of year. Most will spend the next month trying to convince you of their candidates good qualities and at the same time gleefully share the other candidates flaws. In a family that has both Democrats, Republicans and Independents, I try to steer clear of all of it. Will I vote? Yes. Will I tell you who I voted for? Not a chance.And to alleviate the clutter that fills my brain, I do, as several of our nations past presidents did, and relieve the stress by going fishing.

Not only is October a stressful month but is also a great fishing month. The weather is turning cool, the fish are eating to store up for winter and those 105 degree days are but another memory. The long pants and light jacket, stuffed into waders to go stalking in a stream or river or coastal lagoon brings a bit of solice to the soul.

Herbert Hoover, in  Fishing for Fun and to Wash Your Soul said this:

Herbert Hoover Fishing-
That Presidents have taken to fishing in an astonishing fashion seems to me worthy of investigation. I think I have discovered the reason: it is the silent sport. One of the few opportunities given a President for the refreshment of his soul and the clarification of his thoughts by solitude lies through fishing. Fishing seems to be one of the few avenues left to Presidents through which they may escape to their own thoughts, may live in the own imaginings, find relief from the pneumatic hammer of constant personal contacts, and refreshment of mind in rippling waters.
Many other Presidents have been seekers of the streams refuge. Washington, Coolidge, Cleveland, Carter, FDR, Eisenhower and Bush Sr have all been touted as avid fishermen. They remind us in many different articles and interviews about the rest, peace and relaxation that lies within the environs of fishing.

Grover Cleveland, known for fishing regardless of weather conditions, (including hail storms) made a timeless  remark by saying:

In these sad and ominous days of mad fortune chasing, every patriotic, thoughtful citizen, whether he fishes or not, should lament that we have not among our countrymen more fishermen. 

The very people we often argue over this time of year take time to do what many of us do here- go fishing. So I challenge each of you to take time this month to step away from the debates, recharge your soul and go fishing.

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