DAD “Ok Honey, we are headed out for the lake. Everything is packed and ready to go, see you in a week.” MOM “Ok Dear. Be safe. See you in twenty minutes.” It’s painful, but sometimes that’s the way things go when we get up to go. Properly packing for a fishing trip is as important as getting to the destination and seldom does either go as planned. Whether we are heading to Ohio Ledge, Nebraska Shoals, Wyoming or the grand canyons south of Block Island, planning is key, mostly when it’s your keys you are unable to locate. Travelling to fish is our time to shine, be in charge and show our better half’s that we can control ourselves and the situation.
Preparation is serious business. We fishermen need to be ready for most anything, like broken rods, gritty reels, bird nests and locals recommending the one color stick bait we did not pack. Last week all Tom Poirier needed to pack was some Gulp sand worms on a jig head to land himself a nice lobster off Prudence Island while bottom fishing.
Packing the vehicle for a fishing trip also can make our hearts beat faster as more stuff gets added. Additionally, there exists no better time to justify a gear purchase than when we are preparing to seriously fish and there are tools we do not have. First there is the five pocket self-search while still in the driveway to initially get things pumping. Science is realizing an increased heartbeat, typically a result of handfuls of rods in hard sided red tubes getting loaded into trucks, can be a positive for the generally less-than-perfectly conditioned fisherman. Sinus tachycardia, a faster than normal heartbeat condition, can be a sure sign of a pending fishing vacation. Since the heart works hard to pump around 50 cc of blood with every normal heartbeat, it needs exercise to keep it strong. We all know exercise increases our casting stamina, improves our balance in the swells around the Pt. Jude lighthouse and helps keep our cholesterol low to compensate for Friday night doughboys and clam cakes. Therefore, packing stuff in preparation for a fishing adventure is good for our health and keeps us in shape. And round is a shape.
Several companies make tackle bags with just enough pockets for everything you need to be zipped tightly away where you will locate it only after you no longer need it. If one were to calculate a collective value of our rods, reels, plastic containers, bags painted with bold patterns of fishy camouflage, whatever that is, dozens of pounds of gear, gaffs, new lures, antique lures, waterproof everything, boots, white boots for fancy boats, hooks of every size and shape and possibly enough spools of line in 4 strengths to encircle Watch Hill, one would indeed recognize what an economic driver the fisherman is. That collective value certainly is less than a certain wife has spent on shoes.
Decent sized bass have been caught around the south side of Block Island and on the North rip, which will require packing some eels but the first step is to read up on the new RIDEM changes on eel possession. Fishing pogies for striped bass near the Providence River continues to be a winner so you will need to pack some snagging hooks to get them in the live well. As the river herring have spawned and begin to swim downstream from places like Indian Run Reservoir, preparations had to be made for their safe passage over the waterfall. Bill McWha and Team Buckeye have installed the perfect low cost escape plan: a yellow plastic kiddie slide which the young alewives can also use as they head south in late summer.
Dr. Ragini Verma, PhD, led a study at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, researching “connectomes” of the sexes, which is probably something originally encountered by Captain James T. Kirk. It seems men are apparently better equipped to understand and perform single tasks, like neatly packing fishing rods or waiting patiently in Quonny Pond for a worm hatch. Women seem to have better memories and perform better when required to multi-task, which would not be necessary if we men are given enough time space and beer to get the vehicle packed before the loud voices come out.
Over-packing is a delight for most fishermen as it gives time on the water with more stuff. If you are piloting one of those blacked out double-wide Suburban’s, you have plenty of space to just toss in more boots and extra pairs of anything right up until you drive away. But if we are ill-prepared, or as daylight pushes us, especially if we have slept through part of it, this is where things get weird. The brain just gets tired and things just get thrown. First thing to go is the list. Organization becomes subjective, space become negotiable. A basic tenant of algebra or maybe calculus, states that the greater the amount added to a given space the less the chances are of said items being located at a time of need.
Despite the best laid plans, something always gets forgotten, like the EZ Pass. The log book shows lots of blame on everyone else for failure to communicate but the reality is the plastic gizmo gets left on the dashboard of whatever car you are not taking. Only as you cruise control yourself through the marvelous left lane of technology does the thought pop up that you blew it and that New Hampshire will be sending you a nice Thanks for Visiting card with a small, expensive note.
It’s only when your internet-deprived laptop serves as a single light source, casting a slight triangle of blue through a dark deep woods cabin, on your first day of a six day trip, as beetles the size of golf balls swarm around your head and the high whine of screen-busting mosquitos overwhelms any plans you had of finishing anything, do you realize your wife forgot to pack the bug spray.