Practice Makes Perfect
February 25th, 2016 by Curtis Condon
The best way to practice anything is to actually do it. In other words, if you want to be a better caster, spend more time fishing. However, sometimes that may not be possible, so you are forced to be creative and adapt to where you are and use what you have to work with. For example, if you can’t go fishing, you can always buy a practice lure and hone your casting technique in the house, garage or backyard. The same is true for other outdoor skills. Photo by Steve Krull

The best way to practice anything is to actually do it. In other words, if you want to be a better caster, spend more time fishing. However, sometimes that may not be possible, so you are forced to be creative and adapt to where you are and use what you have to work with. For example, if you can’t go fishing, you can always buy a practice lure and hone your casting technique in the house, garage or backyard. The same is true for other outdoor skills.
Photo by Steve Krull

While growing up, the closest fishing hole was the creek out back. Yet it was less than ideal. Awash with underwater snags and structure, and lined with trees and heavy brush, most of my siblings and I shunned it. But not Dave.

Dave loved fishing. He also loved the fact the creek was so close and full of fish. So he decided he was going to practice casting until he could pitch and flip over or around any obstacle to get at the fish hiding there.

Practice is important when learning or improving any outdoor skill. Whether you want to cast farther, shoot better, perfect your J-stroke or feel more comfortable navigating with a map and compass, practice is the key to achieving that end.

  • Commit your goal to paper. Include the “why” behind it. Pull out your goal statement and review it periodically, especially if you need a motivational boost or you start to question the time you spend on the activity.
  • Make it a priority. Whatever activity or skill you are trying to improve, block out time on your schedule to practice it.
  • Realize getting better takes time and effort. Start small, have realisitic expectations and set manageable goals.
  • Avoid overdoing it. There comes a point when any activity becomes work. Keep it fun. Don’t be afraid to take a break if it starts to become a chore. Always leave yourself wanting more.
  • Reward yourself when you hit your goal. Buy yourself something new or plan a special outing to flaunt your hard-earned skill.

With a lot of practice, Dave got really good by using some of these strategies. His reward was a stringer full of fish almost every time he fished that knarly old creek.

 

Outdoor 101: Keeping a Knife Sharp
Start with a quality knife. The best knifemakers use premium blade steel because they understand not all metals hold an edge equally. Gerber, Kershaw and Benchmade are three brands that come to mind.

Use the knife only as intended. Don’t use it as a pry tool. Avoid blade contact with rocks, metal, glass, ceramic or other materials that can dull or knick a blade.

Learn the proper sharpening method, and use it regularly to keep your knives razor sharp.

 

Enjoy the Outdoors From Your Recliner
When it’s cold and nasty outside, sometimes there’s nothing better than an outdoor adventure enjoyed vicariously through a good book. Here are two to check out:

“A Walk in The Woods,” by Bill Bryson, is a humorous account of Bryson and a friend attempting to through-hike the Appalachian Trail. The book was made into a movie last year starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte.

“A River Runs Through It,” by Norman Maclean, is a classic outdoor story that also made it to the big screen. The true story is about two brothers and their love for flyfishing Montana’s Blackfoot River, and how it influences their lives as they grow to manhood.

 

What Day is It?
March 4: National Walk to Work Day
March 20: International Earth Day
March 30: Take a Walk in the Park Day

 

Got a Tip or a Whopper?
Send us your favorite outdoor tip, photo or story. If selected for publication, we will send you $25 for one-time use of the item. When sending a photo, identify people and pets, and tell us the story behind the picture. Email your submission to gro.etilarurnull@ofni.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMany of Curtis Condon’s fondest memories involve outdoor adventures with friends and family, whether fishing with old school buddies, backpacking in the mountains of the Northwest with his sons, or bird watching along the coast with his wife. He feels fortunate having the opportunity to write about the outdoors and other subjects for more than 30 years.