The Essential Angler [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: The Essential Angler

03-20-2005, 02:48 PM
A while back I got the idea to do a series that members of the Forum could access as a "go to" information base. I wanted it to be a compilation of all the things that the Angler would need to enjoy a fun and safe trip to the river, lake or oceanside. I looked at my own needs, then expanded on that with my knowledge of backcountry travel. This is by no means meant to be a "One Size Fits All" series. Everyone's particular destination, skill level, time span, time of year, and personal needs are different! This is meant to be a base form which all can expand on. I expect and hope that Members will include thered own thoughts and ideas in this as it progresses.
I am going to break this down into different subject lines including Equipment, First Aid, Seasonal Clothing, Food and Hydration, Communication and Signaling, Etc. But first things first...

Often (to often) I hear reports here in the N.W. and around the country of those who have been found suffering from various problems (exaustion, hypothermia, hyperthermia, DEATH!) brought on by spending multiple nights/days wandering around in the woods or desert or canyon with nothing more than a light jacket and mabye some crackers or a half eaten candy bar and a little water. Many times when friends and relitives realize that they are long overdue, no one has a clue where to start looking for him/her.

Hypothermia; a lowering of the bodys "core" temp. (normal core temp is 98.6) caused aporx. 600 deaths in the U.S. in 2003! Thats 12 people for every state in the nation! The stats for 2001 were 67% Male, 51% being age 65 or older, 71% of deaths happened between the months of November and Feburary in outside temps. of 30 to 50 degrees. State with the highest death rate was Montana. If your core temp drops to 92' or lower, you are unable to survive without help. Exposure to cold makes it extremly difficult for a person to initiate or adapt to any survival tactics! Exposure to excessive cold slows enzymatic acctivity throughout the body, leading to a number of potentialy FATAL problems! Understanding the causes and preventable measures dealing with Hypothermia are key! An injured person is more suseptable to Hypothermia because of stress and shock.
Hyperthermia; a raising of the bodys core temp. can cause just as many problems!

Potential problems from these exposure extremes affect ALL AGE GROUPS! Hypothermia can, and alot of times does, occur at temps. ABOVE FREEZING!
Wet Clothing and exposure to Wind can accelerate body heat loss.

Here are a few excersises you can do at home;
Go out to the farthest corner of your property (or 100 feet from the back door) lie down on the ground and proceed to drag yourself back to the back door.....using only 1 leg and 1 arm.
Step outside the backdoor in the evening after the sun goes down in just a t-shirt and jeans and see how long you can last. Make a note of how long it takes for you to feel the beginings of Hypothermia setting in (shivering, shortness of breath, etc.)

To survive in the outdoors, you must be prepared! This is something that every Angler needs to think about BEFORE you are faced with a possible extreme situation.

Where are you going?
Let at least 1 person know where you are going, 2 is better! Maps, yes!
When are you going?
Give them a time line, departure and arivial times and a clue as to when to call authorities if you dont show!
Who is going with you?
It's OK to fish by yourself, but if you go with friends, leave a list of guests!

If you are going to be late returning and you can call, DO IT! Don't leave people hanging!


You all should be carrying this already, but here is a list of a few "essentials" if your not. The kit should be in your vehicle at all times, updated at least yearly, and brought with you any time your going to go away from the vehicle for an extended period of time.
2 - 1 gallon zipper style freezer bags
2 - space blankets (large size)
Roll of marking (surveyours) tape - Bright color, orange is good
Matches (waterproof)
Butane lighter
Water purification tablets
Braided Nylon Cord (50-100')
First Aid Kit
Food (some type of nutritional bar, nuts, dried fruit)
Flashlight, head mount or AA size handheld, and extra batteries
Of ourse, Water!
I have a Fire Starter kit in mine with kindling and fire starter sticks. You dont want to be screwing around with wet stuf in an extreme situation!

Next is equipment...