We all know that this sport we love is called fishing, and not catching, for a reason. And we know that fishing is a relaxing sport. We all go fishing to enjoy the beautiful outdoors... right? Wrong! What we really know is that’s just a bunch of BS! It’s about the tap of the bite, the pull of the rod tip, and the satisfaction of a successful hunt.

an angler gets skunked
No matter how good an angler you may be, sometimes all you can catch is a skunk.

Before I go any further, a little transparency: I fish a little. Well, I fish more than a little. Okay, I fish a LOT! As of this writing I have caught 1,600 fish for the year. Yes, I’m bragging now, but there are still days I come back to the dock empty handed. I also get skunked. A lot.

At the time of this writing there was a little more than a month left in the year. At that point I had already logged 232 days of fishing. But, and this is a big one for me, I came home 45 of those days empty-handed. That’s 19.39-percent skunk. Ugh!

With that confession out of the way let’s address this elephant in the fish box. I don’t like getting skunked and I assume every other angler feels the same way. After a long day on the water (enjoying the scenery) and hundreds of casts irritating my tennis elbow (I can feel your sympathy here) I want to know I had a successful day in the great outdoors. But the reality is that we all have a day or two (45 for me) when we get skunked. Although an unsuccessful outing hurts, there is a lesson to be learned. That lesson was pointed out to me by a buddy, who said, “But that means 80.61-percent of the time you do catch fish.” We all have to see the brighter side of fishing. It is being outdoors, time spent with a fishing buddy, the hunt, and those times when you do get to feel the pull of your line that keeps us going back out there.

I’ll end here by sharing with you my biggest fishing secret. I don’t tell everyone so keep this under your hat. I keep a fishing logbook. I record the date, location, weather, water temperature (if I know it), type of fish caught, bait used, etc. My log is my biggest asset and the greatest tool in my tackle box. After I pick a location to fish I look back at my log and I use that information as my starting point. Hopefully, on my next trip out on the water I’ll avoid that skunk!

-By Eric Packard