It seems to me there is no better way to ensure the failure of a fishing or hunting trip than to invite along someone with great expectations.
Increasing the odds of a failure of a trip is if that person is travelling a distance to get here and really hopes to experience the activity to its fullest.
Worse still is if that person thinks you know what you are doing and can truly deliver a day of the incredible hunting or fishing you’ve talked about in the past.
Of course, when you invite someone up in such circumstances, you want them to have a good time.
You want them to enjoy it all and be happy.
You want them to think nice things about you and your ability to do the very thing you invited them up to experience.
All of which makes it all the more crushing when it falls apart.
This past weekend, I spent many hours over a few days with a friend from the Lower Mainland searching for deer.
“Get up here,” I told him. “I’ve been seeing a lot of bucks. It will be great!”
It wasn’t so great after all.
In the end, we saw just a couple of does for our effort. To make it worse, we even tried a morning of fishing. I was sure I would at least be able to deliver on that, as this is really a great time of year to chase trout.
Not a trout to be seen.
Sorry, I told him. Don’t know what went wrong. It was all looking great a couple of weeks ago.
He was very gracious as he loaded up his truck for the journey back home.
No problem, he said — that’s hunting and fishing. He accepted our thrashing without making me wear it. But that’s not how I felt. I picked locations and made a plan. I felt like I let him down.
I’ve had other times when I’ve brought people out on trips, mostly fishing, hoping to share a bit of magic.
Some of the people are new to fishing and want to see what all the fuss is about. It’s those people I most want to have a good day.
And then I take them out to a place where only days before I’d had a smoking day and come up blank, or with only a fish or two for six hours fishing. Ouch. Those experiences hurt the most.
I can take a bad trip or three without worry, I’ve had my share of good days to keep the tanks filled.
But for someone who has not experienced the rush of really good fishing, it’s hard to explain to them that it’s really not like this, that’s it’s often much, much better.
It’s OK, they almost always say, it was still a fine time.
Perhaps the danger is in the promise. Perhaps it’s risky to suggest at any time that anything is a sure thing.
Maybe such a suggestion is a guaranteed invitation to an empty cooler. Inevitably, it seems the best times are the ones that happen spontaneously.
Unplanned successes become the stuff that great memories are made from, no matter how we’d like it to be otherwise.
I think next time I’ll invite my friend up for some great forest watching and tell him the chances of seeing beasts of any kind are pretty slim.
If he still comes, I bet we’ll fill tags and boat a limit of trout almost immediately.
Robert Koopmans is an avid angler and hunter who spends as much time as possible in B.C.’s wild places. He also hosts the Hunting & Fishing British Columbia podcast (find it on Apple Podcasts). To share a thought, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.