Time on the water is a precious commodity for every angler. As anglers, we get tunnel vision and only think to make sure our waders don’t have leaks or double check that our streamer box is topped off. This is all good till about 10am when your tummy starts rumbling because that Waffle House All Star breakfast has vacated your system. Hungry anglers don’t focus well, aren’t fun to be around, and research suggest they snap more easily. The typical signs of hungry anglers is unusual quietness or annoying commentary.
Know Your Food Groups
We aren’t going to discuss the classic food pyramid that the government ingrains in all our heads when we are seven years old. We are going to talk about something much more practical and typically associated with New Years Resolutions…fats, carbs, and protein. This is a super basic break down for you to digest. This isn’t taking into account special diets or health issues, remember to always follow your doctors advice on special dietary needs. We’ll also list some great hydration methods cause you probably didn’t drink enough fluids to be out on the water for over 8 hours.
- Provide energy for long term
- Slows down digestion so you feel fuller longer
- Makes food taste better….. butter, bacon grease, etc.
- Examples: peanut butter, avocados, olive oil, cheese
- Provide energy
- Typically tasty
- Don’t demonize this workhorse of dietary necessity
- Examples: many items from Cliff Bars to apples falls into this group. Think tortillas, rice, bread, bananas etc.
- Maintains muscle tissue.
- Keeps you feeling full due to the fact that it takes lots of work for the stomach to break down.
- Golden boy of nutrition world
- Examples: Meat, beans, cheese* also has lots of fats, eggs, jerky, etc.
- Pedialyte… no really. It’s great stuff that keeps your electrolytes up to snuff while you sweat it out.
- Nuun tablets in a nalgene bottle.
- We suggest carrying a gallon of water in your vehicle for those nalgene refills and cooking purposes.
- Biolyte is intense, but it’s like an IV in a bottle. You can find these gems at Ingles in the gatorade aisle.
On the Water
Staying fueled up on the water is not rocket science when you plan ahead. How you plan your meals should take into account how you will be fishing that day. A float trip requires a different approach than a high elevation brook trout bush whacking adventure. Common sense dictates that you will burn more calories hiking in for wild brookies than fishing an easy access park and fish Delayed Harvest stream. Take into consideration how much space you’ll have to transport your goods. An all day feeder creek trip will be limited by the size of your pack versus the park and fish option where the sky is the limit space wise while you make a kitchen out of the back of your 4Runner. Below are examples of how to keep you fueled up for a day while staying light on your feet. Remember small meals win out over two or three large ones. Aim to eat every two to three hours. Large meals require more blood to breakdown food, and more prep work. We need that blood to power our legs for hiking and arms for backcasting instead of breaking down a greasy, five hour old chicken biscuit in our stomachs.
Vigorous Hiking (Wild Streams, Blue Lining, etc)
Keep in mind that this is light and meant to maximize calories. Bars are a good choice as they come ready to throw in your pack and tend to be more dense in calories. This is NOT an excuse to pound Snickers or Reeses. Remember we want fuel that will sustain us, not give us a quick boost then make us crash thirty minutes later.
- Fats – Peanut Butter
- Carbs – Cliff Bars, Bobo’s Bars, apples, oranges…lots of options here and the same with protein bars. Just cruise the grocery store.
- Protein – Epic bars, RX bars, Jerky, protein rich bars, etc.
Float Trips/Easy Access
This menu opens up a lot since many anglers carry a cooler with them on these types of trips. Planning ahead can really give you a leg up. Below are some simple meal examples. The same suggestion about eating every two to three hours applies here but the calories won’t be as dense.
- Lunch wrap – Fresh greens, meat( steak from last night’s dinner cut in stripes or lunch meat), cheese, avocado, and drizzle of mustard for taste.
- Do-It Yourself Starbucks Bowl – Grilled chicken breast, slice up some pita bread with a few cut veggies then swing by the store for some hummus. Much cheaper and make a few to keep you going all day.
- Taco Bowel – Black beans and ground beef over a bed of rice. Top with cilantro, salsa, and hunk of lime. Save some lime to put in your beer.
- Cilantro Lime Three Bean Salad – Name implies all you need to know. Just toss the three beans of your choice in lime juice, cilantro, and chopped onion. Summer time favorite as it’s light and won’t have you feeling heavy after eating. Goes down nice with cold cerveza!
Cooking Outside – The Gastronome’s Way
Marketers make a killing making things look way cooler and harder than they actually are. Outside cooking is high on their list as they want you to buy as much light weight, titanium alloyed stuff so you feel like an outside Gordon Ramsay. The simple truth is you probably have 90% of the stuff you need to get rolling in your kitchen. The center piece for outside cooking is a propane stove. They are relatively cheap when you take into account the years of service you’ll get out of them. Below is a list of other items to keep outside cooking quick and simple.
- Skillet – Get a large size so you can do plenty of one pot meals because cleaning up sucks.
- Chef’s Knife – Only knife you’ll need in your kit.
- Spatula – A soft plastic one will keep your non-stick pan coating happier than a classic metal or wood. Spatula is great for dividing, stirring, or serving.
- Cutting Board – Small one that doesn’t take up a lot of space in your kitchen tote is all you need. Can also use Yeti cooler lid if you aren’t fishing with germaphobes.
- Kettle/French Press – You have all the stuff out to boil water so making some afternoon coffee doesn’t hurt.
- Metal Cups – We like metal ones as they can take a beating. Always good to have a few for coffee or campfire bourbon. Again Yeti comes in clutch with their tumbler series.
- Basic Spices – Sea Salt, Black Pepper, Granulated Garlic, Cumin, and Smoked Spanish Paprika.
- Oil/Vinegar – When selecting olive oil aim for extra virgin oil that’s dark green. Good oil should taste a little spicy if you take a sip. For goodness sake don’t buy the watered down stuff that looks like motor oil. Your food will reflect the second tier taste. Vinegar wise an aged Balsamic is a great all around choice. Throw on some sautéed veggies with olive oil for an incredible meal on the tailgate of your truck.
We hope this helps you stay out longer and go harder with some straight forward nutrition advice. The next trip you have take a little time to plan your meals out. Attached below are some links to help you out on your next culinary adventure.
- Gordon Ramsay makes one of the best steaks with a method called basting
- Epic Bar has no ties to the outdoor industry but the way they treat their animals and grasslands stands out from other protein bar companies.
- Crying in front of the boys usually gets you made fun of for life even if it’s because of an onion so here’s how you cut one like a pro.
- Yeti’s keep ice for days but there’s a proper way to pack a cooler.
We’ll see you out there!