Host of the YouTube series Field Trips, Robert Field has taken adventure fishing beyond a hobby; he has made suffering for his catch a job. Six years ago, the young marketing executive watched an online video of Drew Gregory’s multi-day trip fishing the Devil’s River in Texas. Field was hooked. When the video ended, Field’s dream of wilderness adventure and freedom was born.
Although Field has a master’s degree in finance, he felt a pull to return to the outdoors. Today, he tours the country in an RV, filming his experiences fishing the hottest and coldest destinations on earth.
In his first year on the road, Field produced 79 videos, lived in 20 states, traveled 19,000 miles and spent 120 days fishing. “The show received six-million views in 50 countries,” he says. People tune in to see Field survive and thrive in any fishing environment.
How does Field define adventure fishing? “The key is fishing places that are hard to reach,” he says.
On the Pecos River, Field was caught in a thunderstorm when lightning struck a cliff above his head. “I was blinded for a few seconds and couldn’t hear for half an hour,” he remembers.
Then there was the time he encountered a mountain lion and her cub. “I think I slept 30 minutes that night,” he laughs.
On another trip, fishing turned from fun to survival. “We had to get in the kayaks and catch bass for food,” he says. For Field, adventure fishing is more about the journey than the destination.
Field Trips isn’t just a YouTube show about how to catch fish, the host puts as much emphasis on exploring new areas and meeting the locals. “I enjoy catching new fish and visiting new places, but I love learning about different cultures,” Field says.
In addition to sharing tips and tricks to target local trophies, Field shares regional history, culture and food. “I’ve met some incredible people who are into the outdoors.”
So, how can you get into adventure fishing? Field provides 9 points to get you started:
1. No experience is needed. Field says adventure fishing is a state of mind.
2. Bring friends, especially if you’re new to adventure fishing. Safety is in numbers, and so is adventure. Sharing the adventure with a friend provides a witness to the experience.
3. Scout out a new location—it can be close to home. While many of Field’s adventures are off the beaten track, he also finds new water to explore in urban areas.
4. Travel light—carry only the essential supplies. When dragging, lowering, lifting and carrying your way to the fish, every pound counts.
5. Plan to live in your kayak, to reach the most remote locations, set up camps along the way.
6. Practice self-sustainability. For real adventure, leave the mac-and-cheese at home and plan to survive on your catch.
7. Share the view by bringing a camera. What’s the point of pushing the limits if no one knows the story? Capture trials and triumphs.
8. For multi-day trips, pack paper maps of the area. Technology can fail.
9. Focus on the process, not the destination. Sit around the fire and enjoy sunsets. Slow down. Relax. Enjoy the journey, whether it’s one mile or 1,000 miles.
So, what are the rewards of adventure fishing? For Field, it’s about being healthy, working hard and gaining personal growth from challenges. “Nobody is growing from convenience,’’ Field says.
He recalls an incredibly difficult trip through the Adirondack Mountains in New York, “Probably the eight hardest physical days of my life.”
After emerging on the other side, Field could sense a change, “I felt different. I felt a connection to the past and how people used to live.”
While adventure fishing may be about the action, Field reminds us to take it easy and enjoy the process. “Ultimately, it’s about the need to connect with the wilderness.”
“Probably the eight hardest days of my life.” | Featured photo: Courtesy Robert Field