If a river runs through it, ride shares probably can get you there and back.
Emerging from the forest, my shirt was soaked with perspiration; it was almost as if I had just gotten out of the shower or got caught in torrential rain. Despite consuming one water per hour, the midday heat had caught up to me and I was no longer feeling so wonderful.
Now, this was July and I had just enjoyed a terrific day of wild brown trout fishing in Eastern Pennsylvania. The warm fuzzies of catching about 30 trout in complete solitude had now turned plain warm and getting hotter by the moment. Using my phone’s map, I exited the woods near a road and began my 4-mile walk back to the truck, the sun beating down on both me and the searing hot pavement under my boots. I’d had so much fun fishing that I let my guard down, going too long, without enough water and too far from where I parked my vehicle.
“Never again,” I thought to myself; I even began to consider hitchhiking back, something I had never done. By the time I’d gotten back to my truck, I’d had enough time to reflect on my successes and errors of that particular outing. Sure, more water, taking more breaks during the hottest part of the day, maybe even a shorter outing overall, all mental notes for my next trek through the woods. But what else? Enter Uber, or should I say Uber fishing.
Truth be told, I had not used the application and service prior to this hike, but made a point the following afternoon to install Uber on my smartphone. A couple weeks later, I had my next freshwater trout hike and put the strategy to the test. I did another moderate fishing trek and exited the woods near an intersection with two cell towers. I punched in the ride I needed and it was quickly accepted. There I sat, with a bottle of water and a feeling of satisfaction that I did not have to force myself back up the pavement and become a mobile piece of meat on hot asphalt. Sure enough, 15 minutes later, a compact car pulled up and a man name Shivam greeted me. “Hello, you are the one who contacted the Uber, right?” With that, $15 changed hands electronically and the rest is history. Test complete, I was now able to fish longer and harder, knowing I had a ride service at the end of my outing. I’d rather fish with a greater, elongated effort than have to worry myself and save energy for the exhausted walk back.
I do, however, have some important tips regarding Uber fishing. First, make sure there are roads and cell towers where you intend to do this. Mountains, gorges and isolated wilderness are wildcards and due to sketchy phone connection. Driving to the area where the trip will end and checking is prudent and only takes a few extra minutes.
Second, try to keep the waders clean. I’ve never had an Uber driver even remotely concerned about waders in their vehicle. But I also try to avoid heavy mud when I know I’m getting a ride share. Furthermore, I carry sneakers or flip flops in a backpack so I can carry the waders into the vehicle.
Third, take the hooks of the rod before putting it in the car. I think it’s safe to say, we’ve all hooked the interior of a vehicle in our fishing lives, but that’s our vehicle. The last thing you want to do is hang a stranger’s seat with a jerk bait or spinner, which is why I always put my terminal presentation back in its Plano storage spot.
Canoe, raft and kayak fishermen who work in tandem would stand to benefit if they did a float downstream, and when finishing up, one person stayed with the gear and the other retrieved the vehicle using the ride service. No theft, no arranged favors, just more simplicity at anglers’ fingertips.
I must confess I’ve never used this Uber fishing for saltwater fishing, but I’d imagine it would well if someone were to walk far enough along the beach. Drivers might be a little more concerned about sand so doing one’s best to dust or wash off would be most courteous.
The ride home from that original “never again” trip was filled with cramping, regardless of my guzzling everything from water to Gatorade. But I can also say that the error of that day has changed how I fish when hiking streams, creeks and rivers for the better. It’s not just Uber of course, but plenty of other ride-share companies like Lyft, DiDi, and Ola exist today; you’ll find the drivers are always kind, polite, and extremely intrigued by how the day’s fishing went.