The Flying Kayak

Hunting, Fishing, Rambling, and Complete Outdoor Hilarity

The Umbrella Theory

The Umbrella Theory is a common phenomenon that most, if not all, outdoorsmen are familiar with. Not to be confused with Murphy’s Law (it is just a theory, after all), the Umbrella Theory, in its simplest form, goes something like this:

You awake in the morning and get ready for a day full of meaningless errands. After stepping outside, you look up to see storms forming on the Apocalyptic scale. Since rain appears to be a guarantee, you grab an umbrella and set off to tackle the day…

But it never rains. Oh yes, it still looks like it’s going to rain for almost the entire day, but it just never happens. Instead you’re stuck carrying around the umbrella for the majority of the day. And God forbid you grabbed a small, retractable umbrella. Rather, in your haste to leave in the morning, you grabbed an umbrella big enough to double as a parachute in emergencies. The day wears on and you step outside from one of your errands to discover that there’s no longer a cloud in the sky. It looks as though there hasn’t been a sign of rain in years. On the way back to your car, you dodge a tumble weed and overhear a farmer complaining about the horrible drought and his crops. All this, while you carry a stupid, giant umbrella around and get bizarre looks from strangers that almost say: “Idiot. Why are you carrying an umbrella?” It failed to rain this day because…You brought an umbrella. But had you simply left the umbrella at home, the resulting flood would have been biblical.

This is the Umbrella Theory hard at work.

This phenomenon is actually better observed in outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing. For example, while driving back to the field house a few weeks back, I encountered a group of pigs. This sort of luck would usually be considered ‘good’, had I actually been carrying a gun. It was unsurprising to me that I literally had no weapon in the truck. Not even a knife or heavy rock. The pigs, knowing this, took advantage of the situation to casually walk circles around the truck and even stand a few feet from the window to make rude comments about my lack of firearms. I should mention that this was the first instance in over two weeks that I didn’t have a gun with me.

The savvy outdoorsman will actually try to use the Umbrella Theory to his advantage. It’s not uncommon for many anglers to purposefully forget the ice, forceps, or even the gaff. Doing this will almost assuredly result in a fantastic day of fishing. I’ve witnessed it happen with hunters too. Lose the bow release in the woods while walking to the stand, and have a shot at a giant buck soon afterwards. Leave the turkey rounds the house, and that big Tom will get close enough for you to consider bludgeoning him with your shotgun. 

It’s important to note that one should NEVER…EVER try to purposefully trick or confuse mother nature with this theory. Don’t ever do something like…let’s say…bring a fly rod onto a sail boat. Being on a sailboat obviously results in the doldrums, and bringing a fly rod results in gale force winds. Trying something absurd like this would prove catastrophic and would probably result in ripping apart the space-time continuum.

Why did I take out the fly rod?

The Umbrella Theory isn’t always at work though. I recently took a trip offshore that was nearly perfect. I brought a fly rod and it was mirror flat over 20 miles offshore with not a breath of wind. I put on sunscreen in the morning and the sun -actually- shone. We slayed the fish and made it back to dock without incident.

While cleaning fish, one of my friends came up to comment on the spectacular day of fishing.

“That was a blast today…Haven’t had a day of fishing like that in years”, he said as he watched me fillet a King Mackerel.

“I know, it was one of those days you dream about. Hey, hand me one of those Snapper out of the cooler”, I responded with a wave of the filet knife.

“Sure thing”, he said as he reached into the cooler to pull out another fish. “I just can’t believe we…Hey!…What’s this umbrella doing in the cooler??”


  1. Haha so true. nicely written.

  2. My brother’s experience was grabbing two boxes of number fours for a duck hunt, only to realize as he was getting on the boat that they were lead. His partner had about a dozen steel rounds which they split. After they ran out of ammo, they stuck around for the incredible birdwatching experience that followed.

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