It’s the morning after New Year’s Day in North Florida. It’s cold, and believe it or not, we could get snow in a few days. Cabin fever, anyone?
Given that I may be indoors longer than expected, and it’s too cold to fish, it’s time to make a list of New Year’s resolutions —- not just your standard goals of personal edification. How about a few suggestions geared toward the fisherman. Let’s call them angling aspirations, so here goes:
Take A Kid Fishing
It doesn’t have to be your child. It could a neighbor’s. There’s nothing more rewarding than taking a youngster out for a day on the water. Need the right rod? TFO’s Trout-Panfish series is ideal for small, inexperienced hands.
Besides, mentoring is a good way to spend quality time away from the stress of work and family. With the internet, IPhones and the array of social media, we’ve created an instant-gratification generation where patience is but pipe dream. Time in the outdoors negates that trend. Nature has no clock.
Although catching fish is not the goal, the process of reading the water and evaluating the conditions provides a number of life lessons. Any venue that a parent or mentor can use to instill these skills is invaluable.
Stating the obvious? Yes. But the reality most of us need to fish more. Quit making excuses and get out of the office, away from the computer and make time to get on the water.
It doesn’t need to be an elaborate trip. You don’t even need to load up the boat or strap down the kayak. A few lunchtime casts at the neighborhood park is better than staying home.
As honey-do lists mount and work responsibilities add up, your angling opportunities will dwindle, but don’t wait for the perfect day to fish. Why? Because that day almost never comes.
I used to only fish when the tide and winds aligned perfectly. Those days are rare. Fish when you can. You’ll learn more and you’ll be happier.
Let’s say you have a few minutes of free time, not enough time to fish, but enough to get something done. That’s the perfect opportunity to organize your gear. You can sort through your fly vest or tackle box. Straighten up the boat. Maybe charge the battery or flush the motor. Every little bit helps and could prevent a headache when you do finally have time to get out for a day on the water. The smoother that first trip of the year is, the better.
Tying flies is the best way to beat the winter blues. The same thing could be said for watching ESPN or the Outdoors Channel, but when you tie flies, you have a finished product, something that you can use on the water.
A good fishing show can motivate you to fish; tying flies actually helps you because it’s part of your gear — just like the rod, reel and line.
There’s also the issues of cost and personal satisfaction. Tie your own flies and you’ll spend less money and have the sense of pride from catching fish on flies created at your vise.
Practice Makes Perfect
We can all learn to cast farther and more accurately. It doesn’t matter if you use spinning gear or a fly rod. Regardless of the gear you use, it pays to put in the work in the offseason. If you can’t fish, you always find 10, 20 minutes a few days a week to cast in the yard. Too cold? You can always stay indoors with TFO’s Bug Launcher or Accelerator.
I’ve spent a lot of time in the yard casting, but the truth is, I was usually motivated when trying out a new rod or line. As a result, my progress has been somewhat inconsistent. I need to be more disciplined and stick to a practice plan. We all do.
Nobody can attempt all of these resolutions. We all have non-fishing responsibilities. Try or one or two realistic goals. One or two is better than none. Happy New Year.