As winter’s end approaches, the allure of weekends on the water is getting closer to becoming a reality. With another season of paddling and fishing just around the corner, now is the perfect time to take stock of your goals for 2021 and ponder what you want to accomplish. It’s far too easy to fall into old habits and visit the same spot, use the same lures, and catch the same fish.
We’re not knocking familiarity or routine. But if 2020 taught us anything, it’s that nothing is guaranteed so if you’re going to buck trends and go big, then now’s the time to carpe diem. This is the season you finally nab that 10-pound bass during the trip you’ve been talking about for ages. To help you make the most of the new year we have a few resolutions for you to consider.
Check Your Safety
Emergency preparedness is not only a Boy Scout merit badge but also an important skill to practice, especially out on the water. First aid kits, PFD’s, and throw bags are all essential gear that deserve a permanent place on your water-craft. 99 percent of the time these and other safety items are dormant stowaways. But when you need them you need them in a hurry to keep a small mishap from becoming a big headline. Take time to run through your safety gear and double check you have what you need, and that it’s in good working order.
Try a New Technique
Anglers are creatures of habit and, as such, we tend to stick with what works. If you’re lucky, then tried and true techniques will yield consistent results; however, fish can be fickle creatures. Rather than doubling down on the same rigs and baits you always use, challenge yourself to expand your repertoire. Adventuring outside your comfort zone will broaden your horizon and make you a better fisherman. It’s also just a lot more fun to catch fish with new baits.
Plan Your Schedule
All too often fishing trips are planned a day or two out, and that makes sense. Nobody’s really that great at predicting the weather more than a few days out. But failure to plan can-- and does-- lead to a plan for failure.
Before warmer weather starts rolling in, take the time to map out the big fishing events of the year, and plan accordingly. It’s never a great feeling when you realize your family vacation is the same week during the run of your favorite fish, or when you wait to buy the only lure that works a day before opening season and it’s out of stock. Grab the gear you need now and clear your calendar so you don’t miss out on primetime.
Go Big, At Least Once
After you’ve fished your local lake for the 100th time, only to come up empty handed (again), it’s only natural for your thoughts to drift to greener pastures. Dreams of fly fishing for Alaska salmon or trolling Giant Trevally at Denpasar are the epic trips of a lifetime. But, for one reason or another, there’s always a reason to delay. Finances, work, and other responsibilities are barriers to making dreams realities.
This is the year that changes. The barriers we erect around our goals are usually more surmountable than we think. With preparation and dedication, those “trips of a lifetime” can become the “trip of the year.” In a lot of ways 2021 is the perfect year to strike out. Airfare is incredibly affordable right now and generally refundable. And if you’re fortunate enough to work from home, then you can easily sneak in some work days on the road to make your trip long enough to be worthwhile. So book those reservations, pack your rods, and make some memories.
Pay It Forward
Lots of anglers are fortunate to have learned the craft of fishing from their family. Just like Andy Griffith walked his son down to the fishin’ hole so too did grandfathers, uncles, and aunts first show us how to cast a rod and land a fish. The value of those lessons, and a lifetime love of the outdoors, is a legacy we should all be proud to inherit, and pass along.
Whether it’s a friend, coworker, relative, or neighbor, commit yourself to sharing the splendor of the outdoors with somebody this year. Investing the time to share your passion is rewarding in its own right, but it’s also an opportunity to help out your fellow man. We’ve all been through a lot in the last year and quietus peace has been in short supply. If you’re not sure where to start, then look into local charities. There are plenty that connect paddlers with greenhorns. Not only will you feel great for helping out but also you could find yourself a future fishing buddy as well!
When he’s not desperately trying to convince his two daughters that fishing is fun Chris runs the Yak Logic Blog. Check out Yaklogic for the latest news, stories, and gear reviews in the world of casual kayak fishing.