5 New Year’s Resolutions That’ll Make you a Better Person, and Fisherman
- Fish some spots you’ve never fished before – We all have a tendency to stick to what we know, and there’s a reason for that, but that habit is probably inhibiting you from enhancing your angling skills and experiencing new places and things. The value of a new experience is obvious, and just the experience itself has an inherent value that we can all agree is priceless, but when you broaden your horizons you subconsciously and unintentionally add so much valuable information that can be applied to a variety of scenarios, including information that may very well be extremely beneficial to you when fishing the waters you’re more familiar with. So while setting up your fishing itinerary for the coming new year, rather than going on auto-pilot, resist the urge to over-schedule your honey hole, and try a few new rivers, lakes, or even just some new spots on a body of water you normally fish. You’ll thank me later.
- Take kids fishing – I know, fishing with kids rarely/never goes as planned. Kids have a propensity to be whiny, needy, require a wide variety of snacks, be dangerous, need to go to the bathroom a lot, and they almost always get in the way of an effective day of putting fish in the net! But part of being an adult is learning to be patient, unselfish, and provide others with an example of proper behavior…. even if they aren’t behaving properly themselves (I’m still working on these skills myself). Seriously though, if we want the next generation of fishermen and women to be ethical and conservation minded anglers, then we have to show them how to be.
- Fish with someone new – We all have our standby fishing buddies, and there’s a lot to be said for that, especially if they bring the snacks. However, far too often I see fishing partners fall into the trap of doing the same thing over and over again… fishing the same holes, using the same flies & lures, utilizing the same techniques, etc. It’s an easy trap to fall into when you fish with the same people all the time. Fishing with someone new provides a brand new perspective on everything; they have a different way of reading the water, they set up their gear differently, they use different tackle, they fish different locations, and if you’re observant you can pick up a lot of ideas and new information from a new fishing partner. If you’re having hard time finding a new fishing partner try one of the many fishing forums out there, or you could contact a local Trout Unlimited chapter or other non-profit fishing organization. Those kinds of groups are usually full of good people that love to fish!
- Make your fishing trips more about the fun than the fish – As with most resolutions, this one is much easier said than done. As naturally competitive beings, people have an instinct to count every fish we catch and compare our results to other’s and our own previous trips. I still find myself doing this to some degree, but the most mature fishermen are able to approach each adventure with a different, less data driven mindset. Instead of counting numbers of fish, one might count the wildlife they encountered on their trip. Instead of obsessing over the length or weight of the fish caught, one might obsess over the incredible scenery they were surrounded by throughout the day. Instead of thinking about catching fish at all, they think about the art of fishing itself and the zen-like state it can put you in. You get the idea. As I become more and more of a veteran in my fishing career, I find myself slowly but surely gravitating towards this elusive mentality. I don’t believe anyone forgets completely about the actual catching part, but there’s a healthy balance to be found in there somewhere, and hopefully 2016 will take us all a step in the right direction.
- Fish more – Duh. This one is a no-brainer. Not only is fishing fun, relaxing, and a great activity to share with family and friends, but fishing is also good for you! Perhaps you’ve heard the old Babylonian proverb that states, “The gods do not deduct from man’s allotted span the hours spent in fishing.” I’d like to think there’s something to this rational, and I certainly try to live my life according to it. One thing is for sure, I’ve never heard anyone exclaim that that they need to fish less. Good luck on the water in 2016 everyone!