Looking back on the last open-water season, it was another season of never-ending casts, soaked
nets and unforgettable joy, spent with friends, family and of course, plenty of
fish. Definitely a season to be thankful for.
Reflection is good as we enter this New Year, but looking toward the new
season with pen and paper should be a rite we all embrace. How about compiling
a "bucket list" for 2014 -- filled with your fishing goals, desires and untried
wants -- and make this year of angling your best, and
most interesting yet. Here are a dozen ideas to get you started.
1. Embrace The Ice
Ice fishing is growing in leaps and bounds, with comfort, technology and
unlimited know-how all at our fingertips. If you're a fair-weather angler that
shuns winter fishing, make this year your goal to take auger to ice. There's
never been a better time to embrace the lure of ice fishing, and the community
spirit, bountiful fish and elongated line wetting will make you a convert in no
time flat. Guaranteed.
2. Chase A Different Fish
Make it a goal this season to target a specie of fish
you have never caught. It could be a crappie, sturgeon or even a muskie. Chasing the same few fish every year can become a
bit repetitive, and most of us are guilty of it. Broadening your game fish
horizons can be a ton of fun and an exercise in knowledge, but most of all, an
accomplishment. Here's to catching my first laker and
carp this coming season!
4. Share Your Passion
We all know why we love fishing so much, so let's
share that passion with another. Make it your goal to introduce one new person
to fishing this year. Whether it is a child, a parent or an elderly neighbor,
passing on your knowledge and enthusiasm will help in getting a would-be angler
hooked for life. The smile on their face will be thanks enough.
5. Take A Trip
Pack up your family, or your fishing mates, and head to one of the thousands of
lodges/resorts that dot the North American wilderness. Choose a fly-in or a
drive-to, but either way get ready for rejuvenation and relaxation, fantastic
fishing and monumental memories.
6. Join A Club
Want to make new fishing friends, learn techniques and reap the abundant
camaraderie? If the answer is "yes," then a fishing club is right up your
alley! Most towns have fishing clubs that are looking for new members, and the
weekly or monthly meetings can be a treasure-trove of experience and fun.
7. Lend A Hand
We have all been witness to it -- the garbage left behind by uncaring anglers.
Not only does this trash pose an environmental concern, it is unsightly and
gives fishermen a bad name. Organize your own cleaning crew this season and
spend the day beautifying our waterways. A few garbage bags and a couple of
hours can have a dramatic impact if we all pitch in.
8. Try A New Technique
Don't know how to flip? Dropshot? Give yourself the
opportunity to learn at least one new technique this year. Study, practice and
succeed, and your time on the water will become more rewarding and productive.
9. Learn Your Electronics
Your electronics can offer you so much more than just
the depth. Put in the time to increase your knowledge and understanding of your
unit -- and let it show you what it can really do. Believe me, the anglers that
know the ins and outs of their electronics always catch more fish.
10. Hit A New Spot
An angler is a creature of habit, often trailering the boat to the same handful of lakes time and
time again. Each year I make it a goal to fish three new bodies of water --
this gives me added variety, allows me to figure out something new, and updates
my ongoing list of lakes I know and have at my disposal. What will your three
lakes be this season?
11. Share In A Shore Lunch
Fish are delicious, there is no doubt about that. But whom
has yet to savor a mess of fish cooked over an open flame -- out amongst
nature? Make it a goal to organize a shore lunch this year. With a little
planning and a few items, this tasty treat on shore will become a favorite
pastime. (Just make sure you catch the fish!)
12. Target A Trophy
Set a goal for yourself in terms of catching a trophy fish. It could be a
5-pound largemouth, 10-pound walleye or 50-inch muskie.
Goals give us drive, and once you break your mark, simply set the goal higher.
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