As one year winds down and I start thinking about the next, I always like to make a list of New Year’s Fishing resolutions. I think it’s good for any angler to set goals, even if some (like my other resolutions of shedding a few pounds and being more productive with my work) tend to be perennial highlights of the resolution lists. Even if I’m able to accomplish a few objectives, I seem to get more out of my fishing. So with that in mind, I’ve come up with the following.
1. I want to dust off some old tackle that I haven’t used in a while, and catch something, anything, with it. So often, I get caught up in newer, better gear that I neglect the great memories that come with fishing the classics. Besides, if I actually use it, my wife will let me keep it
2. I’d like to catch at least one fish species I’ve never caught, in a way I’ve never caught it. For 2013, catching a musky on a fly tops my list
3. Find a piece of water that you’ve never fished, and give it a try. Best of all, you might try that local lake or river you’ve been meaning to fish, but haven’t found the time to do so.
4. Try a fishing method you’ve never done. Make next year the time to pick up a fly rod, or try center-pin fishing. Maybe 2013 should be your year to try surf casting. We all have something to explore, no matter how much we fish.
5. Catch 100 bluegills. That seems like a good round number. And bluegills connect many of us with the type of fishing we started out with when we were younger.
6. Catch a fish, any fish, on a lure or fly you create yourself. There’s something special about tricking fish with your own “secret recipe.”
7. Read one great fishing book every month of the year. It doesn’t matter if it’s a long book or a short one. Doesn’t matter if it’s a “how-to” book, or “angling literature.” And it can be old or new. But reading about fishing undoubtedly helps an angler get better.
8. Put on a mask and snorkel next summer, and go swimming with the fishes. Watch what they do—you’ll be amazed how much seeing things unfold below the surface translates to better fishing from above the surface.
9. Eat something you caught, and use a new recipe. There’s certainly something to be said for enjoying a meal that you hooked yourself. Spice things up by trying something you haven’t quite tasted yet.
10. Lastly, teach at least three other people to fish (or at least take them along). Fishing with children and grandchildren might come naturally, but think about bringing a friend fishing with you in 2013. If we all endeavor to mentor three others every year, our own fishing experiences will be much more rewarding, and the sport we love will benefit greatly.
Kirk Deeter is the editor of TROUT, the publication of Trout Unlimited and an editor-at-large for Field & Stream magazine.