In Lieu of Fish


This time of year is always a tough one. Daylight savings time signals the onset of shorter days, and those shorter days (and colder temperatures) mean fewer opportunities for fishing. In certain states with specific fishing seasons, one may not legally be allowed to even pursue the species of their choice.

So what is the winter angler to do?

Typically, I end sneaking out a bit to fish locally (as living in Northeast Florida does have certain advantages - we get cold and frost, but don't ever have to worry about ice over). And also usually find myself acquiring more gear than I actually need in "preparation" for next year.

That said, for someone who prefers fishing for trout in mountain streams that require multiple hours of travel to reach, those opportunities pretty much dry up in my neck of the woods come the end of Fall.

So in an effort to be a little more productive with the "offseason," think I'm going to change the routine up a bit this winter... and by writing it down here, I hope to keep myself honest.
  • Tie more flies - this one is pretty common winter pursuit, although I rarely do so. I just don't really enjoy fly tying, but I figure if I can tie 2 or 3 a day, every couple days, I should have plenty in reserve by Spring.
  • Practice casting - I'm a competent caster with both a fly rod and a tenkara rod, but not what I'd consider above average. Practice makes perfect, so this is an opportunity to hone those skills, particularly accuracy. I'm pretty fortunate to live across the street from some rather large community sports fields, so I might even be able to stretch my distance on the 8-weight. 
  • Read - I'd like to become a better-educated angler. Over time, you tend to pick up things through trial and error, however, there is a ton of great books out there I've never read. And I don't mean stories or fiction, I'm talking more technique - specifically on approaching small streams and/or salt marshes. Any suggestions?
  • Plan ahead - I've done a horrible job scouting fishing locations ever since I moved to Florida. The majority of my trips are haphazardly thrown together at the last minute, which usually means familiar (nearby) water and predictable results. Coming up with new places to fish and a plan on how to attack them just never happened. The devil's in the details.
  • Get fit - Or at least a little fitter. I turned 40 this past year, and the realization that my body doesn't work the way it used to is finally starting to set in. My metabolism is slower, I have more aches & pains, and I guess my dream of playing in the NBA is effectively over. Erik Ostrander had a great presentation at the 2017 Tenkara Jam on fishing fitness that was a real "a-ha" moment for me. I've already started riding my bike on the weekends, but need to pivot on my diet and overall exercise habits. Doing such can only extend my window to capably boulder-hop in the trout streams of Georgia & North Carolina in pursuit of native brookies.
So that's my plan. Really hope I can keep with it. Heck, two or three would be far more productive than the past few winters.

Would be curious to hear what you all do during the winter months. If you're lucky enough to live near a trout stream, or even in an area that has a good winter fishery, I hope a little bit at least involves getting a line wet (frozen guides notwithstanding). But maybe there's something worth adding to the list above, I'm certainly open to suggestions.

Comments

  1. I'm still hoping for one more good day out on the water, which means I'm starting to exercise my imagination and sense of humor. Who am I kidding? I don't get out enough when the weather is nice!

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    Replies
    1. I have the same problem Howard... Hope you get that day out.

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  2. Mike those are all great, and should keep you going through the off season.
    I really love to read, and most cases I'm rereading which is fine.

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    Replies
    1. I bought a book today on flies and how to fish them. Hoping it's one I pick up time after time as well.

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  3. I've got a senior season pass to our local ski area (Eldora), so if there's new snow mid-week, I blow out of here and am on the chairlift in about 40 minutes. Ski until I'm tired, or the chairlift has more than a couple people waiting in line, and head home. Boulder Creek fishes decently mid-winter, if there's been a warmish spell to melt the ice off the rocks, and I've found a couple little ponds out east that I'd like to try for pan fish on sunny days.

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    Replies
    1. That sounds pretty awesome. Was never a skier, but that sounds like fun and a great compromise between to pastimes.

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    2. You land in Boulder, and we'll do a jaunt up the canyon and get you expert status by mid-afternoon! (yeah, right, but you'll be sore and happy...)

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