I know blogging is a dying segment of social media, and I haven't really done my part to keep this blog particularly vibrant with content either. That said, can't help but be extremely thankful for all of the great people (past & present) that Troutrageous! has brought me into contact with - either virtually, or in person.
I'll keep it short - as today is a day best spent with family and friends, so in closing Thank You & have a Happy Thanksgiving!
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.
If I was skilled at making fishing videos, I think my dream project would be to combine two of my favorite things - Tenkara fishing & Ken Burns-style documentaries. I'm captivated by the concept of a "historical timeline" tenkara movie that would immediately replace "A River Runs Through It" as the standard for all fly-fishing cinema.
I can just picture it now...
Grainy black and white still photos of ninjas and wizards battling small stream mountain trout with katana swords bamboo rods...
...accompanied by recollections and musings of current-day tenkara luminaries...
...some video showing the modern (r)evolution...
...overlaid with a Takenobu soundtrack...
...or something like that. Or not. Most likely not. Whatever...
Ok, while that will never happen, that doesn't change the fact that I'm a history nut, and really love to learn the backstories around the pastimes I enjoy. As such, it's my opinion that one of the most complete (& concise) tenkara historical timelines (at least written in English) was recently published on the Discover Tenkara website. It's called "Tenkara: The FULL Lowdown"
You should really check it out if you're up for learning more about tenkara's humble origins in Japan to its contemporary popularization around the world.