Dock Talk: New Year's resolutions for anglers
Creating a New Year's resolution, which dates back to 153 B.C., is simple for some people and difficult for others.
Many individuals intend to exercise, lose a few pounds or possibly kick a bad habit in their lives. Yet as a society, we've often kept our New Year's resolutions to a minimum; only one per person.
This year, I urge you to expand your list of resolutions. That way if you don't succeed with one, you haven't completely failed. In other words, maybe we should all create some "back-up" resolutions.
Of course we should all strive to improve various aspects of our work habits, social affairs and family relationships. But a few fishing resolutions wouldn't hurt either.
Complete warranty cards
So many products in the angling world have a warranty, from boats and motors to fillet knives and fishing reels. Those post-card sized information cards are often overlooked since the eagerness to use the item often supersedes validating the warranty, until finally they're forgotten. That is, until you unfortunately have a warranty issue.
Think about it, filling out the warranty card can save you time and money (not to mention your sanity), which are all common themes when it comes to resolutions. The best way to accomplish this is to fill out the warranty card and send it in before you allow yourself to use the item.
Keep your bait alive
Live bait should be exactly that; alive. Whether it's minnows, leeches, worms, frogs, waterdogs, grasshoppers, or whatever your bait preference may be, caring for it will again save you time and money.
Change the water in your minnow buckets and leech containers often and remove any occupants in poor health. Keep your bait containers out of direct sunlight during the summer and don't allow bait like minnows or wax worms to freeze during the arctic winter months.
Dry your clothes
One of the best investments I've ever made was a boot dryer. It's much more comfortable to place your feet into dry, warm boots than smelly, wet liners. The same goes for gloves and rain suits as well. A basic principle for staying warm is to first stay dry. That might entail placing your garments over a heat register, in the dryer or simply hanging them up when you get home.
Protect the fisheries
So many resolutions involve personal improvements. Making the effort to protect our lakes, rivers and land will not only make you feel good, but will additionally benefit future generations. Basic care, such as disposing of trash in receptacles and picking up trash that someone else has left behind is everyone's responsibility.
Dutifully checking boats and trailers for invasive species such as Eurasian milfoil and zebra mussels is another priority.
Other options include volunteering to help with a shoreline restoration program, teaching others about conservation and reporting wildlife and land-use infractions.
Get on the water
It's easy to find reasons not to go fishing, similar to excuses for not exercising. This year, make excuses to actually head to the lake.