As December slowly slips out of sight, it's time to set some fishing goals for the coming year. See how many of these you can check off your list in 2017.
Setting goals, or trying something completely new, is an invaluable skill that will help you become a better angler.
Give these ten suggestions a go this season. Better yet, add your own to the list. One thing is guaranteed. Your level of fun in fishing will undoubtedly increase.
10. Try the fly.
Have you ever tried your hand at fly fishing? This finesse-form of angling has been romanticized in books and films, and for those that practice it, it has become an addictive art form. Give the fly rod a go this coming season and see what all the fuss is about.
9. Savor some shore lunch.
There truly isn't a better taste than that of fresh fish. Make it a goal this season to sample some of your catch - on the shore and over the open flames. This is how fish were intended to be eaten. Believe me - your tummy will thank you.
8. Hit the ice.
This one might be difficult for those in southern states, but if access to frozen water is at your doorstep, why not try your hand fishing it? Ice fishing is a fun and fulfilling pastime that helps wash away those winter blues. You'll be hooked once that first fish shows up in the hole.
7. Try a lodge.
Think about it. A new lake, new surroundings, new friends, and best of all, noteworthy fishing. Visit a lodge this year to truly enjoy a new experience - and a home away from home.
6. Target a new species.
We often spend our days chasing the same fish. Mix it up this new season by making it a goal to pursue a fish you have never caught before. Could be a carp, a sturgeon, or even a gar. Change is good and that's especially true in fishing.
5. Work the night shift.
Fishing under a full moon is an experience unlike any other. With senses heightened, you really are a part of the fish's world. If working crowded water isn't your thing, give the night shift a try. You might just see your catch rate improve.
4. Find three new lakes.
How many of you fish the same lake day after day, week after week? Change things up this year and make it a goal to fish three new lakes. Who knows. One may just cough up that trophy fish you've been searching for.
3. Fish a different way.
Have you ever tried flipping? How about drop shotting? Try your hand at a new technique this year. Adding to your arsenal of tricks will only help in advancing your angling effectiveness.
2. Have a friendly tourney.
Gather some friends, toss some cash in the pot, and head out on the water for a friendly tourney. Competition is good for the soul - and the wallet if you're proficient with your rod that day!
1. Take a kid fishing.
Kids are the future of fishing. Getting more involved in this wonderful pastime should be on all of our bucket lists. Once they are hooked, you'll have a fishing partner for life. Guaranteed.
Have fun with your own bucket list this coming year. Because really, that's what fishing is all about.
Photos: Justin Hoffman