BY GORD ELLIS
It’s a new year, and for many of us that means it’s time for those annual resolutions. I’d like to meet the person who first floated the idea of doing New Year’s resolutions. A couple choice words would be coming their way. What a self-defeating way to start the year. Sadly the resolution horse is long out of the barn, and we’re all suckers for them anyway. New Year’s resolutions traditionally focus on things like improving spousal communication, quitting smoking, or losing weight. Good things, but not exactly fun times. So, with that in mind, here are a few fun angling related resolutions I came up with for 2015. Feel free to add a few of your own.
1. I will fish more: This is an easy one. We all need to fish more. It really is good for us. Yes, there are those who believe some of us are already fishing too much. There are even those who think fishing is a waste of time. They believe there are more useful ways to use a spring morning, like cleaning out the shed or flipping the garden. The fact is that fishing more will add years to your life, even if you’re overweight, anti-social, and smoke. I’m sure there are studies out there to prove it, but until I find them, just say it’s from a reliable source. I’ve had some regrets in my life, but I’ve never regretted a day spent fishing. You won’t either.
2. I will refrigerate those worms: The year is 1998. It is a hot, muggy August day. A certain angler comes home from a day of walleye fishing and unloads his gear. The tackle goes in the shed. The boat is backed up, plugged in, and unloaded. The fish are cleaned, the guts carefully wrapped up and frozen until garbage day. The worms? Well somehow they’re left inside the patio of the house. The average day-time temperature in that patio? About 30C. A week later, the same angler is looking around the patio and accidentally knocks a white styro-foam container off the bench. The container cracks opens and the liquid contents ooze out onto the rug. The smell is not easily described, but if you were to try, words like putrid, skunk, and vomit would come to mind. For the next year, visitors to the angler’s house are asked to take the front entrance. Refrigerate those worms.
3. I will take longer shore lunches: Fishing is great. We all love it. It’s tough to beat fighting a big pike in a thick weed bed, or waiting to see just how big that walleye thumping below the boat is. However, the mid-day pause for shore lunch is often the very best part of a day of fishing—partially because the food is so good.
Crispy walleye, hot baked beans, a fat slice of bread, and a cup of coffee. It’s tough to beat that menu anywhere. Shore lunch also provides an opportunity to sit back with friends and loved ones and talk about the good stuff. And when I say the good stuff, I mean everything but the mundane topics we usually talk about like work, chores, neighbours etc. Shore lunch is best shared with family, and friends old and new. Surrounded by the beauty of the north, with the lake lapping up on the shore, there is no better way to get to know someone. Don’t rush that shore lunch this year.
4. I will catch and release more fish: When I was a kid, we killed every fish we caught. It didn’t matter how big or small, it was what you did. As the years have gone on, most of us have been selectively releasing more of our fish. Partially it has been due to regulation, and partially due to education. No longer is it necessary to kill a trophy pike, walleye, or brook trout for a mount. You can have a brilliant graphite replica done and it will likely be better than a skin mount. Plus that big trophy will go back to the water. Fishing has improved in many parts of the Northwest thanks largely to catch and release. Oddly enough, releasing more fish ultimately equals catching more fish. How cool is that?
All the best in 2015.