New Season Resolutions, 2018

At some point during my first hungover day of 2018 (which, not-so-oddly enough, turned out to be the first day of 2018) I began thinking about resolutions. Lying in bed, sipping on a Gatorade, I jotted some things down on a piece of paper.

Yes, the words “New Years Resolution” makes me gag a little bit too. But I felt, considering the importance of some of the events that were slated to occur in the coming year, a resolution list jotted down on some forgotten piece of paper may lend some guidance to my otherwise scattered and meandering brain.

An interesting thing happened. As I wrote down said resolutions, I began to notice that most of them—well, the most interesting ones—included something to do with fishing.

But it’s funny. Shouldn’t I pick something a little more impactful than fishing? Shouldn’t I choose something like: Save more money, get healthier, work on our house, and oh yeah, get married? Wouldn’t that make logical sense? Isn’t that what people want to see when they look at these horrible, cliché, new year, new me lists?

Well, yes, but those are boring. And now, looking back on this list a few months later, I’ve decided is the time to think about fishing. So here are my New Season Resolutions for 2018.

Get people on fish who would normally never have a chance

We’ll start simply. I love getting people on fish.

I always think back to this story. A few summers ago, my two younger cousins (12 or 13 year olds) were in Plymouth for the day and wanted to catch a fish. We cruised out into the Bay and immediately spotted birds working off the bar. On the first cast, Shawn (the older one) hooked up with a schoolie. On the following cast, Owen did too. They were ecstatic. They’ve never seen a striped bass before, let alone had the chance to catch one.

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I’m fortunate to live where I am and to have the knowledge it requires to be even a little bit successful in the pursuit of fish. There’s a certain joy that comes with seeing someone hook and land a fish, when they’d normally never have a chance to experience anything of the sort.


Fish with my fiance wife more

I say this because by the time the weather gets warm enough for her to actually want to come on the boat, she’ll be my wife.

This sort of relates to my previous resolution. Last year, I tried to convinced Gelany to wake up early enough to catch the dawn bite in the bay. She reluctantly agreed, but only if the temperature was not below 70 degrees, and only if I promised to take her to the beach after, and stay the whole day (I was later bailed out by a stray thunderstorm). As the sun rose, we found massive schools of bass pushing squid against flats. We caught and released countless fish up to 20 pounds. Gelany’s favorite part was watching the sonar.

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I think she secretly loves fishing on the boat. This year I’ll see if I can get her out during one of those new moon nights, when the winds blowing a perfect 15 kts and the bass are feeding in the snot. I bet she’ll like that.


Get out of that comfort zone

If you’ve found even the smallest bit of success while fishing a certain way or location, it can be difficult to stray from that particular strategy. Us anglers are not only creatures of habit; we’re superstitious folk. And both of these things work directly against us when trying to find success in fishing.

This year, I need to get out of my comfort zone. I need to move to new spots when my “old faithfuls” aren’t producing. Try out new lures. Pull out the fly rod more (see below). Fishing is all about new experiences. We can’t have these if we keep with the same old, same old.


Target the big ones on the fly

This one is pretty straight-forward. Last summer, while drifting mackerel, I tied on a big baitfish pattern and walked up to the bow. I cast the fly out and stripped it in lazily. When it was ten feet away, I began to lift it out of the water to make another cast, when an enormous mouth appeared from the depths. The massive striper approached the fly. I couldn’t move. At the last second, the striper turned away and pushed its paddle tail against the surface, disappearing. I blew it.

I think about that moment a lot. This year, that’s not going to happen. I’ll be ready for the big girl on the fly rod.


Just chill out, man

Fishing–in all of its seemingly calming and peaceful splendor–can be one hell of a stressful experience. Imagine bringing a few buddies out out on the boat, promising fish, only to cast for six hours and get the skunk. How about, you’re loading your gear into the car, and your brother closes the door with eight inches of St. Croix hanging out of it. Crunch. You put your coffee down on the bench seat of the skiff at 4:00am and your Dad decides to swing his arm in just the right way as he sits down. No coffee that morning. (These are all true stories).

But fishing doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, it shouldn’t be stressful at all. I’ve found it takes a conscious effort to allow fishing to work its peaceful blessing over us. The trick is to take a few deep breaths of pre-dawn salt air, and allow the worries to pass by with the outgoing tide. Who needs coffee at 4:00am anyways?


Attempt to maintain my relationships and job while still finding time to fish as much as I want to

Let’s be honest. This is impossible. But the real challenge that May-September brings is the balancing act of keeping the people we care about still caring about us, and maintaining enough time on the water to keep us sane.

Ultimately, it boils down to somehow managing the impossible act of fishing as much as humanly possible, while staying in the good graces of the fiance, friends and family, and not getting fired from work.


Write more about fishing

Well, this is sort of meta. It’s the reason this blog even exists. I want to document our experiences. I want to be able to look back, when I can’t remember anything, on that perfect day off Race Point and picture what it was like to be there, to relive it.

Billy Mitchell

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