For many fly fishing enthusiasts, this winter has been especially long and hard – and for others it always seems to be a long time before the start of the summer fishing season. Here are ten ideas to help shake off those winter blues and start looking forward to summer.
- Reward yourself with an early trip. Winter may be the off-season, but that doesn’t mean you can’t catch fish. Chasing steelhead on a winter stream can be an unforgettable experience and many fishing operations offer discounted rates during the colder months. Take a saltwater fly fishing trip, or it’s a great time during the shoulder season to take a trip, when you have the water almost all to yourself.
- Attend a local fly fishing show. Winter and spring are great times to attend fly fishing shows and events, where you chat with fishing authors, find out about new fishing techniques, attend seminars, browse and learn about the new fishing gear. Talk to travel companies, shops, and lodges regarding possible trips to take or just talk about those trips that are on your bucket list. It’s fun to dream – and dreams can come true.
- Relive your past adventures. It is a great time to flip through your old photographs and remember what it felt like to catch those great fish of years past. Organizing those photographs should also help in forgetting winter and thinking about the season ahead.
- Fuel your imagination on the web. The Internet is a great tool for exploring new fishing destinations and finding new streams to fish. It’s not a substitute for the real thing, but a little time online can get you thinking about planning a fishing trip, learning about the latest techniques, and seeing new equipment and products. Just looking at all the beautiful photography is fun and exciting.
- Keep your arm in shape. Even the best can get a little rusty over the winter. Do a little practice casting. Use a yarn rod or tie a piece of yarn to the tip of a rod and practice your casting motion indoors, so it becomes second nature. If possible, try laying hula hoops out on your lawn and use them for target practice. Once your cast is hitting the hoops with ease, switch them with dinner plates for a real challenge. Try practicing different types of casts to use in the varied situations that you might encounter while fishing.
- Organize your gear. Digging out your fishing vest and equipment is like meeting up with an old friend. Getting your flies and fishing gear organized is a great feeling and it’s also a good time to start thinking about repairs and items that may need to be replaced before the start of the summer season.
- Start tying flies. Catching a fish on a fly you have tied yourself is a feeling like no other. If you’ve always wanted to tie your own flies but don’t know how, take a fly fishing course during the winter and spring time. Most fly shops and local fly fishing clubs have fly tying classes. For those who already tie flies, these are great places to learn new patterns to use and to talk with others about fly fishing.
- Learn to tie new knots. A different or an improved knot can be the saving grace when a big fish takes your fly and runs with it like a rocket. Also, learning something new is always a great way to get you excited and thinking about the upcoming season. Having a hard time with tying a Nail Knot or want to learn a new knot like the Bimini Twist? Buy, rent or borrow a book and/or DVD on tying knots. There’s no better time to learn than now!
- Talk shop. A trip to your local fly shop is a great way to get excited about the summer fishing season. Chat with the owner or one of the staff, check out new gear, meet up with some old friends, swap fish stories, talk about new places to fish and get yourself excited about fishing this summer.
- Put together a summer fishing plan. A new fishing season offers endless possibilities, and a little planning will help you get the most out of it. There’s still time before the season starts to think about where you want to go this year and to plan for the time to do it. That may mean preparing to book a trip to a far-flung destination or just setting your plans ahead of time for fishing the local streams.
Waiting for winter to end can be a real challenge, but the summer fishing season is on the horizon. These ideas are not only a great way to cure the winter blues, but will help you start preparing for some great fishing. With a little luck, you’ll feel that old familiar hard tug on your line soon.