2013 was an amazing year for me.
I grew a tremendous amount as a kayak angler. The “angler” part of this is likely the most important, and I certainly feel like I’ve improved my technique and tactics when it comes to finding and catching fish. I finally added jerkbaits to my repertoire, gaining confidence by catching new personal best smallmouth twice in the same day.
The “kayak” part of this, though, is a bigger source of the feeling of accomplishment for me. I’ve gained a tremendous amount of confidence in my ability to handle my 12 foot long plastic boat in many different situations. I’ve tackled big reservoirs with heavy boat traffic and survived near misses with boaters (and even a helicopter) on a river. All of these situations had me very nervous in playing out the scenarios in my head, but I’ve proven to myself that I am capable of handling them safely without my day of fishing being ruined. Additionally, my confidence in boat control and positioning has grown, making me feel certain I can get to where I think I need to be in order to catch fish. Part of this is learning to utilize tools like Navionics for Android and my Lowrance X-4 on the water and Google Maps and Earth before I get there.
All of this, however, pales in comparison to my biggest accomplishment in 2013: Making great friendships. Through this great sport of kayak fishing, I’ve gained many friendships in the past year. From tournaments to Facebook to online forums, I’ve met so many great people that I’m proud to call my friends and even humbled to be considered theirs. This community makes everyone feel so welcome, and I hope that my contributions to the community also help it grow in this manner.
There has been a lot of discussion on forums and Facebook groups lately about goals and resolutions for the new year. I dub these “Fish-olutions”.
In a broad sense, I really just want the momentum I gained, described above, to continue to push myself and the sport of kayak fishing forward. More confidence, better technique, and more friendships.
To facilitate this broader goal, I wish to:
- Learn more techniques to catch bass, including learning to fly fish
- Spend more time catching other species of fish (bluegill, crappie, trout)
- Travel to new waters, or at least familiar waters that I haven’t ventured onto with my kayak
- Complete at least one multi-day river float
- Compete in every kayak tournament that I can, including at least one multiple day, out-of-state tournament
- Increase my participation online, including forums and publication of videos to promote the sport
What are your 2014 Fish-olutions?