A new beginning

Christmas is over. I had a wonderful holiday, and I hope you all did as well. It seems like the older I get the more these things mean to me. (I’m not counting when I was a little kid.) Nevertheless, Christmas is past. It’s time to look towards the next year.

That seems to be what most of us do after Christmas. How much good it does is open for debate. I read something the other day that said most of our New Year’s Resolutions are broken before the middle of January and almost none of them hold up for the whole year.

I’m going to try to make a liar out of the guy or gal who wrote that. This is the year I’m going to dedicate to discipline and preparation. In an abundance of caution, however, I’m not going to call it a New Year’s Resolution.

For openers I’m going to look at the venues we fish from a different perspective. Instead of thinking that I’ve fished them all before and know what’s there, I’m going to start from scratch. Working on the internet and with paper maps I’ll pretend that I’ve never seen that particular body of water. I’ll check out the overall picture and then try to break the lake down into parts.

That’s fairly traditional, but it’s something I’ve gotten out of the habit of doing. In fact, I really haven’t done anything like that since the 2008 Classic. It’s time I start.

Another thing I’m going to work on is limiting my recreational fishing. That’ll be the toughest part. I love to fish. But I have to get that love under control — preparation and discipline — and spend more time organizing my tackle and equipment for the next event. As best I can, I’m going to try to use my spare time on the road for true tournament preparation rather than another day on the water. That’ll give me more time for the details.

I’m also going to review and work on all the things I already know how to do — tie knots, walk a topwater bait, flip and pitch accurately. I’ve been thinking a lot about that this winter. You know the greatest hitters in professional baseball history still take batting practice, and the infielders still grab a few ground balls nearly every day. I should follow the same pattern.

The bottom line to all this is that it’s about time that some things change. Now, I know you’ve heard that before. This is not the first time I’ve said that I’m going to try harder and have a better year. I won’t blame you if you read what I’m writing with a jaundiced eye.

But this is the first time you’ve heard me say that I’m going to do the tough stuff to make that change. I’m talking about the stuff that hurts, the stuff that forces you out of your comfort zone. Of course, saying and doing are two very different things. No one knows that better than me.

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