Valentine's Day is fast approaching. If you want to get 2009 started off on the right foot take your honey fishing. Here are my ideas for doing it right.
1. Pick the right day.
Choose a day when she isn't bothered by other concerns and one when the weather's nice. It's no fun being on the water worried about work or the kids and feeling out of touch. Likewise it's no fun being on the water in a rain storm or when it's cold and windy and miserable.
I know, you don't see it that way. You think any day on the water is a good day. But this isn't about you, it's about her. This is her day, not yours. Keep that in mind.
2. Pick the right venue.
Go somewhere where the scenery is beautiful and the water pleasant. Looking at a muddy shoreline, fighting a strong current or climbing rollers in a bass boat isn't likely to be her idea of a good time.
Likewise, big, fancy and expensive cruisers may be a hassle for us hardcore anglers. Others find them interesting. Accept that for what it is. Take time out there to smell the roses.
3. Don't stay too long.
You and I may love 12 or 14 hours of hard, uninterrupted fishing. Sadly, most people don't. Watch her carefully and go back to the dock when she's had enough. Think long term. A few extra fish isn't worth the price of her thinking negativity about the experience.
4. Go where there are lots of fish.
Remember the evolutionary process of angling — first you want to catch fish, then you want to catch a lot of fish, then you want to catch big fish. Don't spend the day looking for that one trophy bite and expect her to appreciate or understand it. She won't.
5. Bass may be the best fish, but they're not the only fish.
We bass anglers have a single-minded purpose when we fish. But others see fishing differently, especially when they're just getting started. There's nothing wrong with working over a school of crappie or bluegill. They offer fast action and will give her a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.
6. Select the proper tackle.
Open-faced spinning tackle is much easier for a novice angler to use than baitcasting tackle. Your goal should be to avoid frustration at all costs. Therefore, give her an open-faced outfit to use. If you don't have one, go buy one. It'll be money well spent.
7. Use the proper rig.
Jigs and Texas rigged worms are great lures. But it's much easier to detect a strike and to set the hook with a Carolina rig or a crankbait. Go with easy, not best or most efficient. Remember, this is about her having fun and wanting to do it again.
8. Compliment her frequently.
I've never met anyone — man, woman or beast — who doesn't like a compliment. If she loses a fish at the boat don't frown, grimace or complain. And under no circumstances whatsoever point out that it was her fault.
Compliment her for getting it that close and tell her how big and pretty it was. And don't forget that it may be your bass that shakes loose next time. It happens to all of us.
9. Bring your camera.
Take plenty of pictures of her in the boat and especially with her fish. She may tell you they don't matter, or that she looks a mess or not to bother. Take them anyway. I'll bet after you do she'll show them to the kids, her sisters and brothers, her friends and her co-workers. Make the day about having a good time and having a few laughs.
10. Finish the day with a massage and dinner.
Finish the day with a couple's massage with a professional masseuse and dinner at a nice restaurant. You'll both enjoy the experience. I know, she'll tell you she doesn't look like going out and that it's too expensive. Ignore her complaints and show her a good time that has nothing to do with fishing. She'll appreciate it.
Follow my 10-point plan and your honey will be smiling all day long — and you'll be smiling all night long!