New Year's Resolutions

Another year is gone, and it seems like they go by faster every time.

A lot of people dread New Year's resolutions. Not me.

I try to see them as opportunities rather than burdens. In fact, some of my New Year's resolutions get repeated year after year. It's not that I don't accomplish them. I just want to do them all over again!

One of my favorite resolutions is to go out and fish four smallmouth waters that I've never fished before. Now four might be too many for your schedule, but it works out pretty good for me — just enough to keep me looking for good new water but not so many that it puts a dent in my fishing budget or schedule.

In 2007, I was able to check several great smallmouth lakes off my "to-fish" list, including Table Rock Lake in Missouri, where I got to fish with the legendary Charlie Campbell while filming my new float and fly video. I wish I could always test new water with a member of the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame!

Another resolution that I make every year is to learn more about some aspect of smallmouth fishing. I'm always reading bass fishing magazines, like Bassmaster and BASS Times, or checking out what's new on the Web or on television or videos. I like to collect all the material I can on a new technique or lure, a baitfish or moon phase, and create my own folder or notebook of information that I think might help me catch more fish. After assembling as much information as I can, I like to get on the water and try to put it to work.

Getting organized is always a good New Year's resolution. Staying organized is even better! The fact that I can't seem to stay organized is the reason this resolution is one I make over and over again.

Simplifying my approach to smallmouth fishing is a new resolution for me this year. I hope that this blog is helping you catch more smallmouth because it's certainly helping me. As I sit down to write them each week, I'm forced to really think about my methods and ideas, and it makes me a better fisherman. I wish I had started years ago!

Another thing this blog is doing for me comes directly from you — the smallmouth fans reading it. I've gotten a lot of great e-mails from you that have caused me to think about things that might otherwise have slipped by me. It's been great trading messages and phone calls with you.

The more I think about my methods in a systematic way, the more I realize that good smallmouth fishing doesn't have to be complicated. If you're systematic, thorough, thoughtful and always stay one step ahead of the weather, the forage and the fish, you can really improve your fishing. Of course, that's easier said than done.

The last resolution I'll mention here is another one I make every year. I resolve to take at least six people fishing who have never caught a smallmouth bass before. It's the very best way to introduce someone new to the sport and show them the passion that you have for it and that it deserves. Surprisingly, when you introduce that many people to smallmouth fishing, you'll teach yourself along the way. And the questions they ask will get you thinking.

You might even get a new fishing buddy out of the deal.

Until next time, if you have any questions or comments, I'd love to hear from you. Please e-mail me

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