Now's the time!

It’s December and everybody’s thinking about Christmas. That’s the most important thing. I’ll give you that. But there’s something else that’s just around the corner that you might want to start thinking about — the 2013 fishing season. Don’t let the calendar get away from you.

Granted, for some of you who live in the North Country fishing’s a ways away unless you sit in one of those little huts and fish through the ice. For those of us who live down South, however, the first tournaments will start in January. If you wait too long you’ll spend some of the best time to fish shopping for essentials or in a repair shop.

Now’s the time to start going through your tackle to make sure you have what you need for next season. The last thing you want is to get ready to flip or pitch a mat and find out you don’t have the right size weight or that your bobber stoppers are nowhere to be found. It messes up your day and puts you in the position of going shopping on your day off instead of going fishing.

But don’t just think about the first few trips you’ll make next year. Think about the whole season. Most pros, including me, order almost everything before the first tournament ever starts. I know we have an advantage in doing that because we know where and when we’re going to fish. Nevertheless, you get the idea. Besides, almost everyone has a pretty good idea of where they’ll be going next year.

Money can be an issue here. The needs of our families come first. If you can’t buy everything all at once you can still get started by making a good list of what you’ll need. Plan your purchases according to when you’ll need things and when it’ll fit into your budget. You’ll still have what you need when you need it.

You need to think about your boat and trailer, too. Make sure everything works and is in good repair. There are plenty of articles around that’ll give you checklists you can follow to make sure you don’t overlook anything. If something needs to be done before you can travel safe or fish efficiently get it done now. If you wait until everyone needs service you might find yourself without a boat several days, even longer in some cases. Avoid the rush.

The last thing you need to check is your safety equipment. I’m writing about it last but it really should be first. Check all your lifejackets. If they need to be replaced do that before you do anything else. All the fancy lures in the world won’t do you any good if you’re dead, drifting along the bottom.

Good luck is often defined as the moment when preparation meets opportunity. You can make sure you’re prepared by getting everything together before opportunity knocks. There are no shortcuts here. It’s grunt work at its best. Do it. Next year you’ll be glad you did.

Merry Christmas to all!

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