Looking ahead to fly fishing in 2018

Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.

Benjamin Franklin

Those who know me know that I have always studied and enjoyed the wisdom of Ben Franklin. I named my youngest son after him, I’ve read his autobiography and other books by and about him, I’ve visited his museum in Philadelphia, and I have often felt that if there was one person I could talk to now, he’d definitely be in the top 5.

benjamin_franklin_1050x700

Franklin’s wisdom has helped me in life. I’ve tried to apply much of it to my life, and even my fly fishing. Franklin was among many things, a philosopher, scientist and inventor. He studied and read voraciously and was an optimist if there ever was one.

And while he was not a fisherman from what I’ve read, he does make some comments on fish in his autobiography, including this humorous note from a voyage as a young man. The note shows he toyed with the idea of being a vegetarian but eventually came round about to keeping fish in his diet…

I believe I have omitted mentioning that , in my first voyage from Boston, being becalmed off Block Island, our people set about catching cod, and hauled up a great many. Hitherto I had stuck to my resolution of not eating animal food, and on this occasion I considered, with my master Tryon, the taking every fish as a kind of unprovoked murder, since none of them had or ever could do us any injury that might justify the slaughter. All this seemed very reasonable. But I had formerly been a great lover of fish, and when this came hot out of the frying-pan, it smelt admirably well. I balanced some time between principle and inclination, till I recollected that, when the fish were opened, I saw smaller fish taken out of their stomachs. Then thought I, “If you eat one another, I don’t see why we mayn’t eat you.” So I dined upon cod very heartily, and continued to eat with other people, returning only now and then occasionally to a vegetable diet. So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do.

He also is the author of a quote my father uses…

Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.

Benjamin Franklin

Franklin was known for his views on developing character and continuous improvement in life and was so respected by author/educator Stephen Covey that his name was used as part of Covey’s planner system (The Franklin Covey Planner), a product I use in everyday life…

As posted last February, here are the goals I set for 2017 with commentary on how I did:

  1. Learn more about nymph fishing – study Joe Humphreys’ “Trout Tactics” (100%) Excellent book – highly recommended!
  2. Learn to fly fish for muskie. (0%) I did not prep of fish for muskie – need to move this forward to 2018.
    1. Purchase line and leader
    2. Tie flies
    3. Study muskie fly fishing
    4. Fish for them
  3. Saltwater flyfish in Destin, FL. (100%) I had great fishing in Destin and look forward to more of the same in 2018.
    1. Fish the bay for redfish & trout.
    2. Fish the inlet / surf.
  4. Continue fly tying – learn to tie 5 more patterns. (100%) Thanks to the BC Flyfishers tying clinic, I expanded into a number of new patterns and skills.
  5. Float-fish the local warmwater rivers (4X) (75%) I got out fishing twice in my kayak and once with Todd Smith in his Towee skiff.
  6. Fly fish, practice casting, or attend fly fishing events 125 times this year. (70%) Overall, I fished, practiced casting, and and attended events as much as I could. It was a challenging year at work and that kept me off the water a bit.
  7. Learn to build leaders. (0%)
    1. Buy kit
    2. Buy micrometer
    3. Fish my leaders
  8. Night fish for trout. (0%)
  9. Fish marginal waters. (100%) I did fish some more marginal water on a few occasions with mixed results. 
  10. Build more fly rods / advance my rod building skills: (33%)
    1. Fly rod for my brother-in-law for his 60th birthday – I loved building a rod for my brother-in-law and loved even more seeing it put to good use.
    2. “River Rat” prototype – I assembled the materials for this rod but never started the project.
    3. “Bay Rat” prototype.
  11. Search for the ideal river boat. (100%) – I spent considerable time looking at river boat options, including bigger craft like the Towee skiff

All in all, I’d rate 2017 as a decent year in terms of goal accomplishment but one can always do better…

Following are my fly fishing goals for 2018:

  1. Expand my knowledge of smallmouth bass. Read books related to fly fishing, talk to and fish with experts, and study smallmouth bass biology.
  2. Read Dynamic Nymphing by Daniel.
  3. Learn to fly fish for muskie.
    1. Purchase line and leader
    2. Tie flies
    3. Study muskie fly fishing
  4. Saltwater flyfish in Destin, FL.
    1. Expand bay and surf fishing activity.
    2. Target reds, trout, ladyfish, jacks, and spanish mackerel.
  5. Saltwater fly fish the NJ coast:
    1. Spring bluefish bite
    2. Fall albie bite
    3. Possible tuna trip
    4. Stripers
  6. Continue fly tying – learn to tie 5 more patterns.
  7. Float-fish the local warmwater rivers (6X)
  8. Fly fish, practice casting, or attend fly fishing events 100 times this year.
  9. Learn to build leaders.
    1. Buy leader kit
    2. Buy micrometer
    3. Fish my leaders
  10. Night fish for trout.
  11. Build more fly rods / advance my rod building skills:
    1. “River Rat” prototype.
    2. Saltwater fly rod.
    3. Fly rod for BCFF auction.

Having set my goals, it’s never too soon to get started on their accomplishment. I’d encourage my readership to give goal-setting a try if they haven’t. I feel strongly that it has helped me progress as a fly fisherman. And as with all aspects of life, if you’re not improving, you’ve accepted status quo, and are essentially “decaying“. In the words of Ray Kroc, the great McDonald’s franchiser…

When you’re green, your growing. When you’re ripe, you rot.

I’m not ready to go that route just yet, are you?

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4 Responses to “Looking ahead to fly fishing in 2018”

  1. Always get a kick out of your goals! Very ambitious and I wish you luck and success for 2018.

  2. Bob Stanton Says:

    Been Franklin is an authentic American genius, along with Twain, Thoreau, et al. I love the quote, “So easy it is to be a reasonable creature…”. Nailed it!

  3. Todd Smith Says:

    Nice Ben Franklin references! No surprise that we have a lot of similar goals this year. Looking forward to chasing them with you.

    Todd

  4. I can tell we need to fish together now! I missed my goal of musky fishing, i want to replace my 16 ft center console skiff with a towee skiff, there is a lot to do in our area with little time to do it. Let’s connect and hit an eastern fingerlake in my center console to chase the tiger’s this spring after ice-out. Hitting Florida(Marco Is.) next month and tying flies in preparation. Not getting to Destin this year though. Thanks for your BLOG.

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