Archive for fly fishing goals

Goals for 2016

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , , on February 25, 2016 by stflyfisher

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
Ernest Hemingway

It’s that time to proclaim my fly fishing goals for 2016. Much as I’ve practiced in the past, the process for goal-setting starts in late November / December, when I start a review of the year and spend time thinking about where I want to go, what I want to do, who I want to be in the fly fishing world. I usually start putting some draft goals to paper in early January, mull them over through the rest of January and early February, and post them – a formal commitment – before my birthday in early March.

So here they are – my fly fishing goals for 2016:

  1. Learn more about nymph fishing.
    1. Study Joe Humphreys’ “Trout Tactics”
    2. Study George Daniel’s “Dynamic Nymphing”
  2. Learn to fly fish for muskie.
    1. Purchase rod, reel, line, leader
    2. Purchase / tie flies
    3. Study muskie fly fishing
    4. Fish for them
  3. Saltwater flyfish in Destin, FL.
  4. Continue fly tying – learn to tie 5 more patterns.
  5. Donate a box of my flies to the TU banquet.
  6. Float-fish the Susquehanna (4X)
  7. Make perfect fly casting practice a habit.
  8. Fish with friends, including at least 3 trips with new friends.
  9. Fly fish and/or attend fly fishing events 100 times this year.
  10. Learn to tie 3 new fishing knots.
  11. Fish the Salmon River – Spring, Fall, Winter.
  12. Night fish for trout.
  13. Fish marginal waters.
  14. Build my own fly rod.
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2014 Goals

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , , , , on January 11, 2014 by stflyfisher

“A goal properly set is halfway reached”

Zig Ziglar

I never met Zig Ziglar during his lifetime on this good earth. Known best for his southern charm, zany quotes, and unending enthusiasm, he became successful as a salesman and then took off on his own as a motivational speaker, spreading the good word of “Zig”. I came to know of him courtesy of a co-worker named Lee back in the days when I worked for Texas Instruments. Lee introduced me to one of Zig’s foundation books, “See You at the Top”, and would often preach Zig’s message on success by quoting him throughout the work day. His sayings sometimes seemed corny, indeed, but they stuck to the point where I can still recite the likes of: “Don’t become a wandering generality, be a meaningful specific”, “You can have anything in your life, if you help others get what they want”, and “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine you altitude”.

zig-ziglar-244x300

It took a while for me to buy the message, to be honest. I was a little on guard – some of it seemed almost too ‘over the top’ and even Ned Flanderesque, but after reading the book and digesting it gradually, I began to like what I read and found that much of it rang true. These days I’m more a student of Dr. Stephen Covey, but Zig still occupies my heart and soul for his good hearted fire. It’s sad to say, but both Zig Ziglar and Dr. Stephen Covey passed away in 2012. They each left indelibly good marks on the world.

Dr. Covey and Zig Ziglar both believed in goals. And I obviously do too. In my last post, I promised the unveiling of my 2014 goals. I finished 2013 on an OK note in terms of goal completion, but vowing, I’ll do better…

And here they are:

1) Become a better nymph fisherman. Study the works of Dave Hughes (author of “Wet Flies”), Sylvester Nemes (author of “Soft Hackled Fly”), and George Daniel (author of “Dynamic Nymphing”). Buy better nymphing tackle.

2) Catch one of the following saltwater game-fish on the fly: a bluefish, striped bass, or weakfish.

3) Improve my fly tying. Focus on perfecting three patterns, with a goal to catch fish with these patterns:

a) Sulphur Soft Hackle

b) Caddis Sparkle Pupa

c) Murray’s Nymph

4) Donate a box of my own tied flies to the Annual Al Hazzard TU Banquet.

5) Float fish the Susquehanna; Campville to Owego.

6) Practice and improve my casting distance and accuracy.  Make perfect casting practice a habit.

7) Fish with friends – enjoy their company and learn new skills and places to fish. 

8) Learn to tie one new fishing knot. 

9) Fish the tributaries.

10) Night fish for trout. 

Absent from the list this year is ‘Catch a Lake Trout on a fly’. I pulled this one off the list as it is a hit or miss goal – a hard one to achieve. Instead, I added ‘Fish the tributaries’, which could result in catching a laker, brown, steelhead, or landlocked salmon. If I do better at fishing the tribs more often, I’m sure to meet Mr. Laker one of these days. I also added “to become a better nymph fisherman” as it is something I love to do, and I met some good success in 2013 focusing on it.

I’ll close by wishing everyone a successful fly fishing year in 2014, however they may define it, and leave with the following ‘Ziggish’ quote of LCDR Harry G Ulrich, III, Executive Officer of my beloved USS Stark (FFG-31), who often exhorted his junior officers with the following:

“Good, better, best, never let it rest, until your good is better and your better is best”

2013, going, going, gone…

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , , , on January 3, 2014 by stflyfisher

When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.

Confucius

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/confucius140548.html#2tXJx80siqreKagy.99

When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.

Confucius

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/confucius140548.html#2tXJx80siqreKagy.99

Last year was not a great writing year, and for that I truly apologize. As we all often do, I started the year with good intentions, but putting pen to internet paper was a struggle in 2013, partly due to another posting obligation on my Examiner.com site, partly due to fishing, and partly due to the added time of my long distance work commute (no, I don’t write for a living just yet…). I promise, with hand placed on the good book, that you’ll see many more posts on my beloved blog in 2014 – certainly more than the woeful eight that I sent out to the blogosphere in 2013.

While my blogging was pretty pathetic, my completion of 2013 goals was at least somewhat better. Most of my followers know I try to start the year setting some fly fishing goals and then end the year with a look back on how well I did. I’m a big believer in goals, not so much to be able to tout achievements, but to make me think about how to improve as a fly fisherman, along the lines of the late President & General Eisenhower, who once said:

In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless but planning is indispensable.

Brad_Ike_Patton

Goal-setting, after all, requires planning, and the act of planning, in turn, makes one think about what, where, and how to improve. Having said that, it’s still nice to look back and see if one did improve the way they planned and hoped.

For 2013, I’ll rate myself a 4.5 out of 10 for completion on the goals I posted. Here’s the detail on my accounting:

1) Catch a lake trout on the fly – lake run or from the lake. Never happened.

2) Catch one of the following saltwater game-fish on the fly: a bluefish, striped bass, or weakfish. I did catch blues and stripers, including a few dandies, but not on a fly.

3) Begin fly tying – focus on perfecting three patterns, with a goal to catch fish with these patterns. Here’s a goal I did achieve. I began fly tying in earnest and tied the following patterns:

a) Wooly Bugger – I caught quite a few largemouth bass and smallmouth bass on the bugger patterns I tied. I experimented quite a bit with color and added features such as weight, flash, and even rubber legs.

b) Picket Pin – My first fish of the season, and the first on a fly tied with my own hands, was a fat brown from Cayuga Creek that slammed the fly as it drifted through a nice run. I caught a lot of trout on my own version of this venerable pattern.

c) Maribou Streamer – I LDR’d a nice brown with this classic pattern. I’m feeling generous to myself (shouldn’t we all be, after all?) so I’ll count that as “catching” a fish on the fly…

4) Float fish the Susquehanna; Campville to Owego. I did not float the Susky once, and probably fished it only a half dozen times, at most, due to very high water over much of the summer. I’ll keep this one on the list for 2014.

5) Practice and improve my casting distance and accuracy.  Learn to single haul and double haul. Here’s another goal I achieved. I learned to single and double haul and I’m a better caster overall (sounds like a Dr. Suess rhyme!), but still retain some bad habits. I’ll keep a casting improvement goal on 2014’s goal list.

6) Fish with friends – enjoy their company and learn new skills and places to fish. I’m proud to say I did well with this goal, managing to dedicate 8 outings with friends & family. I also enjoyed meeting and fishing with a few good fishermen while on the water.

7) Learn to tie one new fishing knot. I perfected the non-slip mono knot and came up with a variation of it that works quite well in my opinion.

8) Fish for steelhead. I’ll take 50% credit for trying on this goal. I intended to venture forth twice for steelhead with my good friend Dan, but both times the weather canned the trip. I’ll keep this goal for 2014.

9) Fish Handsome Brook. Nope – this one got away on me…

10) Night fish for trout. Didn’t happen but I’ll keep this for 2014.

I projected last year that if I could accomplish 6 to 7 of these 10 goals, it would be a good year. Accomplishing 4.5 would therefore make it a marginally OK year, but again, it’s not so much about the goals, but the act of becoming a better fisherman in all ways.

I’ll soon be revising my 2014 goals based on the above and possibly add some new areas for growth as a fly fisherman. Stay tuned for that post as well as one on 2013, where I’ll make a ‘year in review’ post…

Fly Fishing Goals and World’s Most Interesting Man…

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , on February 8, 2013 by stflyfisher

My grandfather on my father’s side was a most interesting man, but not “most interesting” in the zany way a successful Dos Equis beer ad has been running recently…

My grandfather had less hair, but the skin tone is right on…

He wasn’t known for bowling overhand, sky-diving in a kayak, or shooing a pet mountain lion from his kitchen counter, but he was most interesting in his mannerisms and the way obscure factoids on his life would pop up in conversation. There are pictures of him, for example, on his “ersten tag” (first day) in Kindergarten – in Germany that is. Mind you, he lived in Staten Island, NY, the only child in a rather wealthy family. There are pictures of him in full Ivy League raccoon coat regalia, and pictures of him standing most majestically atop some hill in Mexico, his side arm prominently displayed (he apparently had spent time with a rich Uncle in Mexico at a silver mine back in the Pancho Villa days)….

Pancho Villa – one most interesting man crosses another…

…and pictures of him in front of his freshman alma mater, RPI. He was apparently kicked out of school for being more partial to parties and other such collegiate fun than his studies.

He was a quiet man, but his mind was anything but quiet. He was both curious and fascinated by absolutely everything and when I would visit with him in his golden years, he’d frequently remark, “explain to me Robert, how do they do that?…”

One of his great quotes, in response to anything that required his time and attention, was; “I’m studying it…” Though he was definitely in the running for patron saint of procrastination, the old man was very smart and a relentless student of life which kept his mind as sharp as a razor until his dying day at the age of 95.

As covered in a post last year, I decided to re-write my fly fishing goals. My intentions were good, and sadly, I can’t even use my grandfather’s procrastination veil as an excuse. I never did publish them last year, no less re-write them, as a matter of fact. So, as promised most recently, I’ll give it another go, here:

1) Catch a lake trout on the fly – lake run or from the lake.

2) Catch one of the following saltwater game-fish on the fly: a bluefish, striped bass, or weakfish.

3) Begin fly tying – focus on perfecting three patterns, with a goal to catch fish with these patterns.

4) Float fish the Susquehanna; Campville to Owego. There’s some good water back there.

5) Practice and improve my casting distance and accuracy.  Learn to single haul and double haul.

6) Fish with friends – enjoy their company and learn new skills and places to fish.

7) Learn to tie one new fishing knot.

8) Fish for steelhead. Did it once in 2012 – do it more in 2013.

9) Fish Handsome Brook. Fish it a full day, good and hard with a lunch break at Gilligan’s Island (best burgers and ice cream around!).

10) Night fish for trout. Always wanted to do this!

Life is short. A day not fished is a day never to be fished. If I can accomplish 6 to 7 of these goals, it will be a good year, indeed. Here’s to 2013, tight lines, bent rods, and plenty of head shakes…

 

2010 Goals

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , , , on January 2, 2010 by stflyfisher

It’s been a pattern of mine for years – spending a part of New Years Day camped out in a comfortable chair – fire softly burning in the fireplace – bourbon on the rocks or a dry gin martini within arm’s reach – and putting pen to paper, inking out my plan for the year ahead.

"Let's see, goal number one, improve shelter..."

Don’t get me wrong – this is not some quick exercise completed in one sitting – it is the final draft of a plan I start formulating well before the end of each year.  I start with the big picture, or as Stephen Covey would put it, “begin with the end in mind” – and gradually break my goals down into reasonable objectives for the year ahead.  It’s a cherished process, and one that causes me to not only herald accomplishments, but recognize failures.  Best of all, it helps me, in Stephen Covey’s words, to “be proactive”.  By acting positively on past failures, I choose to respond rather than react.  Put another way, I can gripe and wail about not being able to cast well, OR, I can recognize my shortfalls and do something about them…

While I do this for all areas of my life, I thought I’d publish my goals in terms of my one and only avocation – fly fishing.  And so with great fanfare, I list them below:

1) Purchase and set up an 8 weight fly fishing rig (fly rod / reel / line) for Finger Lake and Great Lakes tribs.

2) Catch the following “firsts” on the fly; a steelhead, lake trout, and a bluefish, striped bass, or weakfish.

3) Begin fly tying – focus on the Picket Pin, Wooly Bugger, and Egg and Worm Patterns.

4) Float fish the Susquehanna; a) Binghamton to Vestal Park, b) Vestal Park to Campville, and c) Campville to Owego

5) Practice and improve my casting distance and accuracy.  Learn to single haul and double haul.

6) Purchase my PA fishing license and explore, fish, and learn PA creeks and rivers.

7) Learn and use the following knots:  Non-Slip Mono Knot, Palomar Knot, Improved Turtle Knot, and Perfection Loop.  Learn to tie my own leaders.

So how about your fly fishing goals?  Have you thought about how you could be a better fly fisherman in 2010?  Take the time now, while Mother Nature is deep in sleepy snow, and jot down a few ideas.

Can you hear the bass snoring back there???

Mull them over between swigs of whiskey if you will.  Keep coming back to them over the next few weeks and refine and rethink them, until your list is something that inspires you.  Believe me, you’ll be happy for it when 2011 rolls around…

Tight Lines, and Happy New Year…