Hunting Fishing

Time-change signals winter-itis for Roger. Here’s why he circles Feb. 15 on his calendar

I really don’t like the fall time change. It’s the beginning of much shorter days, colder temperatures – and a bad case of “winter-itis.”

Back a few years ago my buddy Andy Bedell of Watsonville and I were fishing a two-day striper derby at San Luis Reservoir on time-change weekend. After the first day, we were in a good position to win it. We wanted to be ready early the next morning, so we called the motel front desk and asked for a 5 a.m. wakeup call.

When we got the call we both went into high gear. We loaded the boat, attached the sonar units, made sure it was all ready to go, and just as we began to get into my Yukon we realized something was wrong: It was pitch black, not even the truckers were up yet! We finally figured out that it was about 3:45 a.m. – the night clerk had completely screwed up the clock reset. All dressed up with nowhere to go! We decided to go back to our room and try to rest (fully dressed) for the next hour while the world caught up to our schedule. I watch my time changes like a hawk now!

I’m pretty much a summer, hot-weather guy and I like the longer days that provide more fishing time. When it starts getting dark at 5 p.m. I have to take a big breath and settle myself down with some internal communication! Something like, “Hey, self, the winter fishing isn’t all that bad, the rain will fill the reservoirs and the fish will just keep getting bigger for a good spring bite. Remember, they moved up the spring-forward time change, too. It’s not so bad!” I listen to my little voice, but deep inside I’m hunkering down and getting ready to get cold. Ouch!

I’m bad until the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Day and a new fishing year full of potential and new opportunities begins rolling out. Somehow the wait and the cold are almost behind me now.

My last and most important mental barrier freeing me from the dreaded winter-itis is Feb. 15. Back when I was competing and training, I hated workouts in the cold. Have you ever sprinted into a cold winter wind? It’s akin to being a human popsicle! But just about every year around the middle of February the weather would suddenly change for the better. The feeling of springlike conditions was rejuvenating and got me into a new gear, even if it was still cold at times. Feb. 15 became the date that officially marked the end of winter and short days for me. You have to do what you have to do to get through things.

Never give up!

Roger George is The Bee’s fishing expert:, Rogergeorgeguideservice on Facebook and @StriperWars