This isn’t really a column this week, it’s actually my yearly “mental post/winter dance” that I use to psych myself up for the upcoming season while putting another winter behind me. You must know by now that I hate cold conditions, an attitude I developed back when I was doing the decathlon and I had to train in chilly weather. I do deal with winter better now, but it’s been a gradual thawing out for me, no pun intended!
Hitting February was the key event that triggered this diatribe, because it always signifies a major turning point in my fishing year. In my mind, the worst is now behind me! The days are getting longer, and we’re way past the shortest day in late December. Getting to fish a few more critical ticks of the clock represents a daily march toward warmer, even longer days. The spring bite is just weeks away (in my mind)! It’s sort of like looking at the finish line when you’ve got a lap to go! You know it’s gonna be painful, but the end is in sight and you can get excited by the fact it’s not too far to go. Yes, I survived it again!
My wife hates it, but I always have to remind her that in my world Feb. 15 is when spring begins! I began this philosophy in my training days. Around that time, it seems to me, the weather does start to change significantly. It’s a little warmer, the days are definitely longer, the reservoirs are filling, the buds are blooming – and the fish are getting active. Yes, it can still be miserable, but don’t take a big tasty bone from a hungry dog! If it’s improving by my standards, that’s that! Mental perspective is the key to my sanity!
This is also when anglers start getting their mojo going for their fishing season. The International Sportsmen’s Expositions are a good way to prime your fishing pump, however I’m talking to guys who are totally excited about the muddy cold inflows of rain and snow water flowing into their favorite fishing holes. There is a good 2-3 years of pent-up fishing fever that anglers are ready to unleash this season! I believe most are satisfied that they will once again get a shot at some kind of fishing they consider to be around normal or better! I feel lots of anglers were trying to stay calm most of the winter, but many are now convinced that it’s safe to have their boat serviced again, buy needed tackle and accessories, and get ready to hit the water very soon. I can sense the huge undercurrent of anglers everywhere, all ramping up to release their frustrations – me included!
So, I hope I’ve convinced you that it’s OK to go against the grain and put winter behind us at this point. It’s the logical and sane thing to do for cold-impaired anglers who need hope the whole world changed for them on Feb. 1. Can’t you just see and feel the gentle, warming springtime conditions and the calm untouched water you’ll be hitting this season? Envision fishing a beautiful, untouched cove, surrounded by blossoming trees and filled with warbling Blackbirds doing their thing – as a big bass engulfs your topwater bait! See, I told you! I bet you feel warmer and better already!
Winter is over (for me)! Let the games begin! Never give up!
Note: I’ve never been comfortable with any contact with snakes, especially rattlesnakes, but my column last week sure brought out lots of other “snake-challenged” folks I had figured were out there. I got pictures of the giant rattlers other anglers had encountered – snakes so big, they’re definitely the stuff of nightmares! Good to know I’m not the only one who doesn’t walk through thick brushy areas without getting paranoid! Leave them alone, if possible, is great advice. They want to get away too! Roger George is The Bee’s fishing expert. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org,