As I write this Thursday, the second day of the new year, I’m proud of myself for keeping one of my resolutions so far: I haven’t bought any new fishing tackle or lures this year. Oh, earlier today I was online starting to fill out quantities to purchase crankbaits I’d never heard of, but I surfed away before I put down a name or email address, let alone credit card information.
This is typically the time of year I go on a fishing tackle spending spree. Especially right now in southwest Michigan, there’s not a lot of hunting and fishing to be done. After teasing ice anglers with enough ice to let them walk out on lakes (but not much more) the fickle, cold-then-hot winter melted it all. Rain and melting snow has the rivers around here pretty blown out, too. So the usual ice fishing and good river steelhead this region offers have both been delayed.
But the lakes are open, so after this column is done I’m charging my little lithium battery for my electronics, getting my drysuit out of the closet, pulling a few rods out of the assortment leaning in the corner of my home office and then, tomorrow, fishing somewhere from my kayak. The main goal is to get some photos for a magazine article of my fishing buddy Zach Heiden demonstrating anchoring techniques. But I also want to just get out and cast. I haven’t tried since early November. It would be pretty great to catch a fish, too.
Another thing I’m planning to do is take my 10-year-old dachshund mix Gus out squirrel hunting, which would be a first for him. I haven’t hunted for squirrels in at least 10 years, but it’s something I’ve always enjoyed. I need to find a neoprene dog suit for Gus, though, as he just can’t handle cold weather. The tough little guy has the heart for it, just not the fur. He won’t have any idea of what we would be trying to do sitting still and quiet in the woods and probably wouldn’t be really happy about it until the first bushytail tumbled out of a tree. He’d catch on to the program pretty quick after that.
The main thing I’ve done so far as winter continues through its third week is watch Youtube videos about fishing rigs and techniques. Youtube is a weird sort of place. All sorts of folks submit videos of varying technical quality. Lots of these guys seem to think they’re fishing experts, and some of them certainly are. A guy can learn a lot about how to fish by watching them.
In fact, 20-something kayak pal Bogdan Korosteskyi credits watching Youtube for some of his success fishing kayak bass tournaments. As a teenager, he emigrated from Ukraine, where his fishing experience was mainly watching his father fish for carp. But here, he got a kayak, caught some bass and the sport just resonated with him. So he watched Youtube to learn how to catch bass and applied what he saw. Year before last, he won three kayaks and a tidy pile of money.
He also produced a bunch of his own videos for his own “Kayak Outbreak” Youtube channel.
A resolution I haven’t kept is to get out and do something outdoors each week so I don’t write any more columns like this one, complaining about lack of things to do outside. Well, this was only a half-week, so I didn’t actually mess up that resolution. Next week we’ll talk about kayak fishing in January.
Outdoors columnist Dave Mull lives in Paw Paw. Write to him at email@example.com.