Planning For 2023
What are your angling goals for the year ahead?by Craig Ritchie
But it's also time to start thinking about next season, and planning trips for the coming year.
I think most of us enjoy visiting the winter fishing shows and talking to the outfitters. But I doubt many people put a lot of thought into it before they leave the house. That's a mistake, and one which could cost you opportunities if it delays your booking decision and you wind up losing out on the best available weeks.
Before heading to the shows, I like to think about what it is I want to accomplish in the year ahead, and then I book my travel around that. Most of these trips fall into one of three categories.
Catch Familiar Fish in Different SituationsMost of my trips fall into this first category, where I'm targeting old favourites like bass, walleye, pike or lake trout, but looking to catch them in a different location or with different techniques than I can when fishing on my local lakes.
Catch New SpeciesVariety is the spice of life, and sometimes the opportunity to catch species I can't catch at home is a big draw.
A couple of years ago I booked an early season trip with a lodge in Tennessee that offered the chance to catch spotted bass. Now understand, at least in this particular lake spotted bass aren't normally much more than a pound or two in weight, and in that area, they're not really considered a big draw. Most people come to the lodge to catch smallmouth bass instead. But for a guy who has caught thousands of smallmouths in my life yet had never even seen a spotted bass up close, that was enough. I went down with a couple of friends, we caught a bunch of spotties and had a great time. We caught plenty of nice smallmouth too, but it was the spotted bass that we still talk about.
Scratch One Off My Bucket List
I don't confine my fishing travel into just my summer holiday - the fact is I book lots of short trips right through the season. So what about that big summer getaway? That's reserved for scratching something off my bucket list.
Drive down to Florida to catch a tarpon? Done it. Head for the east coast to surf fish for stripers and bluefish? Check. Fly into the far north for Arctic char and grayling? Loved it.
If you're going to take a week out of your life to go away on a fishing trip, doing a bit of pre-planning can let you check off those bucket list experiences at the same time. It doesn't have to be stupidly expensive if you plan ahead. But planning is the key.
Fishing trips are a lot of fun, but to get the most from your time and money, planning now pays big dividends - especially if it's a big trip for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.