How to be a Better Angler in 2024

How to be a Better Angler in 2024

The new year is nearly upon us. As the prior one comes to a close, this is a great time to look back at what has worked well the last 365 days or so and to look ahead to what can be done differently in the new year. To help you with this process, I’m going to share a little of what I’ve learned throughout my first 37 years here on this earth, related to life and fishing. 

Keep things in perspective - 

Fishing comprises quite a bit of my life. It’s the main thing I do for fun. It’s what I do for a living. It’s what my dad and I have bonded over since I was born. And I’ve mistakenly placed it on the throne of my heart entirely in the past. 

Fishing is a fantastic thing. It has been a great source of enjoyment and pleasant memories for me and my friends and family over the decades. But I’ve also let it control me at times. And I’ve let fishing get in the way of many of my relationships as well, even my personal relationship with God. 

Allowing fishing to take over my life completely led me to bitterly hate the pastime as a whole at one point in my life. But diligently working to regain and maintain spiritual order has put fishing back in its rightful place as an awesome addition to my life.

I strongly encourage you to assess the role of fishing in your life. If your mood or self-worth is dictated by how well you do on the water or how your social media stacks up to someone else’s, I want to encourage you in this simple statement— there’s much more to life. 

I believe Jesus is the linchpin that holds it all together. And I can guarantee you fishing isn’t it. Love fishing. Enjoy it. But don’t let it come between you and the ones you love. Learn this now from me, or learn it over time for yourself, relationships are what matters most in this life. 

make goals for fishing!

Make goals -

It’s important to set goals in all areas of your life, and fishing is no different. You’ll want to make measurable and achievable goals, as well as a lofty one or two that may seem a little out of reach. And I personally think that in fishing, and in all aspects of life really, it’s better to not let these goals be too materialistic. 

In other words, it’s not necessarily a bad thing to set a goal to save up and buy a new reel, graph or even a boat. But if the focus becomes too much on the thing and not a refining of yourself as an angler, you may put in a lot of work to get the thing and find that you’re no better off for having gotten it. 

I’ve found that setting goals to be the best angler you can with what you have at your disposal is a more rewarding practice. This also prepares you better for making the most of the additional tools that you can certainly add to your arsenal moving forward. 

A good example of an achievable and measurable goal in fishing that anyone could go after for example would be to refine a particular technique or skill. Take skipping for instance. Whether fishing with a spinning reel, a baitcaster or even a Zebco, and no matter if you’re fishing from the bank, a kayak or a big boat, everyone can practice at skipping and become better at it with time. Then, as you graduate your gear and fishing platform, you’ll be better prepared to make the most of all that you have at your disposal. 

It is still a good idea too though to make a big goal. Maybe that is saving up for the new ride, or a more capable combo. It’s even good to set a competitive goal like doing well in a particular tournament. But make sure this big goal is comprised of smaller, achievable goals. Like saving up $20 per month for a $100 rod and reel for example. This will help you measure your progress toward your goal and help you keep up the momentum to accomplish it. 

Take a wholistic approach to fishing - 

Everything is connected. I find this to be more and more true with each passing year. Fishing is no different. If you want to be better at fishing, what you do off the water matters as much (or more so even) than what you do on it. 

What you eat, for example, is the fuel that you’ll burn on the water. The more junk you eat, the slower your thinking and your reaction times. If you never exercise off the water, you can expect a tough day on the water to drain you physically. And as we’ve already talked about how, if you don’t keep fishing in perspective, it can wreck you emotionally and spiritually. 

Instilling good sleeping, eating and exercise routines when you’re off the water will make you far more effective on the water. Even if you’re a young angler and the effects of these things are minimal currently, putting these healthy practices into place now will be far easier than installing them later. 

These are the hard things professional anglers like Brandon Palaniuk and Carl Jocumsen chose to do before they even really had to, that have set them apart already and will do so exponentially as their bodies age during the latter parts of their careers. 

Some people like to think luck has a lot to do with fishing. Sure, sometimes things just go right or wrong on the water. But the better definition of this kind of luck as a whole is, “when preparedness meets opportunity”. 

This is what carries certain anglers to the top. It’s not consistently getting lucky. It’s consistently doing the hard little things to be a better angler, many of which may not appear to have much to do with fishing at all at the surface level. But taking a wholistic approach to fishing will make you a better angler for sure overtime. 

I’ve taken the long way round to learn many of these things I’m telling you now. My hope in life is always that someone can benefit from my lived experiences, and perhaps be spared the heartache of learning things the hard way for themselves. If you want to be a better angler in 2024, I dare say a better person as a whole even, set some goals, keep fishing in perspective and take a wholistic approach to it all. These things will serve you well. 

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