For a fly angler living in the north, winter is a time to prepare for the season ahead. There are fly boxes to fill, rods and reels to assess, lines to clean, waders to patch, vests to launder and new purchases to be considered.
But, right now, those preparations can wait. You see, for me at least, this part of the season is about getting inspired.
Over the last few years, I've made a New Year's tradition out of deciding what aspect of the sport I'll focus on in the upcoming season.
In 2012, I made an effort to research and practice the finer points of streamers fishing — that was inspired largely by the Joseph Bates classic, Streamer Fly Tying & Fishing. The year before, I focused my efforts on improving my smallmouth bass repertoire after reading Harry Murray's fantastic book on the subject. And the season prior to that, you would have been hard pressed to find me prospecting any stream without a parachute Adam's dry fly tied to the end of my tippet — that was the year I spent working on my dry fly fishing skills.
This year, I believe I'd like to experiment more with nymph fishing techniques, as I think this might be particularly useful in one fast-flowing brook trout river I know. I'll start by reading Charles Brooks' Nymph Fishing for Larger Trout. And somewhere before spring, I'll fill a new fly box with nymphs like the Green Damsel that should work in the waters near my home.
That's not to say I'll nymph fish exclusively this season, just that I'll add that discipline more and more to the playbook I've developed.
The idea is not solely to become a more well-rounded fly fisherman, but rather to enjoy all that the sport has to offer. And that's a New Year's resolution I believe I can keep.