Vantage Point

Hooked on Resolutions!

Now that we are one-twelve-thousandth of the way through, I'd like to report that I'm doing pretty well on my resolutions for this millennium. Unlike my annual and centennial resolutions, I devoted a lot of thought to the millennial ones. After all, 1,000 years of behavior is not something I want to commit to lightly.

Most of my resolutions have to do with fishing. By happy accident, my fishing partners have for the later part of the previous millennium gone out of their way to tell me how I might improve my angling conduct. I rejected some of their suggestions, because they were so obviously self-serving. My friend, Steve, for example, thought it would be nice if I let him use my favorite Woogie-Boogie crankbait now and then. Another guy wished that I might once in a while offer to pay for boat gas.

Over the years I'd collected quite a pile of potential resolutions. From this list, I filtered out a selection, picking and choosing those that seemed A) possible, B) necessary and C) not too hard. I rephrased a lot of them, not because they weren't clear, but because I'm uncomfortable writing down words that I couldn't say in front of my mother.

I also installed some stipulations. It would be foolish of me, for example, to resolve to never cut any of my fishing partners' lines with the trolling motor because, frankly, such an action is sometimes justified. I can imagine situations in which cutting a fishing line might save a person who is having stupid luck from becoming a boisterous fish hog. And a little twist of the trolling motor with an "oops!" afterward is certainly more efficient than spending a lot of time trying to persuade a fishing companion that I deserve the next cast to a school of feeding white bass.

I'm resolved to improve my personal habits, too. This millennium, I'm going to put away tackle, replace bait container lids and put soda cans into a litterbag in an effort to keep my boat from becoming too messy. A few years ago, I waved to a stranger fishing from a bridge and stopped to talk to him a bit. During our conversation, he told me that mine was the most cluttered boat that had passed beneath him all summer.

I may just outfit the boat with a canopy top, instead.

The more I thought about it, the more resolutions I came up with. They have to do with how close to other boats I will troll, how many marker buoys I put out, whether I will fix broken equipment at the end of a trip or the beginning of the next and where and how I will relieve myself on crowded fishing lakes,

I can't list all of my resolutions: Some of them are private - between me and the fish. I like to think that fish have made resolutions, too.

Yes, it's only February in the first year of the new millennium, so it's probably premature to claim success with my resolutions. In fact, I've slipped on one already.

I have failed to correct a lifelong tendency to get all buzzed up about fishing that is already over or that hasn't started yet. It's a timing thing and, because I'm mistimed, I feel I'm wasting excitement.

Thus, though we still have freezing nights and the threat of snow, I can't shake off images of wet wading the North Fork River, trolling nightcrawlers for walleyes on Stockton Lake and working plastic worms along the shoreline of Binder Lake.

Two resolutions I guarantee to keep: 1) I will go fishing more and 2) I will go fishing more. One further promise: I will work hard throughout this new millennium to pack solid fishing information in the Conservationist.

Maybe we can get you excited about fishing, too.

Tom Cwynar, Editor