Al Campbell, Field Editor

September 8th, 2003

Proper planning
By Al Campbell

This is the time of year when I start planning for next year's fishing season. To some of you that might sound a bit strange, but I have some good reasons for the timing. By the end of August I already know what worked and what didn't work for me this year, and I want to apply that knowledge to next year with hopes for a more successful year ahead.

Considering the fact that I (with a co-worker named Bryan Bell) write the fly fishing program for a 22 store sporting goods corporation; that knowledge is valuable to us, and having it fresh in our minds helps us make better decisions. The fact that the one big retailer fly fishing show is in early September is also a factor. There is no better time than near the end of the current season, to plan for the next one.

I can already tell you which waders I plan on stocking next year, and which will be removed from our inventory. I know which float tubes and pontoons sold well, and which I don't plan to repeat next year. Some of the fly rod choices I made last year were excellent; some were not. Some of the items we sell are products of FAOL sponsors; some are not. Some things will remain the same for next year, and about as many will change.

What, if anything, does all this have to do with a guy who just enjoys fishing? If you think about it, it has a lot to do with your success next year. The successes and failures of this year can be valuable tools to your successes and failures next year. If you learned your lessons well this year, next year should be more successful in terms of fish on the line and pleasure on the stream. If you didn't, expect random successes and maybe mediocre outings next year.

Which flies worked best for you this summer? What time of day and which months were they most successful? Which techniques did you learn that made your fly presentations catch more fish? Did you expand your fishing techniques to include new methods, and did those new methods work better than what you had been doing? Did you record your successes and failures somewhere so you could review them before the next season starts?

Did you buy any new gear; and was it a lot better than what you already had, or was it about the same? Did you expand into any new aspects of the sport like tying your own flies or building your own fly rods? Did you learn any lessons there that you need to record in a diary or logbook to keep them fresh in your mind? What did you learn this year that will make you a better fisherman next year, and what will you avoid next time you go fishing?

You don't have to be a retailer or in the flyfishing business to start planning for a more successful year next year. Now is the best time to write a plan that emphasizes the lessons learned from this season, so you can expand on those lessons next year. One thing I know for certain is that time erases a lot of knowledge if it isn't written down and reviewed before the next season starts.

What did you learn this summer? Now is the best time to put that new knowledge on paper so you can use it to plan for next year. If you don't, you're likely doomed to one of the curses of history lessons not learned. You'll be like so many before you; you'll repeat your failures, and fail to repeat your successes. Lack of planning seems to work that way.

As this season draws slowly towards a close; what are you doing to make your next season better than the one you have been having this year? Do you have a plan? Now is the best time to start one. ~ AC

Previous Al Campell Columns

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