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
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
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.