Neil Travis - Feb 25, 2013

Journal - Neil M. Travis
Do you see yourself in this picture this coming season?

Punxsutawney Phil recently predicted an early spring and just the thought of the coming spring usually sets the mind of dedicated fly rodders reeling [no pun intended] with thoughts of the coming fly fishing season. If this describes you then now is the time to start making your plans, especially if those plans involve a trip to a new place. However, even if your upcoming fly fishing adventures only consists of day trips to your favorite local fishing hole now is the time to make certain that you have what you need to make the most of each trip.

If your trips don't involve new locations then it makes planning easier but no less essential. Now is time to review your notes, or if you are not a note taker then it's time to review your memories from last season. What hatches did you encounter last year and what patterns produced the best results? Are there some new patterns that you would like to experiment with this season? Have you taken an inventory of your fly boxes and checked over your other equipment? Now is the time.

If you have big plans to make a trip to some new place then the planning becomes more critical. Over the years I have seen many trips that were ruined due to the lack of some basic planning. Trips that involve outdoor activities are dependent upon weather conditions, and so it's very important to get as much information on what the normal weather patterns you can expect at the time of your trip. You don't want to end up in the Bahamas during the hurricane season. In addition, if you are planning a trip anywhere that may be impacted by snow melt you should check the snow pack reports for the area where you are planning to fish.

When you are planning a fly fishing trip you need to decide what type of fishing you are hoping to find. By that I mean if you are a trout angler are you looking primarily for dry fly fishing? If so then you want to make certain that you are planning your trip when the conditions are right for dry fly activity. If you spend your money and your time only to arrive at your destination to find that you arrived at the wrong time. It pays to do your homework before you make your final plans.

Once you have decided where you are going and when you plan to go you should secure any reservations that you may need. If you are planning on relying upon the services of an outfitter then you need to contact them and make the necessary arrangements. This may seem obvious but I have heard more than one sad story from anglers who waited until the last minute to attempt to secure the services of an outfitter only to discover that they had waited too long. Prime time dates fill up quickly so it pays to make your reservations as far in advance as practical.

The next step is to check your equipment to make certain that you have the necessary items for your upcoming trip. It's important to check your fly lines and replace any of them that are showing signs of deterioration; especially cracking of the coating. Check your reels, and if you have not done so already, pull out the spool and wipe down the interior surfaces with a light lubricant. Check for any sign of wear or any other conditions that might cause the reel to fail. The reel and the line are the two pieces of equipment that you don't want to fail when you are on your dream fishing trip.

Today we have the advantage of the Internet which allows us to find out just about everything that we need to know when planning a trip. You can get information on water conditions, hatches, recommended fly patterns, accommodations, camp grounds, restaurants, and even things for the family to do while you are fishing. However, the Internet will not allow you to procrastinate when finalizing your plans. If you need to book a place to stay, secure the services of a particular outfitter, or make reservations to fish a specific place

Once all your plans are solidified, all the details worked out all that is left to do is start counting the days. It has been said that the journey is the destination and if you have done your homework carefully the journey will be all you hope it will be with tight lines, and great memories.

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