Beat the Post-Holiday Blues
Every year, the Fall and Winter holidays seem to begin earlier and earlier. Part of me likes to keep the events separate while another part of me sort of likes the fact that everyone is happy for a long period of time. One part that I always dread is January 2nd, because on that day the celebrations come to an abrupt end.
For me, they come to an end because I never seem to have a follow up plan in place. We go from Halloween trick or treating to Thanksgiving to holiday parties to Christmas celebrations, and then to a kickin’ New Year’s Eve. It’s no surprise that we all seem to get blue afterwards.
For all of us, fishing trips have a way of turning our frowns upside down, so planning a winter escape is a perfect way to beat the post-holiday blues. It doesn’t matter if it’s a local jaunt to a favorite place, or a trip of a lifetime to somewhere far away, the key part is just to get out and do something that we all love to do. Start by checking your post-holiday budget, then go from there. In the meantime, here are some ideas.
Who could beat a trip to the Bahamas? With inshore fishing, offshore fishing, full lodge options or do-it-yourself trips, it’s a great way to get out of the frozen tundra and soak up some sun. Trading winter boots for sand in between your toes is outstanding, as is wading a flat with fish cruising around.
Florida is another great option. There are snook and reds on the east coast and west coasts, bones, permit and tarpon in the Keys, and lay-up tarpon, snook and reds in the back country. Heading offshore is an option, with billfish and wahoo as a few options. Heck, when the temperature is around zero at home I’d be happy with a mess of jacks and ladyfish!
I have a few friends who fish the Gulf Coast in the summer, but I think a winter trip might be a great option. There is a lot of water that runs from the Texas coast all the way to the west coast of Florida, with trout and snook to cobia and tarpon in between. I think the drum in the marshes or the bull drum slightly offshore would absolutely cure the winter blues.
Ice fishing is always a fun, social way to fish, with some of the shanties more closely resembling a living room than an outdoor pavilion. From the enormous Great Lakes to the countless smaller lakes and ponds, fish caught through the ice taste great, particularly walleye, bass, and perch.
And there is always a trip to catch a run of winter steelhead. Steelhead give about as explosive a fight as any, and in a way, the solitude of an icy river running through snow-packed banks might be the best way to chill out after the excitement of the holidays. You be the judge.
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Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program. Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits. When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters. His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011. Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or at www.thekeergroup.com.