Learn from the Pros
Tackle Show To truly appreciate a sunny day you’ve got to have some rain. Along those same lines, the off-season helps me to appreciate the fishing season. Off season is when I can reflect on my past year. I can think about what went right, I can figure out what went wrong and fix it, and I can get ready for next year. I base my decisions around the philosophy of “keep a winning game plan, change a losing game plan;” what that means is I’ll figure out what gear worked and what did not, and which approaches and tactics worked and which did not. You can teach an old dog new tricks, and that means I’ll study quite a lot, too.
I love to read, so I’ll devour all of the print fishing magazines I can find. It doesn’t matter if they focus on freshwater or saltwater, on bass fishing with soft plastics or on trout fishing with a fly. I don’t get every magazine so if you want to work out a swap on some I’m in like Flynn.
Digital offers a lot of variety both domestic and foreign. I’ll read content featured on a lot of websites, flip through some of the electronic magazines, and pick up some tips from Youtube videos. I’m also connected with a number of Facebook pages, so I’ll check them out from time-to-time as well.
The winter is also show season, and the boat shows and the consumer fishing shows always have a good variety of speakers and seminars. I love those programs because the majority of the topics are of a local/regional nature and they’ll help me catch more fish in my home waters. But there also are a number of speakers from away who are super interesting. While I may never get to Costa Rica to catch a sailfish I can add that species to my bucket list…and add some of their techniques to my methods.
A lot of the tackle shops near my home are seasonal and they shut down for the winter. There are a few that remain open, and they offer weekly programs to introduce new gear, review maintenance techniques and the like. Most are informal get-together run by the staff or some of the charter captains. There usually is a tremendous amount of experience in the room, and the chatter from the peanut gallery is always interesting and relevant.
If your fishing season winds down then think about hitting the show circuit this off-season. It’ll help pass the time until Opening Day.
Tom Keer is an award-winning freelance writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or at www.thekeergroup.com.
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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.