Beyond the simple sadness of the end of the ice fishing season, the onset of spring brings the expectations of open-water fishing. But there's also the dreaded yard and garden work that comes with the sprouting of green grass and budding trees. No longer quite so free to play on Saturdays as once before, there begins to be a natural response to such mild weather to get out in the yard and work.
This can really put a cramp in your fishing plans. So let's discuss a few simple object lessons that may help add some time to your weekend availability for alternative activities.
My major obligation with yard work is pulling and spraying weeds, trimming edges of sidewalk and flower beds, fertilizing, and mowing the grass. I've begun to divide my time during the weekdays toward this end, thus leaving myself with less responsibility on Saturdays. Although I'd put off that fertilizing stuff until later in the spring. That will only make your grass greener and cause it to grow faster, earlier in the year. Nasty stuff. You'll be looking at mowing every five days or so instead of holding out an entire week, which will completely throw off your fishing schedule.
However this requires ignoring how tired you are when you come home from work some days, and applying yourself to a portion of the tasks that are usually preoccupying a perfectly good fishing Saturday. So, I look at weeding and spraying to complete one afternoon, edging and trimming later in the week, followed by a Thursday or Friday mowing binge to complete the task at hand. The yard looks good for the weekend, and you're free from doing it all on a Saturday morning when you should be out fishing.
This is not to say there aren't more tasks at hand around the house. Quite often there's the painting and redecorating of the house, pulling up old carpet to replace it with new stuff, or that share of indoor cleaning activities that pop up every week as well. So I guess what I'm saying here is, if you want to fish on Saturdays, you're going to have to invest time during the week opening up your calendar for the more pleasant things of nature. Mainly, fishing.
On those Saturdays when it's inevitable that you're not going anywhere, try to squeeze in an evening trip to Willard, Pineview, or the Weber River. This is all a juggling act, but with a little practice, you can keep the house looking good, and still get in some fishing action.
Spring is also the time of the year when I really get the urge to spend my fishing allowance on new "stuff" for my tackle boxes. This time of year is inviting because soon our boats and float tubes will once again be on the waters.
Breaking down your favorite waters and styles of fishing will dictate what you look for in your purchases. I know about how many times I'll go to Pineview for muskies and crappie, just as I know my needs when it comes to Willard Bay, Flaming Gorge, Strawberry, the Provo and Logan rivers, and others. I proportionalize my cash allotment to fit the need of the upcoming year.
I search out a new rod and/or reel yearly. Of course, it has to be functional, favorable to the touch, and pleasing to look at as well. This will get used to the fullest extent of my kitchen passes; no doubt about it. I'm picky about rod length and specific uses, and tend to lean toward ultra-light equipment. In the reel I of course look for line capacity and gear ratios. Ball bearings are also a key ingredient to the proper reel action.
Lures, on the other hand, are the most dangerous of all eye candy in the shops. One must be quite disciplined when shopping for the latest in tackle, or you'll end up with the same stuff/different color every time. There are some things I can never get enough of, however. And that generally means jigs and grubs for bass, crappie, perch, walleye, and even trout.
There really are some necessities, however. New line for the year comes as a major expenditure in my spring fling of shopping. Multiple colors and line construction to line test strength and yardage requirements will dictate the need here. I can always justify this purchase, and I make the most of it too.
New fly tying materials are a must-have, and I take a good inventory each spring to see where I am with my supplies.
On a really good year, when the budget is extra abundant, which isn't often these days, I look into electronic gadgetry to add some spice to the whole experience. Trolling motors, fish finders and graphs, even a new GPS or camera is an exciting addition to any angler's supply of goodies.
Yes, it's officially that time of year, friends. So make plans now to come up with the proper excuses and justifications for your upcoming actions. We want to enjoy this special time, not create a hazard at home. With any luck I'll see you at the eye candy shop real soon!
Brad Kerr is an avid angler who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.