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New Year’s Resolutions for the Angler, by Dr. Bogus

It’s winter and the New Year 2014 and we have survived the dreaded Polar Vortex, and indications are that the trout did too. I will have a special report and data on trout stun events next week.

So, even though on the average, only 8% of New Year’s resolutions are found to be long lasting, it’s always good to think about what you may change for the better in the New Year even for the angler. Here are some of my suggestions. Trash…please go trashless this season, this includes proper discarding of your fishing line. We all see the careless disposal of trash in and along our waters and along the highways. It seems to be epidemic, so everyone do your best to discard your own trash properly and if you have a chance, help clean up after others not as considerate.

Several of the main reasons for lost fish include old fishing line, bad knots and dull and rusty hooks. Resolve to replace your line at least each year, it’s the only thing between you and your trophy fish, learn how to tie secure high strength knots and check your hooks for dull points and rust. Poor hookups from dull hooks result in unnecessarily lost fish but sharp hooks insure solid hookups and more fish in your cooler.

Speaking of fishing line, maybe this is your year to try braided line. But if you do you will need to learn how to use it properly or you experience will end up in a costly tangled web of fishing line. I have an article on my web site that will get you up to speed and avoid my early troubles with braided line ( I had terrible troubles, you don’t have to!

Knowledge is often the basis of better fishing. The local fishing clubs are a wealth of good fishermen and great personal fishing information and experiences of folks that are willing to share. Local clubs include the Onslow Bay Fishing Club, Saltwater Light Tackle Fishing Club and the Cape Lookout Fly Fishers.

Another information fount include the winter fishing seminars. Two prominent seminars include the SaltWater Sportsman National Seminar Series to be held at the New Bern Convention Center this year  on January 11, 2014. You can get tickets by calling 800-448-7360. I hope to see you there. Another is the put on by the Fisherman’s Post Magazine. This will be held in the Crystal Coast Civic Center in Morehead City on February 22, 2014. Tickets can be gotten from Chasin’ Tails (Atlantic Beach Causeway) and West Marine (Morehead City). Registration forms are also available from their web site, You will recognize many of the expert presenters.

Location, location, location is not only a real estate mantra, but fishing too. Remember that 80% of the people fish in 20% of the “hot” fishing holes, so try to stray from the madding crowds and find your own hot spots. One way for me was to take up kayak fishing several years ago. Believe me, I can get places where most of you can’t go!

Along with braided line, give a try to some new baits. If  you don’t use corks or haven’t gotten to using some of the great suspending baits, maybe 2014 is the year for you. Try the MirrOlure 17 or 27-MR suspending baits in the “808” or electric chicken colors. And if you are not catching fish with them, you are working them too fast, soooo sloooow down your retrieves.

To help our fish stocks, please follow creel and size limits, return unwanted fish back to the water (even “trash” fish), practice catch and release, keep only fish you will eat. And if you see violations, don’t hesitate to call in the violations to NC Marine Patrol (800.682.2632) or Wildlife Resources Commission (800.662.7137). Finally, respect other fishermen. That is the best resolution of all, and the fishing will be better for us all.

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