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The Birth of a New Year
Jerry Corbett

            The beginning of a new year for most tournament anglers begins with a breath of cool crisp air, and the thoughts of how this year will be the year.  The one that most anglers dream about in their late night slumber, having the hot-stick, and loading limits after limits of bass into the boat for a little ride back to the weigh-in.  Awe, if it could only be that simple.

            At the end of a long tournament season many anglers look for a break from the demands and pressure of fishing a team tournament circuit or pro/am trail, and begin to reflect on the season.  After the tournament fishing year is over if you donít sit down and go over in your mind or even on paper or over the phone with a fishing buddy the things that worked and things that turned out wrong, then you are definitely doing yourself a great injustice.  Most anglers will go through what they had planned for a particular tournament and how the rights turned into wrongs and how the approach to a certain body of water could have been better implemented into a stronger finish.  However, anglers should also sit down at the end of the year and go through each tournament and put them together and compile the entire fishing year.  If you do a self-assessment of the entire year and note how you fished over an entire year, you will be better prepared for the upcoming season. 

            Obviously, individuals have a great variety of ways of getting away from the demands of fishing, just to recharge the batteries for a while.  Many will hit the woods in search of deer and other type of game, and even others will hit the waterways and ponds in search of ducks and still others will look onto the open fields for huge flights of geese.  Again, many others might sit around and enjoy an afternoon of football or basketball on the tube.  You may find spending time with your family or heading off to church is a good way to relax and to refocus your fishing energy.  All of these are great ideas, as long as you feel you have had the opportunity to rest and balance that desire of competitive fishing with the grueling affects of spending a good chunk of the year on the front deck of a boat.

            Once the holidays come and go and the frosty soil of January waits below our feet, we begin to get that extra excitement with the upcoming new year.  The tournament schedules begin to take shape and plans for another year are formed.  By this time most of us are chomping at the bit, and ready to get after it, in our never-ending search for our little green friends.  The new year starts off a little slow, but with the ushering in of the boat shows it wonít be long before the tournament season will be on its way.

            If you have compiled a semi detailed self-assessment of the recently past year and develop a decent understanding of how things could have been different in the actions and decisions that you made the year before, this can become a key ingredient in a successful new year.  When take the time to rest and relax and reacquire that clear understanding of your goals and desires you can begin to picture what you want to have happen in your next outing.  And you should also have some downtime to organize and inspect your fishing gear. 

            All of these items can be important ingredients in your recipe for fishing success.  Not one thing will automatically make you a more successful angler after the birth of a new year, the only way you can become more successful this year, is what decision you make.  

Take it easy, and good fishing!
Jerry Corbett





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