Well, here it is 2015. Things are looking pretty good. Locally gas is below $2.00 a gallon, the weather has been fairly mild so far, and there just seems to be a real optimism in the air wherever I go. Sorta’ seems a shame to spoil all of this with any New Year’s resolutions, but here I am doing just that!
Now that I’m real closer to 70 New Year’s resolutions seem to have taken on a new found importance to me. So, as you might expect, I think sharing these with all of you would be worthwhile if for no other reason than it causes me to make a public commitment to stay on point and do what I say I will do.
My very first resolution and one that all others will depend on is to get on the water or in the field more often. You might think that anyone who is involved in the recreational fishing and hunting equipment business would be out there fishing or hunting most of the time. Boy, do I wish that were so. The more ALFC grows the tougher it has been for me to get away from the store. Quite honestly, I just love working with customers (and telling fishing & hunting stories) so much that last year my fishing and hunting time was way less than I expected. There always seemed to be an excuse why I couldn’t get out. This year I’m going to change that. Really, I am.
In 2015 I resolve to try new stuff. You would expect that from me since we sell all the latest and greatest, but hey, I’m an old guy. Old guys are “set in their ways” and I still don’t understand why a lure that caught fish like crazy 40 or 50 years ago won’t work now. But, I will readily admit that there are some kick-ass lures now available that just rock.
My problem is one of nostalgia as much as resistance to change. My tackle box is full of Mepps spinners, Creek Chub Pikies, Musky Hawks, etc. and every time I pick up one of these and tie it on my line the memories flood back of fishing with our kids, summer trips to that special lake, and great times. But, I promise to try the new stuff this year.
I don’t have this problem with my hunting gear. I am always looking for the latest and greatest whether it be a crossbow, clothing, or whatever. But when it comes to fishing I’m admittedly way behind the curve.
This year I’m going to move away from my comfort zone. Frankly, I’m best described as a freshwater fisherman and a Midwestern hunter. I like fresh water and the scenery that is included. I like our local woods and farm fields. I like the fish, the wild game, the flora and fauna, and everything that has to do with our local area. But I will stretch this year and move into salt water, southern “big bass” lakes, maybe some elk or moose hunting, and anything else that is a substantial change away from my comfort zone. I will fly on airplanes more (I really hate to fly) and put up with the airline security hassles and mishandled luggage so I can try fishing for new species or hunting for game that is not found in this area.
I will become a better fly caster in 2015. Honestly, I’m an intermediate fly caster at best, and that’s on my best day. I struggle with wind and tippets and line weights, and – you name it – I am usually a frustrated angler when fly fishing is involved. More than once I have been fly fishing on a bank and reverted to my tried and true spinning rod after a few hours of casting frustrations. This year I will stick with my fly rods and get better. Old guys have experience and (hopefully) some knowledge of what it takes to get good at something. Fly fishing takes practice and patience. I will develop both this year. Yes I will!
In 2015 hopefully sooner than later I will dive into my 10 or 15 tackle boxes (I’m actually not sure just how many I really have) and get my gear organized. After over 60 years of fishing and accumulating so much gear, this is a project that is long overdue. My wife Dixie has commented on more than one occasion, “I don’t see how you can find anything in that mess.” So, I resolve to straighten our every single tackle box. I’ll make sure I have each organized, perhaps by species or type of lake or whatever, but I will get “that mess” straightened and no longer have to be made fun of by my wife, friends, and kids.
2015 will be the year I systematically clean and service my reels and rods before I set out on a fishing trip. Usually my maintenance occurs less than 6 or 12 hours before we start our trip. I end up in the garage sorting and servicing while the rest of the family is grilling out or excitedly talking about the upcoming trip. Me? I’m in a panic getting all the gear ready. Oiling reels, stringing on new line, checking rod guides, etc. This year I’m going to prepare earlier and enjoy the total experience of family and friends that invariably starts a day or so before we depart.
Finally, 2015 will be the year that I actually take care of my boat, motor, and trailer ALL year. I have a nice Lund Mr. Pike that I dearly love. Each spring I clean the boat from stem to stern. I wax it, vacuum it, polish it, and service it. I tighten everything and make sure it looks as close to new as possible for a 9 year old boat. But as the season progresses I slip. I come home tired and there’s always tomorrow to do the requisite maintenance and cleaning. Then there’s another tomorrow and another and eventually it just doesn’t get done. This year I won’t let that happen. I’ll clean up after each trip out. Hmmm, maybe I can talk Dixie into helping me with this?
There are probably a lot more changes I need to make , but like I said, I’m an old guy and this list seems pretty substantial if not a bit overwhelming. I hope you’ll stay tuned and help me stay on point. I can assure you I will need all the help I can get. Like I said, old guys are set in their ways!
We really encourage all of you to check out our trade-in program. It’s a great way to get credit for your old gear and a much easier process than trying to sell it on your own. We also still have some great closeout deals on the Shimano & G. Loomis apparel.
Thanks to all of our great friends and customers who have supported us and passed our name on to their friends. We know we are only here by making sure your needs are our first and only priority. Please let me know if we ever fail to meet and exceed your expectations.
All the best,