In many ways, the dawn of 2021 is like the start of a new fishing day.
When I go to the lake at sunrise and slide the boat off the trailer at the ramp, the day spreads out in front of me with opportunity and optimism. I can build on yesterday’s positives.
But I also can learn from yesterday’s failures. The failed casts, broken lines and lost fish literally are history. What didn’t work then informs the decisions I will make in the day just beginning.
So now it is 2021 and the slate is clean. Last year’s successes and failures are the lessons for this year’s living — including those days when fishing is the reason we get out of bed.
Each and every one of us learned a lot about ourselves, our friends, neighbors and our world in 2020. COVID-19 aroused previously unthinkable concerns and cautions, along with a healthy new awareness that nothing about our existence ought to be taken for granted.
Fishing helped many of us weather the troubles of the just-concluded year. Along the way, I came to savor every day on the lake, every cast I made and every fish I caught with new appreciation.
Those of us who will go fishing in the new year should take a moment to reflect on the fact that many who would have joined us on the lake will not be doing so in 2021. Their passing reminds us that nothing about tomorrow, next week or the opportunity to go fishing is guaranteed.
I am taking all of that with me as I head into 2021. And when I next go to a lake, I’ll be appreciating every experience all the more.
The start of the new year is a time of promise and for promises. I look to 2021 with high expectations. I will pay attention to the details, tie better knots and sharpen my hooks. I’ll be more courteous to nearby anglers, always pick up my litter and minimize my footprint on the environment.
I will take better care of my rods and reels, the tackle I employ and the equipment on my boat. I’ll make better decisions, economize where I can and invest where it is smart.
I will remember the good stuff about yesterday’s successes and forget the unhappiness of the failures. I will share knowledge when I am able and accept guidance when it’s offered.
I will be mindful of fish care, harvest only what I can use and ask others to do likewise.
I will truly soak in every moment on the water, every experience with friends, and every encounter with the fish and other wildlife around our beautiful lakes and river.
Most of all I look ahead to the new year with more appreciation for the opportunities yet before us. And I will never take another day on the lake for granted.
Happy fishing in 2021 and happy and healthy New Year to all.