As the year draws to an end, I find myself reflecting on the past year and giving thought to the upcoming one. Good exercises, to my way of thinking, provided they’re not overdone.
In reflection, this year was a difficult one, I lost a dear friend, Bill Woodward, to cancer. I was fortunate to be able to spend time with him shortly before his passing. I’ll always remember sitting with him in the hospital room when, in a good moment, he looked at me and said, “You know what you need to do?”
“No. What do I need to do?” I answered.
“You need to take Sue home and live a good life,” was the response. Those were his last word to me. Words I plan on abiding by.
Before his passing, Bill gave me the majority of his fishing gear, rods, reels, flies, tying material, you name it. While much appreciated, it did prompt me to tackle a task I’ve been debating for years, thinning out my tackle collection to items I might possibly use the rest of my days. After a lifetime of collecting tackle, I finally parted with my non-fly fishing gear. Numerous spinning rods, bait casting rods, reels, line, boxes of plastic lures, crankbaits, etc. The majority was donated to the youth bass club associated with the Centennial Bass Club, and the trout related items went to the Loveland Fishing Club.
But I’m a long way from being done, as I still have a collection of rod building supplies and tools that need a home, along with a box of old fly reels, a couple of rods, several fly boxes, and, at some point, I hope to thin down my massive collection of fly tying materials.
Rest assured that what remains still far exceeds what any two or three people should own. In fact, I’m not sure how many rods, reels, fly lines, fly boxes, and flies I own. Even worse, I’m not sure I want to know.
Looking ahead to the New Year, I could do as many seem inclined to do, make any number of New Year’s resolutions. Years of experience has shown that to be a “fool’s errand” in my case. They’re either ridiculously easy or a setup for failure. So these days, I settle on making a few “good intentions.”
For example, it’s my intention to continue to sort through my fishing stuff and pare it down to more manageable levels. A challenge, as these days folks have a way of passing their gear on to me, as Bill did, to enjoy or pass on to others. Plus, I have a bad habit of buying bargains, as I did this fall. I bought a full collection of tying materials from an estate, great price, but . . .
My second intention is to finally catch enough Master Angler species to get over half way through the list. I have eighteen, there are forty-three on the list, which means I need four more species. Very doable.
Finally, I want to fish a number of “weekend” destinations this year, such as my trip to John Martin last year. Waters that are within a day’s drive that offer potentially excellent fishing. There are a goodly number of them in Wyoming, Kansas, Utah, Nebraska, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and even Colorado.
In reflection, last year was bittersweet, and I’ve not a doubt next year will be too. Regardless of what the year has in store for me, I resolve to fish and follow Bill’s words to “live a good life.” I hope you’ll join me in doing the same.
Published Dec 25, 2016 in the Fort Collins Coloradoan