New Year’s Resolutions for a Bass Angler – 2017 Edition

Bucks Falcon Mercury

by Dan O’Sullivan

There have been times throughout my career that the New Year phenomenon has struck me with more of a sense of urgency than previous passing of a calendar year.  I’m not quite sure why one calendar flip hits me harder than another, but it does happen, and this has been one of those years.

If I had to put myself in the psychotherapy chair for a little self-analysis, I suppose the fact that our oldest daughter got her driver’s license and is now zipping around town on her own may have something to do with it.  It could be that she is a senior in high school, and both of her sisters are also in high school as well.  It could also be that I’m old and out of shape and I just need to make myself better than I am.

In the past, I have written articles “New Year’s Resolutions Lists for Bass Anglers for other publications.  The first one was actually written in 1997 for fun, and ended up being published in a now defunct publication called West Coast Bass News.  The second was written for a different publication in 2001, and both are compiled here on – if you want to take a look at some irresponsible, light hearted approaches to the subject –

This year, as my oldest child hits the precipice of adulthood, I must admit reaching a spot where the crescendo of my own life very well be behind me, and I find myself longing to be better than I am.  I find myself emboldened to fight the urge to push everything aside and slide my boat onto the waters of Neely Henry Lake and go fishing every day.

Instead of doing that, I have decided to dedicate myself to improvement in all areas of my life, and a good start is a renewed New Year’s Resolution List for myself – 2017 style.


I guess it’s time to organize this mess

  First and foremost, I need to organize my shop
I am going to set aside four days in January – when it’s not raining – and gut my shot and begin the process of organizing the tackle room so that I can actually locate things in there when it is time to go fishing.

This one should probably come first, but I am going to organize my office
I am a creative mind, so the organization process does not come as easy as the drop it and move on approach.  However, I am finding that some semblance of organization helps the mind focus on the task at hand, and would make it easier for me to check out for a day and go fishing.  So, that is a priority.

Clean and lubricate my reels twice this year
In order to be more effective when I actually do get on the water, I will spend a few hours at two different points this year and apply a few drops of lubricant to my reels.

Find an effective way to organize soft plastics
I will devote some time to finally find an effective way to organize soft plastics in 2017.  I have tried everything from cardboard boxes to grocery bags to gallon sized storage bags to plastic totes, and none of them are effective to me.  I spend too much time trying to locate things when I want to go fishing, so I will overcome that roadblock as well.

Order less fishing tackle
I have concluded that part of my organization problem stems from the fact that I have too much fishing tackle.  So, with that in mind, I will order less tackle in 2017, and will also avoid impulse buys of tackle this year.


I guess I’ll clean up my yard too

Rake the leaves the last storm dropped and the latest storm turned to mush in the front yard
I will get outside and rake the leaves in the front yard.  That way, when an opportunity to go fishing arises, there is one less uncompleted task to keep me from hitting the water due to guilt of things being left unfinished.

Hit the gym every day, no, twice a day is even better
I definitely want to be in better shape so that I can better enjoy my fishing time, and be able to concentrate when I’m out there instead of fighting fatigue and discomfort.  If I invest this year into hitting the gym, then I can really be on top of things soon.

Eat healthier
I can accomplish my fitness goals by spending more time in the kitchen and less time eating at the steering wheel.

Carry less tackle in the boat
This is another of those organization deals, carrying less tackle will make me more effective and allow me more time fishing, and less time searching for the right lure.


The office needs some attention too

Get the valve cover gaskets in Christina’s vehicle fixed, saves money, less wasted oil.
This is like the yard work.  If I have this finished, then I don’t have that looming over me when I get a chance to hit the water.

Fix the bunks and install new leaf springs on my boat trailer
This is something I’ve needed to do for six months or so, and I’ve been putting it off.  I’m adding this to my list of things to get finished here in early 2017

Communicate better with my daughters
I have finally decided that I am the one who needs to do a better job of expressing myself with my daughters and fully understanding their needs.  This is one thing that just about every father could do a much better job of.

Spend more quality, one on one time with my wife
Without a doubt, this is one of those things that is a must do in 2017.  The more quality time I spend with Christina, the better our relationship will be in the future, and the more connected we will be now.

I suppose that this list is going to develop as the year progresses.  As I accomplish each item, I will be able to rid myself of the clutter in my head that has bogged me down and kept me from enjoying my life – on and off the water.

You know, the more that I think about it, all this list is going to do is continue to get longer.  Forget communicating with my daughters; they’re teenagers, and they are insane.  I think the best thing I could do for that one is to install a giant flat screen in an isolated area of the house and install a deadbolt that locks from the inside.

On second thought, now that I think about this list as a whole, screw it – I’m going fishing.  By doing that, I’ll have less tackle to get organized, my boat trailer will be lighter because the boat is on the water, and won’t need to be repaired.  On the fitness front, they tell me that the heart rate of a tournament angler actually gets higher than a football player at times, so I can accomplish some cardiovascular work there.  I’ll have Christina drop her vehicle off at the mechanic, and our oldest is now driving, so we can unplug from the taxi service for the other two.

Hey honey!  Call a landscape company and gather the camera gear.  Let’s go spend some quality time on the water together.  I’ll fish while you film me for videos for the website – we’ll hit a drive thru and get a burger along the way.

That’s more like it.