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Outdoor adventures: Are you ready to up your game in 2013?

Jimmy Veto, of the Quad Cities, decided he’d caught enough small fish. He booked the author as a guide and caught this monster. Are you ready to step up your game in 2013 and hook your beast?
Jimmy Veto, of the Quad Cities, decided he’d caught enough small fish. He booked the author as a guide and caught this monster. Are you ready to step up your game in 2013 and hook your beast?

Well, goodbye 2012, and hello lucky number 13. Now, I ain’t sure how many of you out there are superstitious, but I am, and starting off a new year that has one of the most fabled of all unlucky numbers attached to it ... well, it’s a little unsettling, to say the least.

I am trying to formulate some kind of plan to offset the certain carnage and macabre to come.

Being a flathead fisherman, I always worry about conditions for the upcoming season. But following up what was possibly the best big fish year I have ever had? Well, I can’t help thinking I have been set up for a tough year.

Generally, I just assume that my work ethic will overcome everything that Mother Nature, the fish and the forces of the dark side will throw at me. But in my line of work, assuming is the worst thing I can do.

That’s why every day, I am thinking through scenarios for the upcoming season. I go over things that went right last season, and things that went wrong. Spots I need to eliminate from the trips this year, and areas I need to add.

More shallow-water fishing is a must, especially since shallow water is about all we have. Or will we get rain and make the fishing completely different this year than last?

I know you’re thinking I’m obsessed, but I get paid to put people on flatheads. It’s a tough proposition. These aren’t easy fish to catch. Catching a real pig – say, 35 or 40 pounds – well, that’s like killing a Boone and Crockett buck. So what does the 2013 have in store? Hopefully big fish, and lots of them.

Are you ready? Are you going into this season dead set on doing what you have always done, because you’ve always done OK? Same gear, same technique, same baits and same everything?

Or have you vowed to make this a year of change? Is this the year you stop talking about catching a 10-pound walleye and actually get one?

Or are you going to just keep fishing for walleye in general and hope you get lucky and nab a giant? Same if you’re fishing for crappies or bluegills or carp or whatever fish trips your trigger.

There is definitely an attitude you need if you’re going to devote yourself to catching the largest fish of the species you chase in your particular body of water.

Are you ready to make that next step? Ready to become a better fisherman? Ready to finally tack that stupid big fish replica to the wall?

Better yet, are you ready to hang em’ up there and know you made changes in your game to specifically target that big fish, and it worked? That you paid your dues, did the work and it paid off?

I try to instill these thought processes into young kids in the boat. I like to get them shooting for the stars right out of the box. Why not think big and dream?

So as we kick off the “Year to Fear,” are you just going with the same old, same old, or are you going all in? Time is ticking away.

Go Catfish!

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