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Make outdoors priority in 2014

Another great Christmas has come to pass. It was great to spend time with family and friends.

Lots and lots of good food – probably way too much good food – but that's beside the point.

Now it is time for those dreaded New Year's resolutions. You know, lose 10 pounds, quit smoking, save more money, those kinda things.

Whatever it is you're up to, I do hope you have enjoyed winning, or the opportunity to win some great things the last few weeks here in my column.

I have really enjoyed seeing the guesses roll in, and some of the really nice comments that have come along with them.

It is so humbling knowing some of you actually read my ramblings, and it really is wonderful hearing from you. Some of the prizes have been delivered already, and some are yet to come. So be patient, and the rest will get to you soon.

Now, this week, if you remember, was all about the young 'uns.

It was nice seeing more than 50 guesses filter in from kids age 7 all the way up to 16. What was even more impressive was how consistent and close these guesses were.

Almost 30 guesses, or about 55 percent of them, were within 5 pounds of the actual weight of this fish.

This particular pig was the first fish in the string of contest fish that was a dead-on – no ounces.

It was also the first fish that someone guessed exactly right, and the guess came from a young lady. Ms. Hannah Schultz guessed 50 pounds, and she was exactly right.

I have always told people that when ladies come fishing with me, we always catch a big fish.

I'm not sure what there is to it, but this young lady knows a big fish when she sees it.

Maybe she can also help me land a big fish in a tournament this year.

I hope she's ready to go come summer time and I can't wait to meet her at school.

One last time, thank you to all of you who participated in the last 3 weeks of contests. I enjoyed doing it, and the response was awesome.

So, I mentioned the whole resolution thing earlier.

You got any? I do. In 2013, I learned many more things while chasing flathead.

I found much great cover I had missed a thousand times before.

I can't wait to work that junk over hard. I also plan on hitting some southern Mississippi River waters for pig flatheads.

What about you?

Is it going to be the same old same old, or are you just dying to expand your fishing horizons this year?

Maybe new techniques. Maybe new waters, or maybe even a brand new species? Heck, maybe you are a pan fisherman or bass fisherman, and you want to catch a big cat just to see what a real fish fights like – just sayin'!

One thing is for certain: you're one fishing or hunting season closer to meeting your maker.

So, you really need to stop putting things off.

Make it happen this year.

Get out on the water or in the woods and enjoy being alive.

Introduce a young person to the outdoors, if that is what works for you. But stop saying you don't have time.

Make time, before there's no time. The good Lord has blessed us with many wonderful outdoor opportunities here in the Rock River valley, and beyond. Make 2014 the year you take up residence outside.

Whatever you do, I wish you all a wonderful 2014.

I hope it is filled with great moments, and you make a ton of great memories. I hope upon hope I see you on a river somewhere, as well.

So, until next year my friends ... Go Catfish!

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