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Already looking forward to next fishing season

Sometime later today, when the relatives have gone home, your house is finally quiet and you are relaxing in your favorite recliner next to your beautiful Christmas tree, you will dream ahead to the upcoming fishing season.

We who are anglers have a special wanderlust when it comes to traveling to places where we can cast our lines. No matter how many successful fishing trips we have logged in our memories, we always yearn for the next one – and then the one after that one.

Christmas is such a special time for families, friends, festivities and magical moments that accrue over the years to bring richness to our lives. It is a time to pause from our daily grinds to remember, to worship, to hug and to laugh.

Now the gifts are unwrapped, the children have calmed down from their Santa Claus high and the cookie plates are in shambles. Now it is time to savor the peace of the moment and stoke the happiness in our souls with fresh ideas for those days coming soon when we will go again to the water with fishing rods in our hands.

It is time to let the mind wander.

I see the day when I’ll tote the rods back up from the basement to be stowed in the Bass Cat’s lockers, then return to the basement several times more to lug the Plano boxes loaded with jigs, hooks, weights, plastic worms, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, topwaters and all of the other elements essential in my pursuit of gamefish.

Every year I try to pare down the tackle, but I know I’ll take way more than I need, rationalizing that an angler must always be over-prepared.

The task of loading the boat every spring may seem like busy work. But I find joy in the job. It’s the groundwork that sets the foundation for the fishing that will soon follow. It is detail that helps my mind get ready and my body to get in touch.

From my La-Z-Boy perspective, the lights on the tree and the glittery ornaments are mesmerizing. When I stare long and hard, I can see well beyond the tree out to the day when I will back the trailer down the ramp – most likely at Mosquito Lake – so the boat can slide off the bunks.

The first day on the water after the ice is gone is a true awakening. It is two-and-a-half months away, but I can see it plain as can be. That first day will be chilly, but I will not be cold. I’ll be fired up with anticipation that has built since the autumn afternoon when I readied the boat for its winter sleep.

I’ll park the trailer, step aboard the boat and zip up my flotation vest. I’ll turn the key, the Merc will ignite and I will shove away from the dock for the run up the lake that I’ve been dreaming of for months.

The lights on the tree are twinkling. The house is quiet and when I listen intently I can hear the spring peepers in the marshes around the perimeter of the lake. They are the sound of spring and the chorus in the background of each and every early spring fishing trip.

The Christmas ornaments in our house include several wooden and ceramic fish. Some are bass, one is a pike and another is a walleye. As I daydream about the first trip of the new season, I can imagine hooking up with one or more of the real fish that the ornaments represent.

It’s still Christmas, but I like to look ahead. And this magical season is the perfect time to start getting back in the mood for the magic of fishing.

Jack Wollitz’s new book, The Common Angler: A Celebration of Fishing, seeks to explain the “why” behind our love of fishing. He enjoys emails from readers. Send a note to jackbbaass@gmail.com.

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