Submitted By: Bob Wattendorf

Another year has come and gone, and it’s time to implement your resolutions for 2015. I bet most of you have considered some of the tried and true, or tried but failed resolutions that top most people’s list. So how do you enmesh your fishing passion with feeling good about achieving your resolutions? Read on.

The TopTens website scored the following resolutions as among the most popular with Americans. Nope this isn’t my priority order, necessarily, but it is an interesting compilation.

No. 1: Enjoy life more. Well that’s a no-brainer. Just plan to spend more time on the water this year, catch more and bigger fish and enjoy bragging about it. The Outdoor Foundation reports that fishing is the second most popular outdoor adult activity (14.8 percent of adults participate) behind running. Fishing ranks third for youth and young adults (18.4 percent), with biking occupying second position.

Our tip for enjoying life more: register for free at TrophyCatchFlorida.com. You’ll instantly be in the running to win a $40,000 Phoenix bass boat package, and everytime you catch, document and release an 8-pound or heavier bass you’ll earn at least $100 in gift cards. Plus checking out the gallery will show you when, how and where anglers are catching these life-time bragging trophies. You can even like us on Facebook at TrophyCatchFlorida and share your catches with your friends.

No. 2: Stay active. CalorieCount says you burn from 170 to about 408 calories an hour fishing, depending on whether you are sitting in a boat or wading the shoreline. Want to up the calorie count and muscle burn? Try kayak-fishing, one of the most popular and fastest growing outdoor activities with a one-year increase of 28 percent between 2012 and 2013.

No. 3: Eat healthy. Anglers are among the most natural of locavores, a trend that has been growing throughout the U.S. For you linguists, “locavore” was the word of the year for the Oxford American Dictionary in 2007 and refers to people who are concerned about natural, sustainable foods that are grown or harvested locally. Fish are an outstanding source for lean, healthy protein in your diet. Many recreational species such as crappie, bream and catfish are abundant throughout Florida. The Department of Health’s fish advisories (bit.ly/FishAdvice) state, “Eating fish is an important part of a healthy diet. Rich in vitamins and low in fat, fish contains protein we need for strong bodies. It is also an excellent source of nutrition for proper growth and development. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends that you eat two meals of fish or seafood every week. While mercury in rivers, creeks, ponds, and lakes can build up in some fish to levels that can be harmful, most fish caught in Florida can be eaten without harm.”

No. 4: Get organized. This one is for me. If you’ve happened to see my mess of an office, let alone my tackle box and pick-up-stix conglomeration of fishing rods, you know I need to work on this. If you do too, check out some of the latest tackle box designs and fishing-rod socks. While you are at it, remember to ensure that your fishing- get-away kit includes sunscreen, insect repellent, water and a personal-floatation device, if you are going to be in a boat. Also, don’t forget to leave a float plan with someone who knows when you should be back.

No. 5: Learn something new. Now we’re talking! Ever met an angler who doesn’t want to learn something new, like where to go (check out the fishing gallery and map at BigCatchFlorida.com), what new lure to try, the best color for the local conditions, a new knot or technique … I am so ready to start learning some serious fly-fishing tips myself. A good place to go online for advice is TakeMeFishing.org.

No. 6: Save money. Fishing can be one of the least expensive forms of entertainment, exercise and relaxation there is. An annual freshwater fishing license (License.MyFWC.com) only costs $17, and the average number of fishing trips, per angler, per year just happens to be 17 too. Also an average trip is about four hours, so that works out to 25 cents per hour of fishing fun. To get started, a basic bream buster (a collapsible cane pole), some worms, hooks and floats can be had for around $20, and a simple spinning reel, rod and selection of artificial lures is only a little more than that. In Florida, you can normally find somewhere to fish from the shore or a fishing pier within 45 minutes of home or work.

No. 7: Do better in school and/or work. No kidding! Research shows that youth and adults who take time to relax and connect with nature are more productive in school and at work. Want proof? check out GetOutdoorsFlorida.org.

No. 8: Stop making New Year’s resolutions! Humph. Well, that would kind of defeat the purpose of this list, but then again, it might provide more time to be out on the water fishing and accomplishing all these other good resolutions.

No. 9: Help others. One of the greatest joys of fishing is mentoring others. There are lots of folks out there wishing they had some one to take them. Make a commitment to introduce an acquaintance to the sport of fishing, and don’t forget that stewardship is a big part of being an ethical angler. So you can also look into volunteering to help at a kids fishing event, lake cleanup, or with an aquatic habitat enhancement program. To volunteer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), go to MyFWC.com/Get-Involved.

No. 10: Spend time with loved ones/family/friends. So why isn’t this No. 1 on the list? Fishing can be a fabulous way to spend time with family, friends and loved ones away from the stress of everyday live. It can also help create the Next Generation that Cares about the outdoors and conservation. Nature has a tendency to soothe the soul and allow for casual conversation in between bites. Most of all, fishing is about memories that last a lifetime.

This January, check out your own personal list of resolutions and see how many of them you can achieve throughout the year by simply enjoying fishing right here in Florida – The Fishing Capital of the World.

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