Try these tips to get through a cold winter

Published 5:30pm Sunday, March 2, 2014

Column: Woods & Water, by Dick Herfindahl

Picture this: A warm evening breeze gently brushes your face as it pushes your bobber along ever so gently atop the ripples in the water. Suddenly, the bobber disappears out of sight, while the drag on your reel begins to scream as if begging you to set the hook. Once you set the hook, the fight is on, and you know the only thing keeping that fish on the end of your line is the drag on your reel and your ability to keep the rod tip up. Finally, after a long and successful battle with the fish, it’s in the net.

Are you as ready to play out this scenario as I am? Yes, cabin fever reached epidemic proportions for most of us, and it seems as if there is no end in sight. Well, maybe it’s time to do something about it. I find that watching any number of fishing shows can help, but the one thing that seems to ease the fever is taking inventory of my fishing tackle while visualizing in my mind when and where I will be able to use a certain lure or that jig.

With the weather seemingly mired in the never-ending funk of our recent hard winter, it’s easy to lose sight of the reality that it’s already March. Spring — for all practical purposes — is looming on the horizon. The expiration of the 2013 fishing license signifies the official closing of the 2013 fishing season. You can still ice fish for panfish and perch, but you must purchase your 2014 fishing license in order to continue to do so.

I have not been able to yet, nor have I had the desire to take that trip a few miles to the north to replenish my tackle box. That day is fast drawing nearer, but first I must inventory the tackle boxes and sort through the many old chewed on and faded twister tails I seem reluctant to part with. Each lure in my tackle box can hold a fishing memory — but plastic, not so much. The color combinations remind me of times when one certain jig/twister combo has been deadly for a certain species at a certain time, but there really shouldn’t be any sentimental value there. Yes, I am kind of a pack rat when it comes to tackle because I really hate to throw anything away. It must be my Norwegian upbringing that tells me to waste nothing. I can still hear my mother telling me, “Clean your plate. Do you know how many starving children there are in China?” I’d guess there are not as many as there were when that phrase was coined. This probably explains why my folks never threw away used nails because with a little straightening, they could be used again. Waste not want not was the motto. I think I’m on to something there, but unfortunately the old saying about old dogs and new tricks might be applicable in my case. If you want further evidence, I have a small garage cluttered with meaningless junk that is there because I needed something 30 years ago, and I might need it again in the future.

Getting back to cabin fever, I really believe that doing a little daydreaming can do wonders for a person’s mental well-being during these cold, windy winter days that we’ve been mired in. I often enjoy sitting back in the old easy chair, sipping a cup of coffee or hot chocolate with music playing and eyes closed, all the while envisioning myself sitting on a lake watching a bobber or casting the shoreline in search of that lunker that is lurking just below the safety of a dead tree branch.


Muskies Inc. to meet in March

Another good way to get ready for spring is to attend sports shows or a meeting of a sportsmen’s group like the Southern Crossroads chapter of Muskies Inc.

The Southern Crossroads Chapter 54 of Muskies Inc. annual banquet will be March 12 at the Owatonna Eagles Club. Social Hour is 6 p.m., and dinner is an hour later with fun, door prizes, raffles, a silent and live auction and lots of musky talk. The informative speaker will be Josh Borovsky. Josh is a professional guide in metro area, also Lake Mille Lacs and Vermillion. He also fishes the Professional Musky Tournament Trail. Tickets are $25 per person. Kids 12 and under are free with an adult. Call 507-456-6598 for tickets in advance or get them at the door. It is open to all. No need to be a member to attend. Bring a friend. Help improve musky fishing in Southern Minnesota.

Until next time, stay warm and do what you can to avoid the dreaded cabin fever.

Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers because they are the reason we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today.

Dick Herfindahl’s column appears in the Tribune each week.