What’s On Your List?
December 25th, 2017 by Curtis Condon

It’s OK to dream. Dreams and aspirations are what motivate us. But if they are ever to be realized, it’s important to take the next step and act. One of my early mentors used to say the difference between dreams and reality “is doing.” So, do.
© iStock/gustavofrazao

Some people play fantasy sports. My family plays fantasy reality.

Sitting around the holiday dinner table with friends and family, the conversation almost always drifts to what I call the three Rs: resolutions, regrets and rewards.

They are not exactly bucket lists or New Year’s resolutions, more like a combination of the two. It’s an exercise in possibilities.

Here are a few tidbits we talked about the past holiday season. Maybe you can identify with or benefit from one or more of them.

  • Get out more often. Don’t just talk about it. Take time now to enjoy favorite pursuits.
  • Take that big trip. You have talked about it for years. Now it’s time to act.
  • Get organized.
  • Go someplace new.
  • Give back. Take a kid fishing, contribute to a favorite outdoor charity or mentor a Scout merit badge segment.
  • Document adventures. Never again regret not getting a picture of that trophy catch or beautiful sunset, or journaling an awesome trip.
  • Get in shape.
  • Hone crucial skills.
  • Repair, replace, replenish. Go ahead and splurge a little. Take advantage of seasonal clearance sales.
  • Don’t procrastinate. Make plans and reservations now.

Where the Fishing is Fine
Bass fishing is exceptional in Florida, even in winter. Most other states can’t say that, not to mention none can come close to Florida in terms of the number of trophy fish landed this time of year.

For best prospects, head south and look for lakes with good vegetation, such as Okeechobee, Tarpon and Istokpoga in south-central Florida. Plan to fish shallow. Target areas of vegetation or along their edges. The pros suggest using soft plastics, and topwater and swimming baits for winter success.

The 11th Essential
Unlike many people I know, a smartphone isn’t a crucial piece of my day-to-day existence. However, when it’s time for outdoor pursuits, I consider a smartphone to be the 11th essential.
A smartphone is like a digital multitool. Its main function is communications—when cell service is available—but it also supplements some of the Ten Essentials, such as navigation, first aid and even illumination in a pinch.

You can download to your phone’s memory topo maps, field guides, first-aid primers, survival tips, knot-tying demos and other useful information. Better yet, there are hundreds of apps designed to make outdoor experiences safer and more enjoyable.

What’s Special About This Month?

  • January is National Hobby Month.
  • January 5, National Bird Day.
  • January 7, Old Rock Day.
  • January 21, Squirrel Appreciation Day.

Many of Curtis Condon’s fondest memories involve outdoor adventures with friends and family, whether fishing with old school buddies, backpacking in the mountains of the Northwest with his sons, or bird watching along the Gulf Coast with his wife. He feels fortunate having the opportunity to write about the outdoors and other subjects for more than 30 years.