We eagerly anticipate a new year ahead, but in February time on the water – wading, paddling, fishing – seems very far away. February is a good time for thinking and planning. Here is something to ponder: If you don’t have a place that you feel in your heart is your “home water” – it’s time to find one.
What is “home water”?
The term “home water” has been used by fishermen for generations, but its meaning extends beyond fishing. Its “home” in the sense that you know it well and you feel comfortable there, and to know “water” you’ve been in it, on it, or around it so much that your connection with it runs deep. If you’re a paddler, you can paddle effectively in all conditions and know what to expect from weather, wind and waves. If you’re a fisher, you know where and how to catch fish in all conditions. If you’re a wildfowler, you know where the ducks like to land on a sunny 30 degree day with a west wind.
When you’re on your home water, you don’t need a guide.
Why is it your “home water?”
The place is your home water because of the time you have spent there, the people you have shared it with, the experiences you have had there. Making it “home” takes time, but once you have, there is no place where you feel more comfortable.
Where is a “home water”?
It is easiest to spend time on water nearby, and for many people their home water is close to their physical home. But you may spend more time on water further away – perhaps a regular vacation destination. It may be water where you spent a lot of time when you were young, even if you only get there occasionally now.
How does it become “home”?
Wade it. Camp beside it. Fish in it. Paddle on it. Over and over, again and again. Visit it even when you don’t have time to launch a canoe or get out your fishing gear. Visit it when it’s covered in ice. Share it with friends and family. It becomes home – you know it and feel it when you are there.
If you don’t have a place that fits this description, or if you’re new to wading and paddling activities, start doing some “home shopping” in 2021.
We’ll check in with some ideas along the way.