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The onset of winter is near! What am I going to do to keep myself occupied until spring? The boat is out of the water and all winterized, covered like a little baby, just awaiting the first spring thaw. Everything that needed attention and preparation for the cold season has been taken care of or has it? Probably the most important consideration of all has been overlooked, a plan of action to prevent the onset of a sportsperson's worst winter enemy, "cabin fever". This condition is due to an excessive amount of time spent indoors with nothing much to do or even worse, things to do that you hate doing. If you are like me or at least like I used to be, the lack of a plan is what lets the disease catch up to you. It is no different than normal disease prevention, steps must be taken to prevent catching it. I used to get caught by getting distracted with the holiday season. When the fishing season ended, preparation for the winter holidays kept me busy and jolly..."Ho, Ho, Ho". Soon after however, I found myself increasingly irritable, and before I knew it I was totally bummed out, hating the thought of more than two months of waiting for the next fishing season, cabin fever struck! I finally realized that I could not take another winter of the same mental anguish. It seemed to me that I must develop a plan of action and I did. I set very specific goals, listed them in order of personal interest and importance, and even set up a calendar planner for activities. Once I had set these goals and made plans, I then had things to look forward to. This process, at least in my case, has proven to be the best preventive action that can be taken. Hopefully it would also work for you if you experience similar anxieties.

A number of the things that I have included in my disease prevention program should be of universal interest and importance to the sportfishing population. Perhaps if I mention a few, it may help you to develop a plan of your own. Loving to fish as I do, my first consideration is to plan fishing trips. I try to go on a cod trip on one of the open boats out of Captree at least once a month, weather permitting. I set up a special duffel bag with all the fishing equipment and clothing I might need for such a trip and have it all ready to go. Of course I made up a special 8ft. cod rod that I wrapped myself. Nothing fancy but it gets the job done. Something you might consider is building a bunkerspoon trolling rod. These rods cannot be purchased from commercial rod manufacturers but are specialty rods that must be custom crafted. They are very expensive and cost somewhere between $250 to $400 apiece. Why not build one or two yourself and save at least $100 per rod? They really make the spoon more effective and the bass are certainly there to catch. You might consider making a few rods; it can be a lot of fun, a great winter project.

I also made a point of trying my hand at white perch fishing in the tidal streams and canals in my area. I had heard a lot about this fishing but never set my mind to trying it. I finally did and found it very rewarding and easy to do. I purchased a fairly inexpensive ultralight Penn spinning outfit and basic terminal gear at the local tackle store. With a little advice from some friends and fishing articles I had read I set out to give it a try and did quite well. As long as the ice is not excessive, it is a perfect time filler for a couple of hours. Just jump in the car, head for the local creeks and make a few casts. It gets you out of the house, into the fresh air and sometimes may even provide a meal of fresh and very tasty fish. If my budget permits, I plan a fishing excursion for a few days in Florida or some other warm and inviting southern oasis. My budget rarely allows for such a trip, but when I must travel south during the winter to visit relatives, I at least set up a one day fishing outing with one of the local guides in the area I am visiting. I have also found that the winter provides the time for me to sit down and do some writing. I try to set aside a specific day and time each week just for writing. Not that everyone might enjoy writing, but as sportfishing enthusiasts we have a responsibility to let ourselves be heard by the people that govern and influence our sport and our lives. Writing to local, state and federal representatives of government, and organizations that deal with the environment and fishing regulation is a most important activity.

In addition to the things that I have already mentioned, I have also become involved in a number of other activities that keep me active during "cabin fever season". In recent years I have become more active in hunting. Waterfowling, bow and pistol hunting for whitetails, and target shooting keep me busy all fall, winter and spring. These activities may not be for you but I have found them very rewarding. If your therapy requires some additional activity give hunting a try, you might like it. I also plan my calendar so that I can attend as many of the fishing related shows, exhibits and seminars. The New York National Boat Show, the Long Island Boat Show, the New York Sportfishing Federation Forum are just a few of the events on tap for this year. I will be at most of the shows. Looking forward to seeing you at these events and hope you are feeling "healthy".

Good Fishing, Capt. Al Lorenzetti Al Lorenzetti 1994


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