A trick for keeping track of time while fishing

I know you’ll find this hard to believe, but I have a couple of bad habits that I find hard to break. I’ve talked about my propensity to procrastinate a couple of times in the past. That’s a tough one to shake for me, to be sure.

Another one is the way I tend to get lost when I am doing something I enjoy. I am talking about fishing, but when I say “lost,” I am not talking about being directionally challenged. I am talking about losing complete track of time.

How many times have I done things such as pulling my boat out of the garage and waving goodbye to my wife, saying, “Bye, Hon! I’ll be home a little bit after lunch.” When I pull back in to find an ice-cold dinner sitting on the table and an even colder Mrs. Sarley sitting there waiting, it’s a scene I try to erase from my memory.

I do this a lot. I get out there fishing, and I completely lose track of the time. My mind seems to go blank, and I never even glance at the watch on my wrist. I get so wrapped up in my enjoyment that the time of day has no meaning in my life. Be honest, my friends, admit that this has happened to you, at least once or twice.

I’ve cured myself of this little problem, at least partially. I love to pick up a rod and walk to my local housing development’s pond after dinner. If not that, I’ll take a short drive to any one of a number of ponds in the area. I’ll tell my sweetheart that I’ll be back in an hour-and-a-half or so. Of course, it is usually dark when I make my return.

I had a life-changing experience when I heard a motivational speaker talk about limits and goals. He said that he never shoots a score of anything other than par when he goes golfing. That’s right, he said he always shoots par. He went on to explain that he always stops playing after he arrives at 72 strokes, no matter where he is on the course.

Sometimes the guy stops in the middle of the 12th hole, and sometimes he finishes while in a bunker on hole No. 13, but he always stops at par and not a single stroke over. The philosophy is that he never berates himself about how badly he shoots because his score is always perfect.

Ta-da! I felt like a lightning bolt hit me when I heard this. I was going to convert this golf philosophy to my fishing. I was going to cure my bad habit of staying out too long by never again shooting over par.

What I mean is that the next evening I walked down to my pond and set a figure of two bass in my head as the magic number for me – my “par” score for the night. That’s right, I was going to fish until I caught two bass and then stop. If I caught two bass in 10 minutes, that would be the end of my night. Conversely, if they weren’t biting, I’d stay until it became too dark to fish.

That first time, I got my two bass in about 30 minutes. Since then, I’ve stopped after catching bass on each of my first two casts and have quit because of darkness or the arrival of lightning many, many times.

I don’t know if this little game I play sounds crazy to you or not. I’ve told people about it, and they look at me a little funny. I really don’t care. I have fun doing it. It adds a little bit of fun to my fishing waters that I have fished a billion times. It makes my little neighborhood outings a bit more interesting for me. Best of all is the happy look my wife gives me on those evenings when my return from the pond is only a short time after I have left home to go fishing. I invite you to try it.

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