This offseason may find some fishermen twiddling their thumbs in eager anticipation of spring’s arrival. However, whether you decide to take the winter months off and go through your gear, or make your home in a shanty on the ice, this brief rest period from angling can be used to prepare yourself, mentally. Today I’ve provided you with a few tips to consider this winter that I believe will help make you a better angler.

There’s no shame in using resources to arm yourself with as much information on a species, a lake, or a technique. The Internet is one such resource that is teeming with information in the form of fishing reports, forums, blogs, or websites that contain new techniques or presentations that you can use on the water. However, all the information in the world can’t make up for experience, so be sure to utilize the tactics you learn online on the water and build upon them to vastly improve your angling abilities.

Quality equipment can make a huge difference on the water. If you’ve been on the fence about upgrading to a particular type of line or hook, then it might be time to take that step. This year, finally make that switch from monofilament to fluorocarbon, or braid. Upgrade your reel to a model with more ball bearings and higher quality components and you’ll notice a huge difference right away. Perhaps even switch from lead weights to tungsten, which offer a smaller size and higher sensitivity due to their higher density.

As anglers, one of the things we learn early on is that not every day will be a great day on the water. Sometimes no matter how hard you try, what baits you throw, or how much water you cover, the fish just won’t cooperate. It’s important to not get discouraged during these times and stay persistent. These tough days allow you to learn what the fish aren’t doing which can help you improve your techniques when faced with similar situations in the future. The more persistent you are and the more time you spend on the water, will directly result in accumulating more knowledge which will over time make you a better fisherman.

There are the techniques in which you have the most confidence using and are going to be the most effective for you on the water. These are your strengths and, while natural inclinations, you should never limit yourself to them. You should constantly be challenging yourself to broaden your strengths in order to become a more complete angler. This is why you should be willing to try some new techniques the next time you get in on a good bite, and build confidence in them. You never know when a new technique could become useful on the water and becoming proficient in them and will make you much more versatile.

It can be very easy to become frustrated on the water and lose sight of the love you have for it. When you are discouraged and angry you are more likely to be distracted, lose confidence in your techniques, and lose your composure leading to a poor day on the water. By having fun while fishing you are much more likely to be relaxed and fish up to your potential. Keep the tips outlined above in your mind, and keep fun in your heart, and you’ll be well on your to a more productive and rewarding season this year!