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I think it’s a dunlin, but I’m far from sure. I’ll try to improve on that this year.

Well, we survived the holidays again. Some of us skated through with no trouble. Others got into political debates while the kids were unwrapping and are will bear the scars for some time. Some of us may not be technically “sane” for a few weeks. But however you got through, you got through, so congratulations.

Now that we’re here on the other side, it’s time for some new beginnings. New year, new start. This year, we’re also starting a new decade,* so the symbolism is even more potent. Making resolutions and wishes for the new year is an age-old tradition. Here, in no particular order, are a few of mine:

Learn more bird IDs

As a kid, I was always fascinated with all wild creatures — except birds. Don’t know why. As an adult, I’ve recognized the awesomeness of birds more (especially when we found out that all birds are dinosaurs).

And yet I’m still weak on identifying many birds. I’m pretty solid on herons and egrets, birds of prey, and most of our local songbirds. But when it comes to shorebirds (was that willet or a dunlin?) or those little brown jobbies (your various wrens, warblers and such), I got nothin’. Need to work on that.

Try new fishing spots

Like pretty much all anglers, I sometimes find myself going back to the same spots. Why? Because they’re familiar territory, and we feel comfortable there. But if you want to maximize your productivity out there, you need to find some new places to go.

Fish are always on the move. How many times have you gone to an old standby spot, caught fish, then gone back a day or two later and been skunked (or at least been a lot less successful)? I know you have. I have. Everybody has.

So you need to expand your home turf. This is my plan: Every second or third trip out, I’m going to pick a new spot and explore it for a couple hours. That way, I’m not spending my whole trip on a place I don’t know. I can fish known waters too. But over the course of the coming year, this plan will get me to check out lots of new areas. Some will be meh, but I’ll bet others become regular spots.

Make time for the range

Now that I’ve got my CCW, I definitely need to get a little more trigger time in. As has been mentioned here in WaterLine before, if you’re going to carry, you need to train. I’ve been doing lots of dry-fire practice at home, but I need to put more rounds through the gun.

I’ve also got a newly upgraded 10/22 target rifle (Merry Christmas from the wife) that I have to get to know all over again. Replacing the barrel, stock and scope basically make it a new gun, even though I’ve had this rifle since I was 18. It’s gonna be a tackdriver — but only if I find the time to practice with it.

More teaching opportunities

My alter ego, the Fish Coach, has been having a lot of fun teaching people about fishing opportunities around Charlotte Harbor for a couple years now. I’ve also done some fishing seminars for a number of fishing clubs in the area, plus our own Radio WaterLine talks and the Saturday morning clinics I’ve been putting on at the Charlotte County libraries (details in the Bulletin Board on page 8).

Now I’m looking for a few more teaching outlets, and not necessarily fishing. Wildlife education is a good time for me, especially if we’re talking reptiles. I have presentations ready to go on venomous snake identification (which you need to be able to do at a glance to maximize safety). I’m not sure if I should offer these through the library or perhaps some other venue. Any ideas?

Spend less time on Facebook

It’s part of my job to share WaterLine stories on Facebook. When I do, I often run across other interesting stories, photos or videos, and sometimes I fall into the rabbit hole. I gotta cut that out, though — it’s a huge time sink, and I really need those hours for other things. So instead, the plan is to post and then get out. We’ll see if I can manage it. I can be distracted really easily if I don’t keep my guard up.

Of course, resolutions are about as personal as anything can be. Most of mine probably won’t work for you (and vice versa), but here’s to a better us in the new year.

*If you want to be “that guy,” the new decade really starts in 2021, because there was no year 0. However, 99.94 percent of everybody has agreed the decades start in years that end in 0, meaning the first decade was nine years long. That’s fine. It’s been more than 2,000 years. Get over it.

Contact Capt. Josh Olive at 941-276-9657 or

Contact Capt. Josh Olive at 941-276-9657 or


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