Looking forward to it, I can’t wait, high hopes or it’ll be great. However it is that you put it into words, anticipation is a powerful thing. Foretaste prolongs the great feelings that accompany something perceived as good in the future, thereby increasing the personal value to the person daydreaming of whatever it is on their horizon. Ultimately, anticipation will pre-occupy your thoughts and can allow escape from the daily grind. In some cases, as the looming event nears, anticipation has even been known to be bad for whatever productivity is going on currently; it’s known as “short timer” syndrome, where focus on the task at hand goes out the window in exchange for brain power devoted to the better times we visualize for our future.

I personally love anticipation, so much so that I wrote it in as part of the Fishful Thinker mantra, to wit: “It’s anticipation, preparation, participation, and reflection” referencing the process of fishing itself. Anticipation occurs starting immediately after the decision is made to do something good, like going on a hunting or fishing trip, for instance. It could also be relevant when something tangible is coming soon, in a kid-on-Christmas-Eve sort of way. If you don’t believe in the power of anticipation, check out a 6-year-old’s mood upon waking Christmas morning.

Anticipation has a way of helping us humans pass time during less positive endeavors. Many folks work Monday through Friday, all the while keeping their sanity by anticipating the weekend fun. On a greater scale, some people use anticipation to build mental strength to survive ugly times they’re currently experiencing; that’s classically me, dealing with cold winter months.

Once the holidays have passed, hunting seasons have closed and fishing involves two foot poles and six inch holes, I find that anticipation is my ray of sunshine for the short winter days. By that time of year, the past summers fishing season seems like forever ago and while hunting seasons are just wrapping up, my inner outdoorsman is sulking like the winter sun. To be blunt, I don’t like winter weather and am not a fan of shorter days, so I smile through the power anticipation. After all, it WILL get warm and fishy again at some point.

But why am I telling you this now, in early December? Because, reflection and anticipation are always high on peoples’ minds around this time of year. Reflect back to good times outdoors, then use this to motivate you to plan new ones. Then sit back and revel in the anticipation it brings you.

This is the actual medicine that fights off the Shack Nasties. Before winter blues have a chance to set in, you can vaccinate yourself by planning trips and therefor having something specific to anticipate. The greatest thing about this is that the trips don’t even have to be far away, exotic or expensive; you simply need to have dates and destinations to look forward to. Here around Fishful Thinker World Headquarters, we plan our next season’s filming schedule in December just for this reason. By the time winter has really sunk her teeth in, I’m floating around in the La Cueva del Fishful, mindlessly whistling some tropical or road trip tune, blissfully unaffected by the snow and cold. My mind is occupied with loads of anticipation.

2019 will mark our 11th year of filming FTTV and I anticipate each new season with the same passion I did from the get-go. The difference is that, after airing 247 episodes so far, I have a better understanding of the importance of the planning process to my mental state. It’s so significant that I humbly suggest you, even as a casual weekend angler, may benefit from longer term scheduling, not because it can yield a more thorough plan, rather it will make the overall trip more valuable. In the end, you’ll spend the same amount of money to go on the trip, but you will have received more happy thoughts over a longer period of time, most of which was in anticipation.

Speaking of spending money, another type of anticipation involves getting new stuff as I eluded to a few paragraphs ago. Here again, the December timeframe is perfect in that shopping is on everyone’s list both for themselves and others. Well, all that fancy new tackle that was debuted to the press mid-summer and was subsequently flooding you with “best new products” articles and social media has now actually made it to retailers; researching and buying it now will give you lots of time to anticipate actually using it. Plus, you may be able to include it on your Christmas list, buy it with a gift card or at least score a killer holiday shopping deal.

This time of year, I’m deeply into setting up all the tackle we’ll use during next year’s guiding and filming. The new models of rods, reels, lines and lures all have to be assembled or sorted and while I realize your situation may be not require a wholesale change in tackle yearly, the concept of incorporating some new stuff into you existing arsenal will have your anticipation soaring. When you combine a few new bits of tackle and a couple of fishing trips on the calendar before year end, the anticipation alone will have you full of happy thoughts heading into the New Year!