Wow, another year is almost over. It seems now as if 2011 went by awfully fast. I’m convinced that the passage of time accelerates as one grows older. At least it seems that way.

So as usual, at this season I’m thinking about the fishing I did in the recent past, and the fishing I hope to do in the coming 12 months. Oddly enough, perhaps, and despite various trips to far-off places, the most plain fun I’ve had in fishing lately has been close to home.

Simpler is better, or so it seems in retrospect. For one thing, fishing close to home is pretty much free of hassles. Whether it’s bass (as in the photo) or trout, pike or panfish, the fishing nearby is generally productive and easy to get to. Airline travel, whether to a fishing destination or for any other reason, has become complex, daunting and expensive. I put my head down when I have to and put up with all the aggravation, but it’s always an ordeal.

Second, and again as I think back, I’ve learned the most about fishing over the years from local fish. Yes, fish are the best teachers. You watch how they behave and how they react at different times, and pretty soon you’ve learned some things. Apply the same thing over a long time period, and you’ve learned a lot. All of the foregoing is more easily accomplished in the familiarity of local water.

One of the things I enjoyed the most last year was watching a bluegill suck down my little flyrod popper or having a pumpkinseed yank my bobber underwater. No great drama here; just laid-back fun. So next year I’m resolved to do that more often. I pretty much neglected my friendly local trout rivers and creeks in favor of more distant waters. That was a mistake that I fully intend to correct in 2012.

I do have some trips planned for next year, but they don’t seem as important or compelling as they once did. I’m more convinced that when it comes to fishing, there’s no place like home.

This is my last posting before the holidays, so I want to wish a Merry Christmas to all of you. And thanks once again, and most sincerely, for reading.