Well, winter is here.
We've had our first real snow of the year. There was some sleet this week, too. And even some freezing rain. All the good stuff. While the folks who make the calendars may not agree, it's not officially winter in York County until cars slide sideways down the hill in front of my house.
But there's another event that is quickly becoming a winter-time tradition. When I first started penning this column some eight years ago, Keith Kaufman had a mere inkling of an idea. He wanted to beat the winter-time blues by bringing like-minded anglers together to talk about fishing. There's no better way, he figured, to break the doldrums of a cold, dreary winter than thinking and planning for the dog days of summer.
He had no idea what it would lead to. For nearly a decade now, Kaufman's annual seminar has lured a growing crowd of knowledge-thirsty anglers. For local diehards, it's a must-attend event. Like I said, it's not winter until you pack a room full of anglers and talk about what will be biting in July.
Kaufman uses his experience in the angling industry to net speakers from throughout the mid-Atlantic region. This year he will bring an expert on catching striped bass from the northern reaches of the Chesapeake Bay. If you ever wanted to learn the tricks to catching huge migrating bass in the early spring, this is your opportunity.
There will also be a guru on the stage chatting about what it takes to put a doormat-sized flounder in your cooler. It seems like the flat fish get harder to catch each year. This is your chance to put the odds back in your favor.
But the man with what will arguably be the hottest topic of the day hails from right here in York County. Dave Shindler of the Jst Fishin' guide service is one of the state's top flathead catfish experts.
He'll teach seminar attendees everything they need to know (or at least a good chunk of it) to catch one of the Susquehanna River's most sought-after fish. With a couple of 40-pound catfish hitting his boat this year, Shindler knows what it takes to land big fish.
I've watched him give several presentations over the last few years. Let's just say he knows how to warm up the crowd no matter how cold it is outside.
This will be Kaufman's eighth seminar. And like I said, they keep getting bigger and better. This year's event will be held at the Hoffman Community Building in Quarryville on Feb. 9. It starts at 9 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m.
If you want to attend, admission will cost you $25, unless you're a woman or a child under 14. In that case, it's just $15 to get in. Compared to everything else we open our wallets for in our pursuit to put a fish on the end of our lines, it's a flat-out bargain.
If you're interested in attending or want more information, call Kaufman at 284-3385. And if you decide not to make the journey to the other side of the river, don't blame me when cabin fever sets in. It looks like there's a long winter ahead.
Andy Snyder writes about the outdoors for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at sports@york dispatch.com.