This year was one for my personal recordbooks. I had many things happen that I had planned on, such as the successful one year anniversary of my blog. I had things happen that I had hoped for, such as a succession of calm, flat days offshore that were ripe for chasing big pelagic fish. And then of course I had the things that I never dreamt of, such as my stunner of a lake trout experience. Grab your preferred adult beverage, and let's think back... waaaay back...
Early in 2013, I had the chance to go try and find some redfish and/or speckled trout with a good buddy of mine. We didn’t expect much, knowing that cold waters would have the fish lethargic and deep water blind casting would be the name of the game. Boring, yes, but better than not trying at all. So we chunked fuzz in the deepwater pockets and drifted promising edges, but we might as well have stayed home it seemed. Then, on impulse, we scouted some new water over the figurative and literal hill, and hit red-gold. Boom, said the tailing redfish. In January? I know, it was a great surprise.
Then came February, and the Fly Carpin’ Fly Swap. I unveiled the Rojo Bug to the world with, admittedly, a little trepidation. Fortunately, it hasn’t seem to have caught on to the extent that , say, the Hybrid has, so I can just keep on fishing my pattern knowing no other fish is likely to have seen one. I am really looking forward to participating in the 2014 swap, assuming they let a saltwater fin chaser like me back in the proceedings.
March and April were more of a time for experimenting with writing styles for me – a poem even appeared for the first time in Salt396 history.
Ah, but May is where the goodness really began – here we begin to really get into the meat of the year, and laid flat days become something attainable. We buzzed out in a zodiac and sought our fortunes, and a cobia was landed amidst joyous, sunburnt exhaustion. I also competed in my first ever writing competition, not finding first place but learning a lot in the process. It was a thrilling experience to be among the top several entries.
Oh June, you fickle beauty. Water temperatures have stabilized around “Tarpon” degrees, and for me June is always when I jump my first of the year. Just because the water temps are stable, however, doesn’t mean that the wind and water visibility are going to cooperate. I’ve had more glum, blown out days in June than any other month with warm water temps. This contributed to me writing about combating adversity, and prompted an intro to the jetty post, which I will try to expound further upon.
July, when the real heat has started throughout the Midwest and beyond. My family decided to outsmart the warming trend and head north on a vacation, looping through South Dakota and Wyoming. Somewhere in that familial shuffle, I found time to get away for a few evenings of fishing. It was there, using the same fly that jumped my first tarpon of the year, that I caught my first lake trout in the unlikely circumstances of a quick evening jaunt. I will never forget that fish.
Then came August – another great fishing month, especially if the wind dies and we get multiple windows for running offshore. This year we saw a lot of offshore time, and even got shots at species not caught on fly most of the time. Red snapper on fly was a bucketlist accomplishment for me – another fish I’ll never forget.
Septoctbevmber passed as a blur, but even while attending classes I managed to get out - Some of those stories I haven’t even had time to tell you about yet, you lucky devil you. Some of the highlights – travel trips, one West to fish Colorado’s hidden places with a good friend, and the other headed down to fish Louisiana and find bulls by the dozen. Just you wait, Reader. 2014 is going to be even better.
- First on Fly list –
- Red Snapper
- Grass Carp
- Lake Trout
- Yellow perch
- White crappie
- King Mackerel
- Personal Bests (including all of the above) -
- Common Carp
- Black Drum
So long 2013, and thanks for all the fish!