2013 was a great year for fishing. I set several goals for myself and it was fun trying to accomplish them. Here is a list of the goals:
- Fish More with My Daughter
- Explore More Wild Streams
- A Year That Kicks Bass - Really learn my local bass waters
- Catch 7 NC Citation Fish in one year using only flies
- Tie and Use More of My Own Flies
I'm probably the most proud of accomplishing the first goal. I was able to fish several times with my daughter.
I had a lot of concern about this. Was she still too young? Would she enjoy it? Did I have the patience?
The experience was a severe test in patience and I had to reside to the fact that fishing with my daughter meant no fishing for me.
That wasn't bad but I had to admit there were times I wanted to fish as well. Sometimes we compromised, mostly when fly fishing. I'd cast and hook a fish then let her reel it in. She hated this. I'd try to tell her she caught the fish herself but she would have none of it. She only felt she caught the fish if she hooked it and reeled it in. I couldn't blame her. I would have felt the same. The times we spent on the water were some of my favorites and I look forward to our trips this year.
My goal to explore more wild streams was also based on trying to catch my first North Carolina brook trout. I had fished several waters where the fish were present in the past but never caught one.
It became more difficult than I thought it was going to be. The scenery made up for the lack of fish.
My buddy Jim joined me on many of these quests. We found some really great streams and we noticed brook trout only seemed to be in certain sections.
Finding them was always exciting and I never got tired of the hunt. This small stream trout fishing is something I will try to continue every year. The experiences out weigh the fishing. It's hard to feel anything but joy when you're on these streams.
The bass fishing this spring started with a bang.
I was catching bigger bass than I had in previous years and I seemed to be figuring them out.
At least I thought I had. Then the rain came. We had the most rain in at least 20yrs in the Triangle. The rivers were swollen and almost impossible to fish. Especially for fly fishing. It really killed my goal of fishing more local waters for bass. In the fall I had forgot about bass and looked to the mountains for fishing opportunities. I'd have to say I didn't accomplish this goal and I'm eager to work on it again for this year.
The Citation goal was probably the most difficult to accomplish. Especially without a boat. I have a float tube but I don't really count that as a boat. I'd like to blame all the rain this year but honestly it probably had nothing to with it. Catching panfish over a pound just isn't as easy as I thought. I really wanted the large mouth bass citation(8lbs or 23inches long). I never even got close. In the end I was 3 citations short of 7. I'm glad I didn't take this goal too seriously. It could have really ruined my year. It wasn't all bad. I did hook up with a fish that has been one of the most difficult for me to catch. American a.k.a White Shad have been evading me for years. The abnormal rainfall allowed these fish to run up closer to Raleigh. I knew this year was probably my best chance at catching one.
I had heard these fish were large but this one was enormous. It had to be over 5lbs. I was really happy to have accomplished this from land and with a fly rod. What this taught me though is at least where I live; fly fishing for these fish is not worth it. You really just make things overly difficult for yourself. I will still chase these fish in the spring but it will be with a spinning rod.
This year I probably tied and used more of my own flies than I ever have. It was a goal but I didn't consciously try to use my own flies it just worked out that way. I used soft hackles 90% of the time this year for trout.
I tried to get out of my comfort zone and enter a fly swap. Trevor at Fly-Carpin was nice enough to let me join his.
It was a great time and I'd gladly do it again. My fly was even featured in CarpPro Magazine. I gained more confidence in my flies as I used them more. It's amazing how many flies just work.
Maybe we think too much when it comes to what fish will eat.
The year overall was amazing. A couple other great moments was catching my first red drum
and my biggest trout ever in Utah.
I can't complain and I look forward to what 2014 has to offer. Happy New Year everyone!