As I sit here and type this at the island in my kitchen it is halfway through January and I am just getting to post my year in review for 2011. Winter has arrived and life has been busy. I haven't even had time at the bench. Yesterday was a forced family fun day. Many errands were ran and items of necessity obtained. A power point for work was worked on yet again. Today was a clean the basement and deal with the clutter kind of day. I am beat. The wife is beat. The kids are pissed cause we made them help and ruined their day. Whatever!
Needing to catch up on my log book, I thought I would take a look back at 2011. One of my New Year's resolutions for 2011 was to spend 100 days on the water. Checking facts and statistics, I can honestly say I didn't even come close. I made it out for a total of 26 days in 2011. I will say that on seven of those days, I had both day and evening sessions. This made for a total of 33 fishing trips during those 26 days. While some of the blame can be placed on work, a large majority of the blame goes to the weather. It rained, or so it seemed to me, more than it had in the last couple of years here in Maryland. Maybe it was just that it rained on my days off. Who knows?
I managed to bring to hand quite a variety of fish species in both cold and warm water. I was lucky enough to land the following: bluegill, rainbow trout, brook trout, brown trout, tiger trout, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, catfish, long eared sunfish, red eyed rock bass, crappie, warmouth, fallfish and yellow perch. I spent time with old friends, met new friends and was there for my daughter's first fish on the fly rod. I did lose my work camera, take a spill a time or two (or twenty), and lose more fish than I brought to hand. The wife and I managed to get to Harman's twice and I was able to give salt water fishing a go! Damn, I forgot to count my saltwater fish and trip! That would bring me to 28 days on the water. Despite what was an epic fail regarding the amount of time on the water, it was a great year. J & M Flies took off so to speak and we are now branching out. I need to get a total from the wife as to how many flies we have sold.
So here are the totals for the fish. In 28 days of fishing, I managed to land 692 fish. If you are wondering, how I know this, it is because I keep a log book and document my outings. It is worth its weight in gold as I often go back and see what I was using fly wise in years past and when the fish were most active. The fish are broken down as follows:
Red Eyed Rock-27
Looking at the numbers and species, it is clear that I am a warm water fly fisherman through and through. Welcome to the dark side! However, I will admit that chasing the trout has its own appeal from time to time. Watching those browns and rainbows rise to the size 18 spinner I was throwing at them at Harman's was heart stopping. God forbid they refuse it! They can be some very challenging and frustrating fish to chase with a fly rod which I know is why we do it. For those that don't understand this, wait until you are hip deep in a stream with trout sipping and gulping insects all around you but your fly. The you will understand. Brookies are by far my favorite trout. It was a shame that I only chased them twice in 2011. I hope to change that in 2012. I would like to get back to my roots regarding the brookies. I found that chasing them in the mountains was more rewarding, and a hell of a lot more fun than say bows or browns. It also improved my casting given the small stream setting with a ton of underbrush and trees about. For warm water fishing nothing beats the smallie! They are my favorite. I am sad to see and know that I only brought 51 to hand. I saw more people on the water I fish this year with a large percentage of them taking fish home with them. I watched one individual take a 8 inch smallie home and I asked why. The answer was because he caught it and it was a bass. I really just don't get it. I would also like to catch more red eyed rocks. They are my second favorite warm water fish. The river in which I do most of my fishing was polluted badly in the 80's and 90's. Only now is it starting to come back and seeing these fish who thrive in clean environments does my heart good.
Well there you have it. My year in review for 2011. I sincerely hope 2012 brings me more fish to hand and more days on the water. So how was your year and what are your plans for 2012?