Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Dozen Delightful Days

Yesterday, I recapped half a dozen specific favorite fish from 2014, so today I thought I'd highlight a few of my favorite days on the water. When I looked back, though, I had a hard time narrowing it to a few. In fact, I picked a dozen, and I'd have a hard time ranking those, which only serves to remind me what a blessing it is to get to travel and fish and write fish stories for a living. And even with a dozen stellar days listed, I could have included several others. Listing is roughly in calendar order. Where a fuller post from the day exists, I've included "Blog Post" link.

Alabama Baitcaster Crappie - TJ Stallings and I spent a crazy fun day catching giant black crappie on Road Runner Rollin' Runners matched with 4-inch swimbaits, all on baitcasting gear with 14-pound test. Most weighed 2 pounds or more. Two broke the 3-pound mark. Blog Post

Bass Crazy Hobie Day - Nathaniel and I got to spend a couple of days with the Hobie Kayaks crew, trying out boats and taking photos, and enjoyed some seriously fast action bass fishing on private waters in South Alabama. In case you've ever wondered, fishing with your son, each in your own little Hobie Pro Angler, and catching more bass than you count, is seriously fun.

Wading the White - During last year's Gaston's trip, Nathaniel and I spent half a day fishing on our own, and as much as I always enjoy going out with the guides, there was something extra fun about wading shoals straight out from the resort, picking our own spots and catching a bunch of trout on Rebel Crawfish and Minnows and Ugly Bugs. Blog Post

Dry Run Farewell - No fishing for me on this outing. It was Nathaniel's final two-hour visit to his
favorite youth-only stream in Arkansas before he turned 16, and he managed to catch a huge and beautiful brown trout.

Niagara Slam - I mentioned this day with Capt. Frank Campbell yesterday because it included a brown trout that was one of my favorite individual fish from 2014. We mostly fished for smallmouths, and I'd guess we caught 50-plus fish that range from about 3 pounds to a weighed 5-15. Then, we put a cap on the day by running up the river and adding a steelhead and a lake trout.

Deadwood Finale' - Simple and fun. Wading right through Deadwood, South Dakota with friends from Cabela's and then exploring the canyon just downstream of town and catching more than our share of beautiful brown trout. Blog Post

Smallmouths in Sight - Clear, shallow water in the Sturgeon Bay areas and loads of big smallmouths absolutely locked in. Let's just say that we put the new Ugly Stik Elite outfits to a really good test that day!

El Salto, El Grande - This is another one I mentioned yesterday because it included my biggest largemouth in several years. Often you have to choose to go after numbers or target big fish. Paul Davis of Abu Garcia and I didn't have to pick on day one of my trip to Angler's Inn, which yielded 70 fish, including my 9-2, before lunch! Blog Post

Splendid Sequatchie - One of my favorite kinds of fishing is wet wading a cool-water stream for multiple species with spinning tackle, and the day I spent with Pat Roberson was that style of fishing at it's very best. We both fished with a single lure all day, and we caught countless fish and nine different species. Blog Post

Big Snowbird Plan Change - Nathaniel and I thought our day was done before it started when a muddy dirt road prevented us from getting to the delayed harvest section of Big Snowbird Creek. We instead waded a downstream section that probably hadn't been stocked for a couple of months, but the fish were surprisingly plentiful and quite cooperative, and we had the stream to ourselves. Blog Post

Asher's Birthday Outing - Asher and I only caught 10 trout in a pretty full day, but it was his first North Carolina trout outing, and it was just plain fun spending the day together knee deep in a stream. We also were celebrating his 10th birthday, so catching 10 fish was kind of cool. Blog Post

Ice Season Start - Going back only a couple of weeks, I quickly forgot about my nine bonus hours in MSP airport after I got on the ice with Jeff Sundin and Jon Thelen of Lindy. The first crappie came moments after I dropped a line in a hole, and the crappie/sunfish action never let up. The weather was also mighty nice, for ice fishing, and it was just plain fun being back out there. Blog Post

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