Happy New Year's Eve to all. It's time for the requisite review of the past year, and looking into the crystal ball for 2009.
My 2008 from a fishing perspective was one of my best ever, on a few different levels. I caught fish in 2 more states in my quest for a fish in all 50 states (Oklahoma and Iowa), went on my first family extended fishing tri with my Dad, brother, and son (Shoal Lake in Ontario), and did my most exotic trip, and one of the best trips I've ever taken - Tropic Star Lodge in Panama. I got my hoped-for trophy roosterfish - estimated at 70-75 lbs, as well as my first billfish. I ended up catching 28 different species of fish this year. So, I have nothing to complain about, only experiences to be thankful for. Here's a few of my fish from 2008
Trophy roosterfish - 64", 70 lbs. +
My first billfish - a Pacific Sail
A nice Alabama largemouth
My son Joey with a chunky Ontario smallmouth
Mississippi River smallmouth
Colorado brookie on a hopper
For the coming year, I don't have anything as exotic as Panama planned. I'm hoping to go back to my favorite pike lodge in August - Blackmur's Athabasca Lodge in far northern Saskatchewan. I'd also like to get my son down to Alabama with me in the spring - terrific bass and brim fishing. As always, I'll try to get in more fly fishing for trout, but will probably struggle to do so - Illinois is just too far from any good trout fishing, except SW Wisconsin. I'd like to knock off another state or 2 on my list. I have a myriad of new crankbaits, and love to fish them, but rarely do - I'll try to utilize these baits more in 2009.
So - right now I'm looking forward to panfish when the ice breaks, big pike in summer, and whatever else comes my way. No matter what the outcome, it shouldn't be dull.
Best wishes to all of you in 2009