December 31, 2016

Troutrageous 2016 Year In Review

2016 was kind of an interesting year. Probably not one I will put on a pedestal, but not a horrible one either. Yeah, some things didn't work out the way they were supposed to, (draw your own conclusions with that statement), but in keeping with my "glass half full" outlook on life, there were a lot of super rad things that happened too.

The blog published 112 posts and went through a few identity changes, (probably not done with that yet). I don't think that's too shabby in terms of conjuring inspiration coming from a guy that is probably doing less and less fishing each year. But it's all about quality over quantity, and there was a ton of quality in 2016. Below are a handful of my favorite posts, those that summarize the year at a glance.

2016 started out well with the annual trip to chase shad on the St. John's River with Captain Rich Santos. Not only did we get into some shad, but I also caught my first "Sunshine Bass" hybrid. Rich is an excellent guide, and an equally capable photographer. I was happy he took so many photos to document the outing.

As a family, we did our fair share of exploring Florida. We're still relative newcomers, so there are plenty of things to see and do right in our own backyard. We visited a ravine, a lighthouse, went to Bass Pro, a wax museum, and even hopped on an airboat! Florida's beaches are great, but there's just so much more to see and do.

May was a fairly busy month, and believe it or not, I actually got a lot of trout fishing in! The month started off with a weekend in north Georgia chasing down some small stream rainbow trout. I really like that part of the Southeast, I need to make a point to get back more often. The end of May was just as good with a flight out to Wisconsin for the Midwest Tenkara Fest. The camaraderie was superb and the fishing was even better! Absolutely love the Driftless.
Wandering Back To The Driftless Part 1, Part 2, & Part 3

As I mentioned earlier, we adventured in Florida a little bit in 2016 as a family, however, we didn't stay in-state for our July summer vacation. Instead, we headed West, and did a nice multi-day bus tour of several of our National Parks. Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, & Grand Teton were the highlights, with several fun and interesting stops in between. The sights were absolutely unbelievable!

Not all of the year was spent traveling. Two of the more popular posts I wrote for the blog had nothing to do with fishing trips, vacations, or anything like that. In the first, (which I'll admit is a bit of self-pity post), I lamented the lack of trout in my Southern locale. The second simply highlighted the tenkara rods that I own/fish, because everybody likes a gear post.

Finally, October brought the Tenkara Jam in Cherokee, North Carolina. It was quite possibly my favorite fishing trip of the year because I not only got to pursue the wild trout of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park while it was in its beautiful fall colors, but I got to represent Tenkara Angler magazine at the Jam, really the first time the magazine went "on the road" to an organized event. I caught fish, saw old friends, made new ones... It was just awesome.

Now there were plenty of other things that took place on the blog in 2016, but in the interest of time, (I feel I've already overstayed my welcome), I'll leave it at that. I hope all of you are able to look back at your 2016s and pick out all of the fun, happy, and awesome moments too. Even if you didn't catch all the Pokemon fish, I know you had fun trying.

Happy New Year!

December 29, 2016

The Quest For The Ultimate Fly Fishing Kayak - The Jackson Mayfly

It's been a while since I've highlighted new options for those seeking the perfect kayak to go along with their favorite fly rods, but I was reminded on Facebook (I think by Drew Ross) of the new Mayfly from Jackson Kayak.

The Mayfly made its debut at this year's ICAST/IFTD show and is now shipping to dealers across the country. Unlike many of the other kayaks & SUPs highlighted in this series of TQFTUFFK posts, this kayak is designed specifically for fly anglers.

Per the Jackson Kayak website:
"Based on the highly versatile hull of the Coosa HD but with better tracking and even more stability, the MayFly is a fly fishing oriented sit-on-top. Designed for a variety of destinations including tropical flats, slow-moving rivers, lakes and ponds. Recognizing the unique challenges faced by fly fisherman, particularly line management, the MayFly includes myriad design aspects to address the needs of fly fisherman creating the ultimate kayak fly fishing platform. Snag-free footrests and features, protected fly box storage, rod butt props for dealing with tangles, integrated and protected fly patches, and more cater to the high-performance features expert fly fisherman need while being versitile and stable enough to bring new kayak fly anglers into the sport."
I know when I take my 'yak out I tend to get my fly line hung up on pretty much anything and everything onboard, so whatever manufacturers like Jackson are doing to help alleviate that bit of user error sounds like a fantastic idea to me!

A few final specs for those of you who like numbers:
  • Length: 12'8"
  • Width: 35"
  • Capacity: 450-lbs
  • Weight: 83-lbs
  • MSRP: $1899

Hmmm, very interesting...

December 27, 2016

When In South Florida...

I guess do what the other tourists do...  
Hop on airboats and go to alligator wrestling shows, right?

Sounds like a plan. 

My mother-in-law was extremely excited all holiday weekend to go visit Everglades Holiday Park, which is a tourist trap if I've ever seen one, but still full of fun stuff to do at the same time.

The main attractions are alligators, and you can view them in many ways. The first way was an airboat ride through the Everglades. We didn't see a lot of gators "in the wild" on our hour boat ride, but the two we did see swam right beside the boat, so that was pretty neat.

After the airboat ride, we also had the opportunity to watch an alligator wrestling show. The "Gator Boys" of television fame have a small alligator pit behind the Holiday Park gift shop. 

Paul Bedard, easily recognizable from the Animal Planet series, put on about a 20-minute show, teaching everyone about alligators, particularly how nuisance alligators are dealt with in Florida, and showing some pretty interesting handling techniques.

Finally, my mother-in-law really wanted to get her picture taken with a baby alligator. Everybody else in the family wanted to leave. Lilly wanted nothing to do with touching alligators. I ended up going with her for the photo. She got to hold her gator, I held an albino boa. 

It was my Britney Spears VMA moment, and also an excuse to post this photo.

In the end, it was pretty fun afternoon. Not sure if there would ever be a need to go back again, but definitely one of those attractions worth stopping by once. If you're ever planning on being in South Florida, you can learn more about Everglades Holiday Park HERE.

December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

No fishy photoshops this year, like THIS, THIS or THIS, just some Holiday wishes & cheer to all of my friends and readers out there.

Thanks for sticking around what was a fun, albeit far from a banner year for the blog. Really looking forward to bigger & better in 2017!

December 24, 2016

Florida State Record Mayan Cichlid

Appears the vacant Florida state record for the (invasive) Mayan Cichlid was filled at the end of November by an angler named Jonathan Johnson.

Mr. Johnson's 2.37-pound catch is an impressive feat. I've caught a few Mayan Cichlids while visiting my in-laws in Boca Raton and I'm not sure if any of them even approached a pound.

One of my palm-sized Mayan Cichlids from a few years back
More about the Mayan Cichlid from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission:

The FWC made the Mayan cichlid, a nonnative species from Central America, eligible for state record status in 2012. But, the record has remained vacant until now. The Mayan cichlid was first reported in Florida in the early 1980s. During the mid-1990s, the fish began expanding its range and has become common throughout south Florida’s freshwater lakes and canals. Both local and out-of-state anglers target the now-popular fish using methods similar to those used for sunfish. The bright red coloration and scrappy disposition of the Mayan cichlid when caught caused FWC biologists to nickname it the “atomic sunfish.”

Coincidentally, I'm back in Boca Raton for the holidays, so maybe I'll give that cichlid record (or some of the other state freshwater marks) a challenge.  On tenkara of course (ha!)  - that'd be pretty cool.

Probably not gonna happen, but doesn't mean I can't break a few rods trying...

December 20, 2016

Tenkara Angler Magazine: Winter 2016-17

I'm pleased to announce the Winter 2016-17 issue of Tenkara Angler magazine has hit the virtual newsstands!

I'm not 100% sure, but I think this is the largest group of contributors to date. Twenty-four different submissions in all, with a great mix of new names, and usual suspects.

Being a winter issue, there's a really nice mix of content to keep your fishing juices flowing, even if it's frozen outside. Fly tying recipes, tips to stay warm on-stream in the winter months, tactics to chase salmon and smallmouth, destination travel, an interview, a discussion on honoring the definition of tenkara, a hat shopping adventure, as well as thoughtful essays and playful art. Oh, and at least one typo I found, but *exhale* that's okay. :)

The Winter 2016-17 issue of Tenkara Angler magazine can be found for free online consumption via Issuu HERE, or for those of you that prefer something in-hand, for physical purchase HERE.

Happy Holidays!

December 4, 2016

Video: Cadeau Nives 2017

I'd love to get out trout fishing right about now. But it's just not the time. I've got stuff to do, and the water is a bit out of reach. Instagram and the Prisma app's been a nice diversion, but just isn't getting it done.

However, French guide Brice Sylvain recently dropped this little video to Vimeo. The beginning is a quick slide show, but then it goes into some nice footage of brown trouting. So let's spend some time watching that today. I mean even if you can't get to the water (like me) who doesn't love to daydream? Enjoy!