Six years! I can't believe it's been that long.
Season #6 was the year my cast improved 1000%. Anxiety about Beaver Island forced me to learn the double haul and practice it. Sure, I still get caught in trees. Sometimes my line takes a sharp left (WTF?). Sometimes I take too many false casts and it all falls apart. But most of the time, I can now fire that line out there in a way I never thought possible in Season #1 or #3. Or even #5.
Look at that loop!...
Season #6 was a season of new species. My goal was to add one - a white bass - to the species list. I didn't get the white bass, but I did get 4 other new new species - a sucker (might actually have been a golden redhorse, according to roughfish anglers with much more experience than me, but I'll never know for sure), a sauger, a walleye and a king salmon.
The sucker was definitely the most exciting new species. I researched and scouted Minnesota sucker runs all spring with no success. Water levels were raging or I couldn't find them or I just couldn't get them to eat. We were just about to call it quits this summer day when I FINALLY got this one to eat. I flopped it, screamed, manage to recover it from the weeds like my life depended on it and finally got my picture. I may have even done a little dance upon release of that fish. Those I was fishing with did not understand my excitement. I don't care. Rough fish rule.
The sauger and the walleye were both on the same day. On my favorite river. They were miniatures, but they still count. Have I mentioned I love this river? Never know what you might catch.
The king salmon was this fall while attempting to get my first steelhead. Have I mentioned steelhead are the supreme piscatorial assholes? I give up on them. But I digress. The salmon was the second fish this season to jizz all over me. This carp was the first. Look at those waders!...
I digress again. Back to the zombie salmon. Purists may scoff. It was half dead and I caught it nymphing an egg, but it was a hell of a fun fight.
Season #6 was also one for personal bests. All on the same trip. For the full trip see Part One, Part Two and Finale.
Season #6 was full of beautiful bass. I never, ever, ever tire of them.
And then there was the one accidental trout...
My best catch, however, was this guy...
He asked me to go carp fishing, proceeded to outfish me (one time!) and pretty much stole my heart that day by the dam. He talks like a zombie salmon until I almost pee my pants. He makes me guacamole when I'm hungry. He gives me flies he meticulously ties, even though he knows I'll lose them within the hour. He anticipates my anxiety and helps me through it. He knows all my shortcomings and likes me anyway. I can finally be exactly who I am. Does this mean I need to change the name of the blog?
Season #7 starts in 3 days with a little winter trout trip with the guy who got me on my very first fish. Also looking forward to a spring smallie trip with my favorite guide.
2 simple goals for 2017:
1. Catch a gar
2. Learn how to cast a two-handed rod
2016 was amazing. Fishing life, personal life. All of it. I always wondered when my life might start the upswing. I think that time is now. I'm such a lucky girl.