Well another year has come and gone and without a doubt, 2017 was a year to remember. Some moments were highly memorable, and some others I’m hoping to eventually forget. However, I am still here and healthy enough to be able to do what I love.
Without a doubt, Hurricane Harvey was the lowest of the low points and worst experience we had to endure.I am sure we all know at least one person or family that was affected by it. Nearly everyone that lives on the Texas coast suffered to some extent and there are countless families that lost everything. But we are Texans and we don't fall that easily; I pray that everyone has a speedy recovery and hope that we can bounce back stronger than ever from that devastating event.
On a brighter note, 2017 gave us some spectacular fishing. I had several monumental days of chasing redfish in the shallows of the marsh (perhaps my best ever). I also made several trips to the coast during a light north wind to plug the evening away at hungry trout. Fishing on the Upper Coast this year has been one for the books, filled with memories I will long treasure.
On top of fishing, I was blessed to be able to accomplish a majority, if not all, of the goals I had set for the year. I wanted to travel more and catch a few different species that are not readily accessible in my home waters. I was lucky to check six species from my Bucket List. I was fortunate to be able to catch rainbow trout on the Colorado River in Arizona. On a side note, angler or not, if you go and see the Grand Canyon, make plans to take a trip down the river. It is a completely different aspect of the canyon experience, looking up from the river. There is no better way to appreciate the enormity of the gorge. On the angling side, just north of the Canyon, Mick Lovett at Lee's Ferry offers Colorado River fly fishing that I highly recommend. For the most part, 2017 has been a fun and exciting year and I can only hope 2018 will be half as good.
So on to the New Year and let's start it out right. As I am sitting here writing this, my new Coosa FD is on a truck leaving the Jackson Kayak factory and heading to Fishing Tackle Unlimited where I will take delivery. I am really looking forward to trying out the new peddle system design and I believe that having the “Flex Drive” is going to be a real game changer in the kayak fishing world. I know Jackson Kayak has invested great effort and ample time in the R&D stages and they are finally rolling it out. Now all I need is for the fine folks at FTU to install an anchor trolley and I'll be ready to hit the water!
January is usually the time of year when I restring all my reels, take inventory of my lures and other gear, deciding what needs to be repaired and replaced. And, since I will be making a trip to FTU for my new kayak, I might as well take advantage of the opportunity and get everything else I need. That's another reason why I love this store; they have everything you could possibly need. I will lay in a new supply of braid, plenty of hooks and split rings, topwaters, Corkys, and will likely clear the rack of 1/4-ounce Johnson weedless gold spoons. These are just a few of the essentials every angler needs to get a fresh start for the year.
This is also a time of year where a kayaker can take advantage of the low tides and north winds that come across the coast. When the water starts to drop, I highly recommend anglers to make a trip out to their favorite marsh. The reason being is because when it's low like this, you can see where the channels run through the flats and it shows exactly how the water flows. Once you get a visual of it and the water levels return to normal, this is when you can fish it more effectively. You can go back to the flats and fish the guts and channels that run through it and, in turn, catch more fish. Also if there is not enough water to make it to or through the desired pond, the fish should be stacked up in the channel leading there which will make for a fun day of fishing!
Like I had said earlier, 2017 will be a year that I will always remember. It also has been filled with learning a variety of lessons – several that came the hard way. Overall, though, it has been a great year and I am truly blessed to be in the situation that I am in. I hope that everyone has a wonderful and safe New Year filled with great memories, great friends and even better fish.Let’s start 2018 out right by getting on the water. Cheers!