Dec 28, 2010

The Best of What You Missed - 2010 Edition

2010 is nearly over and what a year it was. Looking back, this was a pretty good year and I've accomplished a great deal. I landed a personal best large mouth, continued my evolution as a fly angler, purchased a kayak and caught a potential record fish. This blog picked up some readers along the way, so here (my 90th post of the year) is a quick recap: the best of what you missed....

I kicked things off with a doozy. Evolution of an Angler or Art on the Riverbanks is an introspective look at what it means to seek a mastery level of angling. I explored how my fishing life has progressed through different phases, much like many of us. In the end I discovered something about myself. My conclusion may leave you scratching your own head.

In January, my Little Boat Library expanded by one with the purchase of a Native Mantra Ray 11. The sit-on-top kayak ranks above all other angling related purchases I have made. The yak is light enough to handle without help and fits in the bed of my truck. I loved the flexibility this boat gave me so much the aluminum Starcraft never left this garage in 2010.

With purchase of a kayak, I was once again forced to navigate the complicated process of licensing a boat in Illinois. This was my third time through the system and the myriad of forms, protocols and regulations was fraying my last nerve. The situation left me with a new appreciation for the Department of Motor Vehicles, where the lines are long and the workers unfriendly. Based on the comments, I'm far from being alone with my frustration.

By March, I was once again beginning to believe the world would thaw. I took an opportunity to scope out an urban creek in my town and was disappointed to say the least. The only ripple I saw could have been either a fish rising or a bird crapping...tough to say for sure. It also wasn't the last time I saw a No Trespassing sign this year. This one left me wishing for a lookout.

1 - A fish can not be considered caught, and therefore added to the official daily tally, until... In April, I wrote a post outlining some basic rules to determine if a hooked fish is also a caught fish. In this post I set forth The Rule, which decided at least one "big fish contest" this year. Little did I know this post was destined to become the post most capable of generating organic traffic to this site. Who knew there were so many people Googling "how to know if you caught a fish?" The answer is plenty.

After months of rumors and murmurs, I recieved an interesting visitor to this page. The visitor was from Springfield, MO and had arrived after searching "central Illinois fly fishing." The hit led me to speculate that Bass Pro Shops was serious about setting up shop here. About a week later they officially announced the location of a new store: East Peoria, IL. I know it's not really that exciting, but I felt pretty good about getting advanced warning.

Dave and I stumbled blindly into some unknown water and had a great time with ultra-lights and a load of eager fish. The experience caused some reflection on how an angler approaches new water and eventually masters it. This one is all about what you know and what you don't.

I used my 200th post to do the first ever (as far as you know) text message recap of some great fishing. The exchange between Scott and I occurred in the middle of some serious topwater action: me catching 6 fish in a half hour. I think it really captures the excitement of the moment. That outing ended with me receiving the best outdoors man's tip ever....
5:52pm - Clif: [picture message fish #2 shown above]
6:10pm - Scott: Not too bad
6:11pm - Scott: U need over 4 lol

On my last outing, I met Randy. Randy changed my life; he handed over the best tip ever for dealing with those pesky buffalo gnats. If you have ever experienced their tiny bites and tenacity you know what I'm talking about. Be warned: it is best to avoid the glitter variety.

The fourth annual Toothless Beaver fishing trip to Lake Delavan, WI was a huge success this year. Multiple lunkers over four pounds were landed, including my personal best of 5.1 pounds. This fish loved my big ten inch and prompted the first Lunker Alert.

In August I let this fish go but kept a thought in the back of my head. After I got home, some internet research revealed I had released a potential Illinois state record fish that day. Why it was a potential record is not the reason you may guess, but this day kicked off a record fish quest to continue in the new year. A couple weeks down the road and I hooked another potential record, but let it go due to foul hooking.

In September I had a chance to throw flies at big dumb trout. When I say big, I mean BIG. Think 4-6 pounders stacked shoulder to shoulder and eager to eat anything that moved. These fish live in a pond where fishing is normally not allowed, but it was opened for one day of pure unadulterated awesomeness. It was a great experience for a good cause and left me wishing Illinois had better trout fishing prospects.

On election day I was steeped in disenchantment, so I perked myself up by sharing a video from my brand new Kodak PlaySport camera. The fishing that day was terrible, but I now own an HD camera...but no HD television. Someday I'll have some sweet fish fighting/landing/releasing footage to share, but this will have to do.

In late November I was given the opportunity to review a great product. RIO's new smallmouth bass fly line was given to me free of charge, all I had to do was try it out and let you know what I thought. Click on the picture to find out what I thought.

In December I was feeling a touch under the weather and had a bit of that other feeling we all get in the winter time. You know, I was feeling like I had to get out and do something. Instead, I posted the strangest thing I've done all year and no one was quite sure what to think about it.

Still feeling crumby and confined, I took advantage of a vacation day to complete a vile task and write another odd post. The task for the day: washing those dirty fishing shorts I wore all year. It normally wouldn't be to bad, but this was their first washing of the year.
Smells like fish

And finally, I ended the year by offering a couple hand carved bass bugs up as a give away. That contest is still ongoing (until Jan. 7th) and you can click here to enter.

So there you have it. 2010 is in the books and I'm quite happy with it. Stay tuned to see what I aim to accomplish in the next 365...


  1. That big bass from Delevan is what I remember the most from reading your blog this year, the wife bought me the playsport for christmas this year and I'm loving it. Looking forward to the next 365 from you Clif!

  2. Nice year in review Clif. I enjoyed reading your first post from '06. No snarky comments out of me tonight.

  3. I should probably clarify my previous comment...I read your post, and then your "Neverending Story" post, which took me back to your first one. But then again, you probably would have figured that out...

  4. @blake: Me too, me too

    @T-Rage: Yep, that first post contained some riveting journalism.


Clif reserves the right to delete your comment if he is so inclined, but he is a pretty liberal guy so post away and see what happens.