Well that escalated quickly…
For only the second time in over a month, I find myself sitting down at the keyboard to update this blog. As I debated what exactly to post, it dawned upon me that September is over. And as we turn the calendar to the month of ghosts, ghouls, and (most terrifyingly of all) pumpkin spice lattes, another quarter has come and gone. And what a quarter it was…
Summer heat and Mixed Bags
As July took hold, so too did the heat of the southern summer. The torrential rains of spring now behind us, temperatures consistently flirted with 90 F as the heat index easily surpassed triple digits. Far from ideal fishing weather, it should come as no surprise that I relegated myself to the vise for most of July.
Still the itch to fish often overwhelms, and, by early August, I found myself back on the water.
Now trailing in both KFF and RSFF Mixed Bag competitions, I drew inspiration from my competitors recent exploits. Turning an eye to the diversity of sunfish close to home before returning to the salt for the first time since spring.
By late August, my annual Species List had risen to 38 including my lifer Orangespotted Sunfish and Grass Pickerel!
On the Vise
On the vise, my early efforts were focused on stocking my trout boxes as an early September visit to RMNP loomed large on the calendar. Dries, terrestrials and attractor patterns were all highlighted as eight new patterns were added to our Fly Pattern Index.
Click the images below to check out any that you may have missed.
Hurricane Ida and Its Aftermath
As is evident above, this quarterly review is largely a two-month summary. That is because life largely ground to a halt when Hurricane Ida made landfall in south Louisiana on August 29th. A Category 4 storm when it made landfall in Port Fourchon, Ida devastated a large swath of southern Louisiana.
For those of us inland, this meant prolonged power outages, roof damage and the hassle of insurance claims. For our friends and neighbors on the coast, it meant much worse. The Damage there will take significantly longer to recover from, and the lives of many in these small communities frequented by saltwater anglers will never be the same.
For those with the means, please consider donating to one of the many charities working to assist these communities as they recover. The attached picture alone shows the damage endured by more than a half dozen small businesses that have done a great deal to support the south Louisiana angling community for decades.
The Month that was and 20 September Days
While we are grateful to have avoided the devastation faced by our neighbors to the south, we still found our September largely derailed in the wake of Ida. Work became a seven-day per week affair, and our planned post-summer respite to RMNP was quickly scrapped.
In all, I managed three days off work in the four weeks that followed. Far short of those intended as the Orvis 20 September Days photo contest kicked off.
Still we made the most of those few days off, and even managed a few photo submissions as my wife documented a few of the aerobatic gar I often failed to land.
As the month’s end quickly approached, however, we were granted a much needed break in the form of a friend’s wedding. Booked long before the storm, it was a trip we would not be cancelling. And one that would allow us four days along the water.
Flying into Santa Barbara, we would head north following the nuptials. Following the CPH along the coast, we’d go as far as San Francisco.
More eco-tour than fishing trip, my 7wt was still in tow as the opportunity would surely present itself somewhere along the drive. It finally did on our final day as we made our way to Crissy Field for a closer look at the Golden Gate Bridge.
And while my catch that day was limited to a single Surfperch, my wife did what she always seems to do: Turn my mediocre fishing into a work of art.
With hours until the contest closed, I submitted her image to 20 September Days. And…for the second year in a row, one of her images made the Final 10!!!
The overall winner is decided by popular vote, so be sure to check out all of the great entries before voting closes Friday (10/8/21) at Midnight. Be sure to comment as well for the chance to win a pair of Orvis Nippers!
Update: The results are in, and our photo placed second!!! Thanks to all who voted! Here’s the link: Orvis 20 Days in September results
The Months Ahead
Fall is here, and with it should come cooler weather and longer fishing days. Work will likely remain a hindrance in the wake of Ida, but time should be more available than it has been for the past month.
With 40 species caught on the fly to date, I am admittedly well beyond my expected species total for 2021. Still, numerous targets remain on my list and 50 is almost within reach.
Among those species I will be hoping to target in the coming months are:
- Flier – Possibly my 10th Louisiana sunfish of the year.
- Chain Pickerel – I caught a few in RI, but need an LA specimen for the KFF Mixed Bag Contest.
- Alligator and/or Longnose Gar – Two gar down. Two to go.
- Shadow Bass – Still dreaming, though I may be running short on time for this guy.
- Black Drum and Sheepshead – Still haven’t found the time to target either in recent months.
Beyond this, I’ll be rooting for a return to normalcy. That means a return of regular Step-by-Step tutorials hopefully by month’s end. Until then, thank you all for reading. And best wishes to those still struggling in the aftermath of Ida.