2022: First Quarter Review

Time Flies…

Time sure flies when you’re having fun (…or working too much… or dealing with an aging dog that recently flipped it’s stomach). Regardless of the exact cause, the first quarter of 2022 has flown by, and we suddenly find ourselves preparing to flip the Calendar to April. Looking back at the blur that was Q1, we covered quite a bit of water…not to mention patterns on the vise. Here are a few highlights…

In the Field: Mixed Bags and Tourney Time

With the start of a new calendar year, comes a new annual species list & a new personal benchmark to beat. With an unexpected 45 species landed in 2021, I’ll certainly have my work cut out for me. I found myself off to a strong start in January, however, as a few days along the coast produced a pair of new species along with the usual suspects. Coupled with some early season panfish success, that early foray into the salt has me currently sitting at 14 species as March draws to a close.

The New Year also marked the beginning of a new slate of Club tournaments with the Kisatchie Fly Fisher’s Mixed Bag kicking off January 1st & the RSFF Jambalaya Challenge commencing a month later.

Having finished 2nd and 1st in these contests, respectively, in 2021, I’m highly motivated to maintain or improve upon those finishes in 2022. I may have my work cut out for me in the latter, however, as I currently find myself in third place behind Brian of Down South Fly Fishing and Ben of Mountains to Marsh. Brian’s 20 species(!!!) total in just under two months is particularly noteworthy.

Additional forays into the world of big bass haven’t all gone according to plan, but persistence has at least paid off with this 11″ beast taking 2nd at the FFI Gulf Coast Council’s Sweetwater Classic in early March. More recently, however, the quality of fish have improved as I landed the 18.25″ below. A personal best on the fly rod in public water, this fish gives me a nice early lead in the 2022 Massey’s Fish Pics Challenge (Fly Division). Now if only I can catch the other three species required…


On the Vise

With all the fishing (and other distractions), it has admittedly been a challenge to keep up with the tutorials this quarter. Still as March draws to a close, I count 10 new additions to our our Fly Pattern Index.

Be sure to check out any you’ve missed by clicking the associated image below.

Hackle & Hair Crawfish Step-by-StepThread Worm Fly Step-by-StepBass Bully Fly Step-by-Step
Murdich Minnow Streamer Step-by-StepClouser's Half & Half Step-by-StepSchminnow Snook Fly Step-by-Step
Hothead Damselfly Nymph Step-by-StepBarr's Dragonfly Nymph Step-by-StepGuide’s Choice Hare’s Ear Step-by-Step
Electric Chicken Fly Step-by-Step

The Months Ahead

With winter now in the rear view and temperatures rapidly warming, the next few months will likely offer some of the best fishing of the year. Frequent day trips will become the normal, and even photography outings with my wife will double as scouting missions. There are plenty of local species still to be checked off the list in 2022, and with any luck I’ll have marked off a few of the following local goals before Q2 draws to a close:

  • First Common and Grass Carp of 2022
  • First Sheepshead (I came close in January!)
  • Quality Redfish, Speckled Trout and aforementioned Sheepshead for the Massey’s tournament
  • Both invasive Cichlids in New Orleans City Park (Seriously, there are apparently two!)

Further afield, two events will highlight our second quarter excitement. First, a visit to Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula is currently on the docket for early May. While not a dedicated fishing trip, we’ll be staying on the water for the better part of a week in one of the more diverse regions of the globe. With various snapper, jack, snook and a multitude of other species available, you can be sure a Costa Rica post or two will be popping up later this spring.

Stateside, May also brings the return of The Mayfly Project’s 25 on the Fly. Back for a second year, the nationwide Mixed Bag tournament will be challenging anglers to catch everything from Brook Trout to Tiger Muskie in the same weekend. Intent to improve on last year’s 4th Place finish, I’ll be heading north to join Jake once again. Be sure to check back in late May/early June to see how we fared. Or better yet, sign up at the link above and see if you can keep pace. It really is a one-of-a-kind event, and one that every angler with a bit of a competitive streak should try.


And one last note for any of our local followers!  Keep an eye out here and on social media as Ben, Brian and I will be teaming up with a local brewery to host what we hope is the first of many Baton Rouge Bugs & Brews tying nights sometime in mid-April.

Until then, be sure to check back for some new Step-by-Step tutorials. And hopefully, a few local field reports as well.

Tight Lines

Chris


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