Nearly fifty degrees, with occasional cloud cover created the best conditions in weeks to be on the water. The winter sun was at my back and the run in front of me was bookended by a steep strong riffle and a deep pool along a meander. Emerald green water flowed through the run, indicating a depth of water that provided cover for holding trout. It was deep enough that I added an indicator at the sighter of the mono rig. I hung up on the bottom with the first drift, so I moved the indicator down the tippet approximately six inches. Taking a deep breath, I reset my feet and cast upstream, flicking my wrist at the end of the cast to hinge the tippet in line with the indicator. The fly and indicator landed in a seam that would drift adjacent to a large, submerged boulder. I started an anticipation count in my head, “1, 2, …”. I didn’t get to three.
I set the hook and felt a strong fish pull and head shake. The last trout of 2022 was a beautiful brown trout, caught on a mop fly. I fished for another hour without any strikes and fish landed but was lucky enough to run into my friend Mark. He and I caught up about the holidays, our holidays, and wished each other a Happy New Year. My conversation with Mark was a great way to end my fishing in 2022.
Looking back at the year of fishing reminded me of wonderful moments and some lessons I need to make sure not to forget. I was lucky enough to fish 62 days in 2022, in streams in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. My time on the water produced a higher catch rate, faster knot tying, hours of enjoyment and peaceful moments. I catalog my fishing sessions by taking photographs and on occasion, I will take notes, especially if I spend time with a guide or have observations or learning moments I want to document. This year I was lucky to be guided by Bill Dell of Troutbitten. Bill’s knowledge and patient teaching of how to read water and use nymphs and streamers more effectively helped me grow as an angler. I also was lucky enough to fish with Dr. Stephen Wright, who shared his dry fly fishing and fly tying knowledge with me.
Reviewing my catalog of photos brought back great memories of trips to the Catskills, central Pennsylvania, the Finger Lakes, fishing the Chesapeake Bay, Vermont, and volunteering for the City Catch event with Trout Unlimited. Time spent watching my children’s events such as band performances, soccer games, cross-country meets, dance performances, and basketball games were also a highlight of 2022. I also wrote a book! Writing The Mend took quite a bit of time and energy, and I am proud of the accomplishment.
On a sad note, our family lost our dear friend and companion Dublin in August. Thoughts of him still bring tears to my eyes and I miss him. We welcomed a new family member after Thanksgiving, our new dog Finley is a loving boy who we adore and are working on training and helping him settle into our family.
Looking forward to 2023, I believe in setting goals to make the most of my time. Zig Ziglar, author and motivational speaker, said, “If you aim at nothing, you hit it every time.” Working towards a goal keeps me motivated and accountable. For work and personal growth, I have set goals since graduating from college, and it has helped me keep focus. Here are my fishing goals for 2023.
- Fish in five different states
- Fish at least ten new streams
- Fish over 60 times during the year
- Fish spinner falls at least five times
- Improve my wet fly and streamer technique
- Tie at least a dozen flies a week
- Fish the Shad Run
- Maintain my health through more exercise to prolong time on the water
- Fish more with friends and family
- Start another novel
If I can achieve these goals, 2023 will be a great fishing year. I will keep track and hold myself accountable to grow and spend time on the water. 2022 was tremendous, even with some struggles at different moments throughout the year. Thank you all for supporting Fly Fish Mend in 2022 and I hope to provide even better content in 2023.
One Reply to “Looking Back at 2022 and Looking Ahead to 2023”
Thank you for your blog and the man you are.