Hopes and dreams dance on the horizon as we stare into the dawn of the unknown. New chapters wait to unfold while little mementos of lessons learned wait to guide us in the decisions we make and chances we take...
... or don't take. I didn't spend quite as much time on the water, nor catch as many fish as I did the year before, but 2012 still ranks as one of my best angling years to date. As someone who is driven strongly by individual goals, part of me feels a slight twinge of disappointment but the other side of me revels in unexpected accolades.
My main desire was to catch 6 saltwater citations of different species from the kayak to join the rank of only one, Kayak Kevin, as "expert angler" from the Virginia Saltwater Tournament. I managed 6 citations in 4 different species (sheepshead, red drum, speckled trout and striped bass). In my opinion, it's one of the hardest challenges on a kayak (in VA) and it will remain at the top of the list for 2013. Also remaining high in priority is tagging. The kit got left behind for several trips, but for my first year I like to think 198 tagged with several recaptures was a pretty good start.
With the help of some ingenious YakAttack accessories paired with a couple GoPro cameras, I had a blast putting together some videos last year. One of them, Addiction: Kayak Fishing, won 3rd place Kayak Anglers Choice award for Online Video. I was also proud of my little kids' vacation and TKAA-HOW-PHW videos as well. The editing process may be challenging, but being able to share those experiences the way I envisioned it is extremely rewarding. You can definitely expect more soon.
Something else you can expect more of are fish prints. I've figured out ways to pick up more detail and over all they've gotten much better.
Somewhat unexpected, I found myself unable to keep up with demands during the holiday season. So maybe this year I'll have to up the production on the artwork. There will be a full how-to article and video as well in the near future.
The most unforeseen honor came with the Kayak Anglers Choice Blog of the Year Award. To everyone who voted for my blog, THANK YOU so much. I'm somewhat dumbfounded because I did not promote myself or go on a campaign asking for or reminding people to vote for me. I was fully prepared to be congratulating the person who promoted themselves the most so I am now thoroughly surprised and humbled that kayak anglers from all over chose mine over all the other great blogs.
Although it's essentially just a popularity contest, I like to think that the content of my blog is respected enough to earn the vote. I cherish the ability to connect with my audience and the chance for them to respond. Combine that with the 3rd place Online Video of the Year Award and I am truly honored. Again, thank you so much. To the others who were nominated and/or placed, much love and respect.
When I look back, I was very privileged to fish with some of the best kayak anglers in the area. The friends I've made, new and old to the sport, are probably the best part of this whole journey. I was humble in learning from those I look up to while helping others by sharing my experiences. From bass n' pickerel to spades n' sheepies, specks n' flatties to flatheads n' bronzebacks, James River fall line to the HRBT lightline, CBBT first island to the Eastern Shore barrier islands, flycasting to deadstickin, bulls n' kows and everything else... the fishing was phenomenal. I got to mingle with the likes of Jim Sammons, earned invitations to some amazing fisheries, enjoyed many great on-the-water sunsets, and and to be honest... even though I didn't get that "expert angler" I accomplished more than I ever thought I would in 2012.
Here's a little happy dance for ya...
Once again, thank you all so much for enabling my addiction and continuing to follow my little adventures. Cheers and best of luck in all your pursuits.