2021: Year In Review
By David Graham: 12-27-21
With the year coming to an end I can't help but to reflect on the past 12 months and be happy and satisfied. This year was a little more active than previous years, and thanks to a mid-year job change I got a little more time to pursue my passion for fishing.
I eased into 2021 chasing largemouth bass of all things... and those that know me know I generally opt to pursue the lesser known or desired species, but that doesnt mean I dont like the tug of a green fish once in a while. 'Winter' months in Florida, if you can even call them that, are prime fishing months for big largemouth bass cruising shallow weedy flats. The everglades has a certain aesthetic that makes the pursuit of ANY fish more enjoyable, but finding big bass on shallow grass margins was something I had the itch for early on in the year.
Early morning topwater bites in January... its a relief to be able to say that and another reason I love that we moved to Florida a few years ago. I spent most of January just chasing largemouth, but these days I dont entertain a day of bass fishing at all if I don't think there's a fair chance at fish over 4-5 pounds...
I even had my dad and brother Matt come down for one weekend where we all got in on the action together.
With my year end bonus from 2020 I got my new Sportspal S-13 canoe - a small watercraft at 13 feet, something wide and steady - but light enough that I could throw in the back of the truck and move it around easily. I wanted to dip into harder to reach backwaters this year to check off a lot of marked spots to scout for different species.
Some of the mangrove creeks around Southwest Florida offer great fishing if you can just access them. The new canoe was up to the task, I spent the majority of the spring fishing out of my Sportspal and entering new waters each weekend.
I also took the time to restore my OLD canoe - being that it has been in the family for a long time, and still have plenty of value left for trips that require a passenger, or hauling more gear.
Erin and I even got out in the refurbished canoe and caught some really big longnose gar from it. A species I have really looked to dial in close to home, and want to target more frequently in 2022.
But this year was all about beginning to venture out more - what I hope can be the starting point of more consistent travel. My biggest endeavor of the year was a trip to Texas for Alligator Gar. My buddy, Josh Dolin, and I linked up in East Texas to lay the groundwork on what we hope can be a series of filmed 'episodes' chronicling the pursuit of some of North America's biggest fish.. and the details of that trip can be found in an extensive write-up I did of it in my blog.
We each caught some very nice fish during the trip and got what should be some amazing footage of an awesome trip. That will be available in due time!
Josh also made his way to my home in Florida where we successfully captured his first several Goliath Grouper - some juveniles in tight mangrove creeks - and one nice one from the beach.
I spent a big chunk of the rest of 2021 trying chart new spots and new water for my favorite species, the bowfin. Weekend after weekend I was traveling to interesting looking areas I had mapped out on satellite images and searching for areas that held big numbers, and areas that I could find quality SIZED fish. In all, I was able to confirm good groups of fish from central Florida all the way down the the southern part of the glades. I managed to find a lot of really big bowfin this year!
Going into 2022 - I plan to do several travel trips around the US, and near the end of 2022 a lot more filming will have been done and in development!