Reflections On The Last Casts of 2013

Every year I take the week between Christmas and New Year's off, mostly to hang with family, but also to get my last licks on my local waters with friends before our fishing licenses expire. Just yesterday I made my final cast of 2013, throwing flies at pickerel with some pals. A few days ago I stuck some nice trout during a frosty morning with friend and guide Nick Raftas, and the weekend before Santa came down the chimney, it was pike on the fly with my friend Joe Demalderis. Considering it's winter, it was a pretty good last hurrah. But you can't help think about the season as a whole this time of year, and I must admit, I've had better.

Don't misunderstand, there were glimmers of epicness (not a word but I'm using it) in 2013. A 475-pound hammerhead from the surf is something I'll never forget. There was a window in early August when the smallmouth fishing on my home river, the Delaware, was on fire like no other season. But in the overall scheme of things, fishing was, well, tough. I'm not going to rant on and on about specifics, but I'll just say it...I've been in a slump for most of 2013. Fish came, but not often without a struggle. Good days peppered in were flanked by what felt like long spans of skunks and scratches. I also feel like I heard some form of this phrase many times this year: "I don't know what's going on with these fish. The conditions are perfect. They just don't wanna eat." Then again, maybe I fished like crap. It very well could have just been me.

What I'm not saying here is that it wasn't a blast. I met some great new friends this year and learned a lot of new stuff I plan to use on future adventures. Personally, I'm ready for 2014, and hoping the flip of the calendar will reset my mojo, but maybe 2013 was the best fishing year of your life. I hope it was, and if so, I hope it carries over for you. Send some good vibes my way. Happy New Year, everyone!