Bye, 2020.

Bye, 2020.

Since the last post, I’ve been able to get out for a few days in search of some barracuda and what was the last permit fishing of 2020. This December has brought with it more cold fronts than usual, but after having the spring to ourselves down here it seems like a bit much to complain about the cold. I caught a few permit with Ian last week, and went fishing with Mike Widdes and John O’Hearn another day. Mike makes click-and-pawl reels for saltwater, which seem to me a better forced disadvantage than bamboo rods, and we had a blast. Mike is also going to help me find my dream car, a ’93-’96 Chevy Caprice. I’m weird, I know.

In all, this year has been a good year to be fishing. Covid helped, since it freed me from a job (which certainly had its financial downsides), and the lack of throwing 2# tippet also abetted my catching a relatively high number of permit. The Keys being closed off was surreal, and something I was glad to be around for. I was also frustrated on behalf of the guide community, most of whom took a major financial hit when the road was closed in the spring.

The six came to a close, after 9 years of effort, and for that I am eternally happy. The years I spent fishing for that fish with Steve and the others that came along (notably, Jason Schratwieser and Chad Huff) have been some of the most important in my life. I find myself staring at the mount in my living room often, thinking about what a great day of fishing that was.
Kat has moved in to the record game herself, catching both the 4 and the 6-pound tippet permit records this year. Her record enthusiasm seems to know no bounds, and the 2 and the 8 are up next on deck for her.

The tournaments this year had no place on the podium for me, which I often seethe about, though I also know that wins are rare for a reason and I’m going to double up on my efforts. I bought a new boat, which should be delivered any day now, and I’m excited about fishing the tarpon tournaments with Ian Slater in it.

The referenda to limit the size and frequency of cruise ships passed with wide support on the Key West ballot, putting an end to years of unabated cruise ship traffic in the harbor but beginning what is sure to be a legal battle fought by private interests that benefit from the constant attendance of large cruise ships. For now, we’ve spoken clearly and collectively that we value the resource of our near-shore waters more than a daily injection of dollars spent with a few businesses designed to profit only from one particular type of tourism.

In the end, 2020 was a year that makes only a small amount of sense to me. I’m glad I get to fish as much as I do, and I hope that the people that read this blog enjoy it. I keep kicking the idea of a book around, and my feet are getting tired.

More to come,


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Nathaniel Linville

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