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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I fished a lot during 2021. I fished on 215 different days (a new personal record), catching 2,728 fish of 58 species. 199 of my fishing trips were made in kayaks.

I caught four new species this year (Florida gar, hogfish, sailfish, and soapfish). I added 11 personal bests in length of the fish (amberjack, bonefish, channel catfish, jack crevalle, lemon shark, mangrove snapper, Mayan cichlid, mojarra, needlefish, nurse shark, and snook).

The largest and most memorable fish of the year was a 6’6”, 80-lb sailfish, caught from a kayak while fishing two miles out in the ocean off of Boynton Beach, FL. The second largest was a 5’ lemon shark (also caught from a kayak). During the year, I caught fish at least 20” long of 16 other species. Photos of a few of the larger fish are shown below.

I wrote up a much more detailed review of my 2021 fishing experiences, with photos of fish from all 58 species. Interested readers can go to 2021 Fishing Review and download that file. The review is 49 pages long, but is an easy read with lots of photos.

The four most frequently caught species were white perch (1,027), striped bass (920), pickerel (341), and speckled trout (123).

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Very cool stuff. I love tarpon that size. Still spectacular, and you don't have to fight it for an hour.
Nice bonefish!
Jack Crevalles are so common, but very tough fighters.
That looks rounded like an Almaco Jack. I can't remember what the specific differences are. I'll have to look it up again.

Either way, nice year of fishing.
 

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WOW!!! That's an amazing year of fishing, and mostly from a kayak. Congrats John! Love your sailfish pic.
 

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That is an impressive year of fishing! I fished more than ever in my life, about 60 days of fishing but after seeing this I feel like a slacker, LOL!
 

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Quite a feat from a Kayak. I've caught most of those species from boat but I'm not sure I'd go off shore for them in a Kayak. My favorite was catching those small 5-10 # Tarpon in secluded creeks in the Indian river lagoon
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Having caught a sailfish from a kayak in rough seas two miles out in the ocean, I can say I am grateful to have had the opportunity, but have no interest in doing it again. At my advanced age, I am done with that type of fishing. But fishing near the shore in shallower water is still on the agenda.
 

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You should also be grate full you got to tell about it. My fear would be getting speared by the sailfish or bitten or worse by a shark . You did it, survived it with pictures to prove it and have lasting memories . That's what counts
 

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John,
Enjoyed reading your report and the pictures. Impressive. i just retired and hope to get out even half as often as you have. Congrats one a greate year of fishing and catching. How to you come to identify so many species?
ACG
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
John,
Enjoyed reading your report and the pictures. Impressive. i just retired and hope to get out even half as often as you have. Congrats one a greate year of fishing and catching. How to you come to identify so many species?
ACG
Congratulations on your retirement. Not having to spend much of your days at a job certainly frees up time for other things, including numerous fishing trips. I fish out of a kayak often, and have minimal costs associated with those trips. I often fish 5 days a week, but for just a few hours each trip. That fills parts of my days and gets me on the water often.
Some anglers concentrate on catching just a few species and work hard to find the largest fish they can get. That is a good way to approach fishing. I go about things a bit differently. I like to catch a wide variety of species during the year. On occasion, I will make a special trip to a water body I don't normally fish in order to catch at least one fish of a particular species. The best example of that is my once-per-year trip to the upper Potomac to try to catch a smallmouth bass. Here is one of three smallies I caught this year on my July Potomac trip. I don't enjoy fishing from my kayak in moving rivers, and only went there to catch that one species.
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Being able to fish in Florida really adds to the species count, but there are many species that can be caught in Maryland waters too. I do very little freshwater fishing, and am weak on adding those Maryland species to my list.

You asked about identification. Most of the species I catch locally are ones that I have caught often and know easily by sight. When I am in a different part of the country, and especially in south Florida, where invasives (like this Mayan cichlid) have moved in, I don't know them all by sight.
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If I catch a species that I don't already know, I try to take a photo before releasing the fish. When back at my computer, I can search for images and descriptions of the fish I caught. This past year, when fishing with Walleye Pete in the Gulf of Mexico out of Tarpon Springs, I caught a reddish brown fish shaped like a grouper. None of us onboard knew the identity of that fish. I assumed it was a young red grouper. But shortly thereafter, someone else commented that my fish was not a red grouper. A few days later, Maryland-based fisheries biologist, Marty Gary, provided the correct ID -- it was a soapfish (I had never heard of that fish before).

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John,
Thank you for your follow-up and tips on species id. I fish mostly freshwater and use my kayak mostly on upper Potomac River float trips. I have caught just short of 70 fish species lifetime, mostly freshwater, but I do fish the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland tidal creeks occasionally.
ACG
 
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