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Looking ahead to good things in 2019

Here we go again. The last page of the calendar has been ripped loose and a fresh slate awaits. While there are plenty of moments from 2018 that should be remembered with joy and thanksgiving, the upcoming year offers possibilities and the chance to create new experiences that will last a lifetime.

One of my most treasured activities from years past is fishing new bodies of water. I have been fortunate to cover a large portion of the eastern United States with my aquatic travels, but there are so many more locales I want to explore.

At the top of my list is the Thousand Islands region of New York. The St. Lawrence River is a smallmouth factory, and this particular stretch of the famed waterway quite literally lives up to its name.

For generations, the Thousand Islands region has played summer retreat from some of the country’s wealthiest and most prominent families. For those who know the region, they may recognize the names Boldt Castle and Singer Castle. These two massive homes were built on islands and today are tourist attractions. I would love to be fishing for smallmouth bass and take in these sites on the same trip.

I don’t know if 2019 will see this fishing excursion come to fruition, but it is on the top of my list.

Another famous setting the deserves some time from my boat, is the infamous Stick March, or Farm 13, in central Florida. It is located just southeast of Orlando, not far from the Atlantic.

This lake was formed in the 1980s with the hope to control flooding in the region. Levees were built and the famed fishery was born. In 1991, the lake was opened as an experimental “catch and release only” fishery. Access to the area was difficult, and it didn’t take long for the legend of Stick Marsh to grow.

Monster-sized fish were being caught on a regular basis. The lore spread and soon anglers from all over made the mystical journey. The name Stick Marsh was born from the massive amounts of “stuff” left in the impoundment.

First-time anglers are advised to travel with caution on this 6,500-acre fish factory. The lake is only 4 to 8 feet deep in most places, and navigational hazards are prevalent.

Last year, Major League Fishing, held an event on this Stick Marsh and the results were quite extraordinary. It was fun to watch the cameras catch all the methods some of the nation’s best bass anglers used to punch through the heavy vegetation mats to hunt up true beasts. I had always wanted to make the trip before I watched this episode, but the region made its way well up my bucket list after spending an hour salivating at what I was seeing.

If I could make these two trips happen in 2019, then I think that would be a banner year. I have wanted to drop a line in these famed waterways for quite some time.

That is the exciting part about a new year. The possibilities are endless, the memories are yet to come, and the days keep chugging along. Without the foresight to make a few plans, we might just let another year slip through our fingers and not take advantage of the unknown opportunities that are ahead.

Maybe you want to spend more time with family. Maybe there is a special location right here at home that you have always wanted to explore. This is the time to think about it.

Make some plans, be diligent in preparing for them, and slam that gear shift on your truck into drive and take off. Happy New Year.

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