In what will go down as one of the least lamented (economic) years in memory, 2009 is about to pass into history. Here's a look at my Top 30 Fishing Related Stories of 2009. Keep in mind they may not all be the most newsworthy, but this is what got my attention. 2009 will go down from a fishing standpoint as the Year of the Record Fish, as many longstanding World and State Records fell to anglers around the globe.
1) George Perry will (likely) have room at the top, as there is a new World Record Bass.
2) We also have anew world record Brown trout.
3) And to make a trifecta, 2009 saw a new World Record Rainbow to boot.
4) Benson--Britain's most famous carp--died. Seriously, this was massive news on the front page of most British newspapers.
5) The death of Jack Gartside was a great tragedy.
6) In one of my favorite stories of the year, Bill Schneider mourns the loss of his favorite lure: Pikey the Great.
7) Jaws is Real!
8) President Barack Obama goes fly fishing in Montana...and gets skunked.
9) A new world record hammerhead shark, pictured here being boated, caused a ton of controversy.
10) While I'm a slave to my laptop, a new Ohio state record Blue Catfish is caught 10 miles from my house!
11) A fish who had a very good 2009 was the Alligator Gar. Even The Wall Street Journal reported on Alligator Gar fishing.
12) 9 year old MUCH better angler than you; catches 9 foot, 193 pound catfish.
13) A Dayton man gets to live out his childhood dream...by working in a bait shop.
14) Few people had a better 2009 than Britain's Edward Barder, the former Hardy's rodmaker, who got a ton of good press thanks to the documentary The Lost World of Mr. Hardy.
15) Just like 2008--a little girl using a Barbie pole lands giant fish. You may now gently weep.
16) Trout Unlimited celebrates its 50th anniversary.
17) In 2009 we lost the noted fly tier Fran Betters.
18) The story of a man, a crocodile, and More on the a Giant Nile Perch.
19) The Sun reports on one that didn't get away.
20) Joseph Scheer, the "fishin' fiddler" concertmaster of the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, now makes Bamboo Fly Rods.
21) Man dies eating a bait fish in front of schoolchildren. As a prank. Seriously.
22) Two fisherman survive 25 days adrift at sea...in a cooler. This is clearly in the lead for story of the year.
23) The AMFF's decision to ask Dick Cheney to speak at the museum caused a ton of controversy; the New York Daily News and The Detroit Free Press, among others, pile on the AMFF.
24) Does this look like the face of a man who would smuggle a dead pike in under his shirt in order to win a truck in an ice fishing contest?
25 Someone else who had a good 2009 from a press standpoint was April Vokey, who attracted a lot of attention for using Facebook to raise money for her Flies for Fins movement so she can save the steelhead in B.C..
26) In one of the most ridiculous stories in memory, city officials declare a Clearwater tackle shop owner's beautiful angling mural an "illegal sign" and threaten to fine him $138 a day. More here.
27) The greatest single human being, collector, sporting goods merchant and writer to ever walk the face of God's green earth: George Leonard Herter. (Hyperbole anyone?)
28) 73-year old cannot prove he is over 18; gets denied right to purchase catapult from local bait shop.
29) The inventors of the Quick Minnow, a device for dispensing live bait, tell you how to (not) get rich and (not) famous inventing fishing tackle.
30 In the Year of the Record Fish, we even get a new record Mako Shark.
Special Jury Prize: Your favorite fishing history blogger makes the august pages of ESPN Outdoors/Bassmaster!
Here's wishing you a bright and beautiful 2010!
-- Dr. Todd