About the Author:
John Merwin lives in Vermont, where, when he's not tying flies, building lures, or digging up worms with his backhoe, he writes the monthly Fishing Column for Field & Stream magazine.

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January 08, 2009

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Cermele: One Out of Five Ain't Bad

I've decided I'm going to jump on the New Year's resolution band wagon. Merwin already posted his (fish more, work less), which I totally agree with, although for me that's more a life mantra than a resolution. But I'm going to play off it and go a step further by presenting the five fish I resolve to catch this year. I am, however, realistic enough to know that I'll be lucky to get one out of five, but it's fun to pretend. If you want to understand more about my picks (and kill a little time at work), click on each species for some video explanation courtesy of YouTube.

Atlantic Salmon: No, not those wannabe stockers that certain New England states are dumping in rivers that are just as polluted as they were when all the native salmon died the first time. I want the real deal in Newfoundland or Quebec. I think it's the history of this fishery that makes it so attractive.

Mongolian Taimen: They're the largest member of the salmonid family and to catch one, you need to be guided on camel back by a Sherpa or some such over Siberian peaks to rivers with names that sound like they're from the 1988 film "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" (gimme props for a severely off-the-wall movie reference!)

Giant Trevally: The biggest of the big I probably wouldn't have the strength or stamina to handle, but these fish are just brutes, and as luck would have it, they live in fun destinations, like Fiji. Plus, they're suckers for topwaters and the takes are just sick. Total toilet flushers.

Delaware River Muskie: This is a personal quest. I live five minutes from the "Big D" and I know there are plenty of muskies swimming around in there, but what I gather from the few people that target them seriously, they're even tougher to catch than the muskies in Lake of the Woods. I've even seen them swim by while wading in the summer, but couldn't hook up. Most people catch them by accident...ie, the dudes in the video, which is the only video I could find of a muskie from the Delaware. This is who I'm up against.

50-pound Striped Bass: This is my year. I will conquer the beast. I've come so close...just three pounds shy. But this...is...my...year.

So lay it on me. No matter how far away or how weird, give me the five fish you'd love to have in your catch log by December 31, 2009.



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Scott in Ohio


I live in a suburb of Toledo, Ohio and don’t have much cash to travel far but here is my list:

• 9-lbs. (or better) walleye. We have great spring runs in March and April on the rivers in Lake Erie and my best fish so far is 8 lbs.
• Steelhead on a fly rod. I’ve caught a few 5-pounders on spinning/noodle rod tackle but none so far on a fly rod.
• Opening Day of Trout Season in PA. I’ve missed this trip with friends for several years in a row and hope to fit it back into my schedule this year. (any trout banked would be great)
• Catfish by noodling. I’ve seen several articles and You tube videos of this and it looks like a hoot.
• Smallmouth bass on a topwater bait in a river. I have great memories of learning to fish for smallies as a kid with my uncles. I usually catch them now using jigs in the lake but would really like to try for them again on a river. My uncles would use wooden baits called “Dalton Specials” made by Barracuda?

Lastly, has F&S announced the limerick winner contest? The November blog post mentioned that the winner would be announced “here” (i.e. the Honest Angler) but I saw no mention of it as of January 5. I read through some of the 400(!) posts and there are many that are quite good.

Scott in Ohio

Joe, after watching the Muskie on the Delaware video, Maybe you should add "Mullet" to your list. - Like the dude sporting one in the video!

I wondered, do you fish the spring shad run in the Delaware? A former colleague travels from Tampa FL each year to fish this run.


Scott, I try to get out for shad at least once a spring. If you hit it right it is one of the most fun fisheries in my opinion. Shad are serious fighters that use the current and jump a mile high, but the runs vary every year from great to weak.

Limerick announcement date is not set...like you said, we've got hundreds.

If you want to go noodling, you're a braver man than I.


My catch of the year would be a photo of my wife battling a swordfish in the Florida Keys!!!

(if I win the limerick contest. Otherwise, I'll be hard water fishing in the Adirondacks.)

Chad Love

Any five species that would require a road trip, flight or cruise out of the state of Oklahoma. I want to catch something different this year, and I don't really care what it is.

The Amazon Basin pygmy guppy? Hey I'm there. The Indonesian camel-backed turd-slurper? Sign me up, I bet it's a great topwater bite...

I'm getting restless. Hunting seasons are winding down and I'm staring at January going on infinity until the fishing really starts...

Native trout

Wyoming cutt-slam

Bonneville cutt
Colorado River cutt
Snake River Fins Spotted cutt
Yellowstone cutt


Alex Pernice the 13 year old fly rod winner

Alaskan Steeles
Alaskan salmon (any species.)
9 pound or bigger smallmouth to beat the 6.2 hanging oabove my computer right now.
50 inch muskie
Tarpon on the fly
barracuda on the fly
mako sharks on the fly
50 pound striper (never fished stripes)
and golden dorado on the fly like Deeter.

Jim in Mo

Your comment going out for shad. Is that the same fish (shad) we have here in Mo, If so why is that a game fish to you? Here we throw net our shad and use them for catfish bait. Is this the same fish your talking about?



I don't think so. The shad you're referring to, although I don't know exactly which species, probably live in your waters year-round, like gizzard shad.

The ones I chase are American shad that come out of the ocean and run the rivers to spawn every spring. They're the largest members of the shad family and fight like hell. It's more like a salmon run. Go to the F&S homepage, type shad in the search box and you'll find a story I did about them.

They can get to 7 or 8 pounds and you can't use heavy tackle because they have a soft mouth. Catching them is a total trip.

Jim in Mo

I see what you mean!, and yes I was referring to gizzard shad. Quite a difference.

Jim in Mo

P.S., being a fishing guy I know your aware of the new 'jumpin jack flash' asian carp problem we're having here. Catching many of those in a throw net will get you a ruined net. I haven't resorted to shotguning or bow fishing for them but I've watched and it looks like a trip. Game dept. turns a blind eye cause they want them suckers gone. They're even developing cooking methods to feed them to prisoners if they could get a method to gather those fish. Before anyone thinks that ain't right, a properly prepared carp isn't bad, if your hungry, thats all criminals deserve on my dime anyway.