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F F F 2012 - Memories

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What happened... Well, THE KOI, of course. I'm at loss for words here... Then better quote my summary from last year.

I was aware of 135 carp anglers who planned to fish on Jan 1st this year. As usual, quite a few didn't make it (numerous cases of flu, a few cases of unexpected in-laws visits, last-minute high-pitch screams by the significant other, fishing buddy reneging at the last minute, bad hang-overs, etc, etc). And yet
79 truly brave souls
made it and did go fish for real, including
5 juniors
, across
states/provinces - yup, Ontario included.

Illinois and Texas had the strongest showings, with respectively 17 anglers and 12 anglers. I have the utmost respect for the IL folks, the local weather conditions were atrocious, and yet, they made it and... those truly hardy people did catch a lot of fish (65 total, 16 of them by Frank Rink alone). TX did save its reputation though, as the biggest fish was caught out there by Brid Caveney, and this was a 30 pounder, no less.

Indiana had the weirdest pattern, loads of registrations (18), and... only 2 guys did make it. One of them, Steven Braddy caught 18 fish for approximately 194 pounds, far exceeding anybody else's total weight. And to my dismay, I just couldn't accept his results, no partner/witness, plus he didn't weigh the 8 smallest fish. Steve was a real good sport about it, and... watch this guy, next year, he will be back for a vengeance!

Tennessee... Well, you read the story of Willem van Schalkwyk (JD), an individual with a lot of heart, even if he's trying hard to damage it! New England... What can I say, master Iain Murray saved the day, while my own fishing sucked until the very last minute. Ohio... Bill Syler, Richie Eldridge and Dick Laubsher aimed at small carp (Bill caught a one pounder, Richie a 2 pounder, and Dick a 3 pounder!). Pennsylvania... the koi masters delivered again, and with a repeat catch (Joe Gordon, following the tracks of his little brother Willy in 2007). Plus many other stories...

Now, as to overall stats... I am VERY impressed. We usually catch an average of one carp par angler. This year, we caught TWICE that! Is it the mild temperatures or are we collectively getting better at winter fishing? So we had 79 anglers, 45 of them did catch, a total of
162 carp
for approximately
1630 pounds
. And 3 mirrors. And a koi.

So... the koi. I'm sure everybody remembers the story of Willy Gordon who caught an amazing koi in 2007...


And in 2012, what happened (check the full story here)... Well, his brother Joey caught the same very colorful fish! Incredible! Here are the three Gordon boys... Which collectively entered the FFF Hall of Fame with their dad Bill, as the "FFF Koi Masters", for their collective achievements in the past few years on Jan 1st. Oh, and Joey won the Prince award in 2012.


Speaking of colors, we had two sunrise picture submissions with no shortage of stunning colors... Here is Carl Norris and Chris Baiocco splendid artwork...



And then Illinois... Mike Olinger landed an amazing 20 carp in Illinois, but his fishing buddy Master Frank Rink beat him for the Emperor award with 16 fish, for a total of 114lb, just a couple of pounds ahead of Brid Caveney who landed 112lb in Texas... Not exactly in the same weather though!

To quote Frank:


Never believe a long-range weather forecast. Seven days prior to the January 1 FFF, the Weather Channel had the New Years Day forecast for Joliet, Illinois at 45 degrees and light southwest winds. It never happened! Our highest temperature and best weather came at midnight with 41° and calm winds. Weather took a nosedive after that. By 6:00 a.m. it was 35°. A cold rain hit us from 7:00 a.m. until 9:30 a.m.; then, the winds came. Sustained winds in the 30 mph range hit us in the face and had gear (including the occasional pod and rods) flying everywhere throughout the remainder of the day. The gusts approaching 50 mph only made conditions worse. Our day ended with snow and a bite that had deteriorated at the onslaught of the cold front.

Here is Frank, with his first fish of what was to be a long night, where quite a few anglers from Illinois caught a fish, and then kept going during the day. I'm sure Frank will add more details later on.


Brid may not have won the Emperor award, but this healthy 30 pounder did give him the Monster award.


Frank didn't catch the first fish of the year in Illinois at 12:39am, Larry Seeman did at 12:10am. Larry was really convinced he had the first carp of the year... But no, far away in Virginia, Michael Turpin landed one in just five minutes! Yep, this fish was landed at 12:05am... Overall, no less than 13 different anglers caught a carp before 6am that night, spread across 5 states, the last one from Darren Carver (IL) at 5:59am... Incredible!


In Ohio, Rick Cox and friends usually have an FFF nightly gathering, fishing and socializing. And they always deliver some carp too! This year, Bill Syler won the Baby award with a 1lb and 7oz tiny baby. Not too sure this is the right pic, but this is Bill all right!


What else? JD and Charlie did their usual long night in TN (Charlie catching a nice mirror for the Scubadoc award). Mick Clark and friends had a great session in CA. Oh, and I recorded some

from Jan 1st, before finally landing my first carp of the year while master Iain patiently waited for me to catch up with him... Overall, this was quite a year to remember.

More Joliet memories:

Despite some tough weather condtions, it was a very enjoyable FFF 2012.

Actually, Joliet had one group (Larry Seeman, Mike Olinger, and Frank Rink) fishing at Jackson St., and more anglers (Cory Bohmann and two friends and Mike Miller and two nephews) fishing at Bicentennial park. I did hear that Cory caught a 17-8 and I think I heard Mike had some fish.

As far as Joliet's Jackson Street is concerned, our water temperature reading just prior to our 12:00 a.m. method ball drop showed 47°.

We were happy that all of us at Jackson Street were fortunate to catch at least one fish (albeit very small fish) between 12:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.:

Larry Seeman caught a 2-5 at 12:10 a.m.

Frank Rink had a 1-15 at 12:39 a.m.

Mike Olinger caught his first fish of 2012 (3-8 common) at 1:35 a.m.

We didn't catch a lot of fish in the dark pre-dawn hours, and Larry left at about 6:00. Mike and I remained and looked forward to sunrise and a better bite, but we didn't actually see the sun at sunrise. We were greeted by gloomy gray clouds and ultimately by a cold rain, making fishing pretty miserable.

Soaked and cold in a steady rain, I didn't look too happy with this 9 pounder.

The rain finally let up, but as mentioned earlier, winds from 30 to 50 mph hit us hard. It wasn't a haulfest and the fish werent big, but Mike and I caught a few fish in the morning and early afternoon hours.

Our biggest FFF carp were a 14-10 for Mike and a 17-2 for me.

14-10 for Mike

17-2 for Frank

Here are a couple more captures:

Lots of wind, lots of rain, a few small fish! It wasn't a recipe for a haulfest, but it was an enjoyable FFF 2012 nonetheless, especially after a blank session at Jackson St. in 2011.

Big thanks to Jerome Moisand and CAG for organizing a great start to 2012!--Frank Rink

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Great memories Jerome! Still had the sweatshirt on, but it got to 60f that day. Things New Years Day should be remembered for :yes:

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