Best catches of 2012 - let's see 'em!

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andy's picture
Best catches of 2012 - let's see 'em!

Well, it's that time of year again - time to reminisce about the past year and think back to those catches that really stand out.  Share them here, and please include a little story behind the catch as well.  Hopefully I can put together a slideshow or something of everybody's photos like I have in the past.  For this purpose, if you could size photos to 600px wide that would be great.


So let's see 'em!!!

TheHugbot's picture
This is one that I wont be

This is one that I wont be forgetting in a hurry. I was catching loads of little rudd, litteraly hundreds of them! I kept on seeing a fish moving reed stems near the bank, I kept of putting my bait right infront of the fish but every time one of the smaller rudd wouyld take it long before the big one could get to it. Eventually I gave up with this fish and ammused myself with the smaller fish, after catching a few more of them my little matchstic float twitched and I hoked something strong, it went straight for the reeds and nearly got me snagged up! I was only using 2lb line so I had to be very careful. I originaly thought that the fih might be a small carp but as it surfaced I realised that it was a big rudd, by far the biggest I have ever seen or caught. I didn't weigh or measure it but I thimnk it was pushing 2lb.

Gunnar's picture
2012 has rocked! 10 lifers so

2012 has rocked! 10 lifers so far, 8 of them during June. Most exciting of all was this 47 inch longnose gar, caught on a rope lure in Cassville, WI, thanks to the guidance of Garmaster Bob.


Second most exciting lifer of the year: bowfin! I've wanted one for so long and ended up catching 3 in an hour. Lost one that was insanely large. Here's the first one I landed:


My lifer sauger was also a bad-ass:


And the biggest surprise of the year, in the lifer department, was this silver carp that attacked a Mepps spinner:


Redhorse ID cheatsheets & sucker obsession:

2018 so far: 4 days, 6 species, 2 lifers. 2017: 49/52/14 2016: 48/33/5 2015: 51/43/11

Corey's picture
Well I dunno!

What an awesome year!  Started out with a personal best 13 pound burbot!  I had to brave huge piles of glitter and robot hippo submarines, but I landed it.

The I caught a shark out of my kayak, which was awesome.  But not more awesome than ..... getting my lifer Round Whitefish!  Missions with Tony to one of my favorite rivers.  Finally!  Andy nabbed one of these on the Taluchulitna, but

this was sweet!

Then a lifer Black redhorse!  Been a long time coming and I've waded many miles of stream looking for one.

Then an eel!  To me, the fish of a lifetime in Minnesota.  And it was a honker!  Really glad I got to share the catch with some great guys, too.  You know who you are!

Cast_and_Blast's picture
My highlights of 2012 have to

My highlights of 2012 have to be my Flannelmouth Sucker and Kokanee.  Both species required prior leg work and research so the catches were all the more rewarding. 



DavidG's picture
This was definitely one of my

This was definitely one of my best years ever if not THE best!  I was finally able to catch not one, but several BIG alligator gar, which had probably been at the top of my fishing agenda for a looooong time!   I enjoyed my stint living out there, but I am back in SC, already looking forward to future trips out there in 2013 though!   I wont be seeing as many of the big monster gar in 2013 but I still hope for good times around SC again in the coming year.   I think my favorite catch of the year was the giant longnose gar, but its really hard to beat the experience of catching a big alligator gar with your own resources.   I look forward to seeing everyones catches!   The slideshow is always something I look forward to seeing!  




DavidG Blog:

nsnutter's picture
Dude ... Those gar are slobs

Dude ... Those gar are slobs but holy Red! I'm almost more impressed by that one :)

fishingwithpole's picture
I would say my best catches

I would say my best catches of this year were my first ever American eel and Japanese rosy bitterling because both of them took me totally five outings in my trips in New Brunswick and Japan.





Dr Flathead
Dr Flathead's picture
2012 was a pretty good year

2012 was a pretty good year of fishing.  Hope 2013 is just as good or better...

Eels were around again this year.  I even managed to get a good timer shot by myself:

Got some decent flats this year.  This one came a couple hours before dark, which was really cool cause you just dont get many daytime pics of flats.  At least I dont:

Loved this big Drum from this fall when we were sturgeon fishing.  Fish bit on a wad of crawlers:

And got this nice SM Buffalo while targeting eels and cats:

And flirting with the state record Hogsucker in late November:

And lastly, a picture perfect giant shorthead from my outing with D.T.  We just beat 'em down on this outing.  Lots of shorthead pushing 20 inches or exceeding that mark.  One of the best redhorse trips of my life...


dj330's picture
2012 has been an incredible

2012 has been an incredible year for me. i caught 30+ new lifelisters this year. the one that stood out above all the rest has to be the paddlefish i caught while in missouri. i always considered paddlefish to be one of the most uncatchable fish out there with fair catches being a very rare occurance. i was fortunate enough to experience one of those rare occurances while fishing for gar on the osage river when this fish grabbed a small chunk of cutbait under a float. i have never felt my heart pound harder than it did once the fish was close and i could see it was not a gar but a paddlefish and it was fair hooked. i consider this fish the most memorable catch of 2012 and my entire life. 


another very memorable fish for me this year was my first bighead carp. these things run like crazy! i caught this fish on the lightest rod i brought to missouri with 8lb test line and a crappie jig, i don't know how the hell i managed to land it but i'm very glad that i did. this is easily one of the biggest and coolest fish i have ever caught and a very memorable one for sure.


one goal i set for myself this year was to catch a greater redhorse and on my trip to nw wisconsin i was fortunate enough to get the opertunity to sight fish one. they are such beautiful fish i am really looking forward to fishing for greaters again this spring.


catching a new personal best always makes for a great day of fishing but absolutely crushing a personal best makes for an awesome day. until this fall i had never caught a big brook trout. my biggest was probably less than 10". that changed this year when i caught a 17" while fishing egg flies for salmon. 


this is a great thread, congrats to everyone for catching such awesome fish this year! 


zippyFX's picture
My Muskie


It's been about 6 weeks and my mife is saying "Are you still talking about that fsh!?"

49 inch Muskie from shore....


roughfish29's picture
In no specific order....

I heart twenty twelve.




Mike B
Mike B's picture
This one is so hard to decide

This one is so hard to decide -- 2012 was a milestone year for fishing and in life. So many new and favourite catches from this so I'm going to post a bunch.

Jumbo cisco

I show this picture to people around Yellowknife and they don't believe it's a cisco. "Ciscoes don't grow that big." I caught this fish on Easter morning while visiting a buddy at his cabin. The lake is one portage over and just a puddle, maybe 30 feet deep at its maximum. I saw the fish at mid-depth on my sonor and dropped a tiny Forage Minnow on top of it.That's all she wrote.

Mutton snapper

Florida, what a blast. Throw some squid on a hook near a reef and see what takes. It was reconfirmed that fresh snapper is the tastiest fish that swims on this trip.

Lifer longnose sucker

I don't think I've encountered a harder fish to catch. It was a lot of evenings down at the creek trying to catch this fish.

Arctic whitefish (cisco)

Going up to the Arctic coast and fishing for fish found nowhere else won't be soon forgotten, especially if there is a lifer coregonid involved. C. autumnalis are surprisingly aggressive. I caught this one on a large Mepps syclops at the mouth of the Coppermine River.

Slob Greenland cod

Another of tastiest fish that swim. Standing on the shore of a desolate island, ringed seals bobbing in the surf, chucking spoons into the pounding sea, and catching one completely arctic species of fish after another. Heaven.

Arctic char

It's kind of hard to ignore this species when they're around. Catching them from the very spot where Samuel Hearne witnessed one of the most famous events in the history of Arctic exploration -- Massacre at Bloody Falls -- was pretty cool too.

Fourhorn sculpin

For some reason this fish was my favourite of all my catches during my trip to Kugluktuk. So weird looking.

Enormous northern pike

Standing in bear shit, watching schools of 10 pound inconnu pushing up the rapids, I knew as soon as the bobber went down that I had a large fish on. This picture doesn't do it justice. So thick. The head was bigger than mine, and it fought so savagely -- one of the largest pike I've ever caught. Over 30 pounds, for sure.


I couldn't end this post without showing a mighty northern inconnu. I caught one fish after another like this that day on the river.

mike b

Hengelaar's picture
Wow, now I gotta follow MikeB...

I look forward to this every year too!

Doc, that Smallmouth Buff is still one of the coolest shots I've seen this year.

Here goes.



My lifer Burbot. Caught on an unplanned surprise Kuklinski-style in-and-out visit.

Took me a good long while to kinda get the hang of that ice fishing deal, but I got one in the end.

I was very happy to catch that fish, but the looks on some of your faces were better.



One of the many awesome River Redhorse that Tyler and I caught as we ventured deep into The Lost World.

That place is magic, pure and simple. Not the biggest of the lot, but definitely not the smallest. And I really dig the dark coloration. Just a nice photo all-round.



Probably the best, and definitely the best looking Greater Redhorse I've caught. Frank's Bar in summer is hard to beat.



It's hard to call this one a good catch on my part, because I was very much put on it. Awesome fish, though. Huge thanks to O4L!!!



Over Here:

2012 has ranged from not great to fkin dismal over here, but these fish stand out:

I finally managed to catch a proper Asp. Not a truly big one, but definitely a good one. I suck at catching these. I'm sure it's the timing. You have to be at the right spot in the right 15 minute window. Hard to manage that, unless the spot is close by...



Any Mullet is a good Mullet. I caught this plump one on a floating piece of crust, which makes it even better.



2012 ain't quite over yet...!


Like I said, 2012 ain't over yet.

121 cm Pike. Dream-Beast. Fish of the Year. Fish of a Lifetime



(Still a little year left...)

Fishn sure is neat

TheHugbot's picture
2012 ain't quite over yet...!

2012 ain't quite over yet...!

Couldn't agree more, there are still plenty of fish to be had (pike especially).

Eli's picture
THIS IS IT!! This is what

THIS IS IT!! This is what makes this the single most awesome online community of anglers. Scrolling down this page alone confirms that in spades! 


I would rank 2012 up there for good angling, despite the drought we had over the summer. Catching great fish and hanging out with great people is hard to beat in my books. 

In March, I decided to try for suckers through the ice and was rewarded with this silver redhorse. It was the only fish caught all day but it was great nontheless because it was something completely new for me. The ice left shortly after so I didn't have a chance to explore this type of angling much further, but I will do this winter for sure.


Didn't do a lot of carp fishing this past year for various reasons, but I did get this 30lb 2oz specimen on a wet spring day. Usually we get between 3 and 6 30s per season, but this year I settled for just the one.


Watching Mike B catch an inconnu on his second cast and then getting my own lifer coney two casts later was pretty spectacular. This was the biggest of the bunch for me. Everything about these fish is awesome.


Of all the species I caught this year, the arctic grayling is my favorite. Watching these sailfinned gems materialize from between boulders and take a small spinner is something that will not soon be forgotten. I spend more time daydreaming about these fish at work than about anything else.  


Blue cats were a longtime target of mine. Just a bigger, meaner version of our channel cats. After sorting through a number of smaller fish, I got one I can decorate my wall with (the photo, of course). Big thanks to Pat on that one.


Northern snakehead are cool. Experimenting with lure selection was key to getting my hands on this fish. Only landed two, but saw a giant that I will hopefully get next spring.




Deftik's picture
Its hard to choose your best

2012 was the best year of my life for many, many reasons, fishing including. Its hard to choose your best out of a year with 30+ lifers under your belt, a definate all time high for myself. However there are still a few that set themselves apart from the rest.

Here are the real headache givers from the Florida Trip, you'd be surprised how little information you can pull off the internet on the Brown Hopollo, and the fact we survived a 4am onslaught of the most mosquito bites i've ever sustained to catch them puts them up at the front of my mind of 2012 despite their obvious lack of Size.

It goes without saying, going to Florida and leaving with a nice size Midas Cichlid is a noteworthy accomplishment especially when you produced the spot by yourself in a state you've never even been near, nevermind visited. I assume the internet agrees because I often time see people "borrowing" this picture.

The walking catfish, what an interesting fish, in a family of fishes I hold near and dear to my heart. The fact that we caught anything at this spot was an accomplishment. The fact we survived the "cracked out zombie" that came within 1 foot of us in a back alley canal, even more of an accomplishment, man what a fish...

The Mirror Carp, Flathead Catfish, and Bowfin were all welcomed surprises that I may not have caught without some much needed assistance. Being a lover of Catfish, the Flathead was most memorable not only because of the whiskers but because it was the first real fish to ring in the new year.

The Chinook Salmon has made the list due to its size, the fact its a lifer, and the fact that I got my dad to come fishing with me and I think it was the only time in 2012 he did so, if it had been caught without my dad on his friends boat, it probably wouldn't make the list.

The Round Goby despised by many......this is why 2012 couldn't end without me catching it. My friend and I slept in a car and waited out a thunderstorm to pursue this tiny and much hated fish. When it was landed a great weight was lifted off my shoulders, I could see how they take over a watershed, but man did I want this fish BAD.

I wanted to leave Bullseye Snakehead off the list, just because it reminded me of its elusive cousin the coveted and hated Northern Snakehead. Man did these fish fight, probably top fish in my book for the time being, I'm interested to see what a big northern could do.

Your momma fishes for lifers with Eagle Claws.

If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants

- Isaac Newton
CoolWater's picture
I hardly fished in 2012.  : (

I hardly fished in 2012.  : (

All I can say is the catches by the group here were fantastic!  So many fish I'd like to comment on but I wouldn't know where to start.  Great job everyone!  Thanks for the motivation too.


CoolWater's Blog:

andy's picture
I know that spot..

Hey ben c, you should really try to keep obvious backgrounds out of your fish photos so you don't give your spots away....I totally know exactly where that sturgeon photo came from haha

brad's picture
2012 was a fantastic year of

2012 was a fantastic year of fishing. Too many pictures to post, so I'll just show 3 of the many bighead carp I caught this year. What is significant about these is during Hurricane Isaac in August, I caught a ton of bighead carp fairly on a green jig since the water was so high. The high water made it possible to catch them for some reason. But it was a blast, and Ihope we get more rain soon hopefully.

perkinsdonald's picture
lol ben

That's the best pic on this thread! Im laughing thinking if everyone drew their fish pictures! I've always tried to take pics of the fish ive cought so when I googled roughfish earlier this year I found this site. I was now able to share my pics with like minded folks with a love for rough fish. 2012 I cought some nice pike, and gar. I married a woman on the bank of the WI river. Also added a some micro lifers. ( Can't post photos here with my cell ph) would not have micro fished at all if not for this site,and the folks here.



The gods do not subtract the alotted span in men's lives the hours spent in fishing.

MNbowfinangler's picture
2012 bests

My first barracuda - a species that's been on my radar since I was a little kid. After having a few barracuda come off the line, I'm glad my first one was a big one. I caught it from a canoe along mangroves on the leeward side of Caye Caulker, Belize on a whole 5-inch dead herring. It put up a heck of a battle, tearing off on a fiesty initial run and jumping.


My first bonnethead was also an awesome catch. I had really wanted one of these before leaving South Carolina, and was very pleased to catch a good-sized one. It also put up a fiesty fight.


Not my first southern stingray, but this beast is my biggest and now holds the record for the longest battle I've had with a fish (55 minutes). It was epic.


Not a big fish, but I really worked hard to catch a redeye bass in South Carolina. They are much more common in some watersheds, but were only discovered in the past decade in the river system where I  got this one. It took me several trips over two years, and this species haunted me for months because I had hooked one, pulled it out of the water, and it dropped back in and I've had other strikes that I didn't connect on. So, it was SWEET to finally add this cool species to my lifelist. I really had to earn this one.

Hengelaar's picture
Big Ray

That's an awesome Ray, MNBA.

But I just checked out your blog, and that one photo (you know which one) of Lady Reekfish posing with her Ray is easily one of the most awesomous, fantastibulous, spectacularical things I've ever seen.

Fishn sure is neat

TonyS's picture
Wow! Tons of great catches

Wow! Tons of great catches out there!


My year was bit like Corey's... I didn't fish quite as much as I would have liked (though I did fish heavy May and June).  I had two droughts in excess of 2 months (probably over 2.5 months) where I didn't catch a single fish.  And some other periods of very little fishing and even less success.  


However, there were a few periods where it seemed like I could do no wrong.


Lifer Longnose Sucker (ended up getting at least a dozen of these this past spring)


Lifer Round Whitefish (ended up with probably 6-8+ of these, lost one that was enormous, and got to see at least 3 people get their first)


American Eel - another lifer!  Got two of these one crazy night, didn't know if I'd see that day - especially in WI.  


I also managed a lifer Longear (northern) Sunfish, Goldeye, and Crystal Darter.  Some awesome days of Lake Sturgeon fishing on the Rainy and Burbot fishing on Superior.  No huge fish but crossed the 50" line multiple times for Sturgeon and the 30" line probably a good dozen times for Burbot.   Got some fly rod firsts this year too - Longear Sunfish, Longnose Gar, and (best of all) Smallmouth Buffalo!

JK's picture
Worked for this one

Howdy Cowpokes,

This fish cost me a busted rod, camera shorted out during an unexpected swim in an alligator-filled bayou, a pair of boots that still smell like bayou mud, a painful bite from a weird ant, and borderline dehydration in the Texas heat.

It was worth it.


CoolWater's picture
I guess I managed something

I guess I managed something for the slideshow today!  A nice Vermilion River Steelhead from 12/16.

CoolWater's Blog:

E. Subvaria
E. Subvaria's picture
(No subject)

I first came across this Brown Five Seasons ago.  I thought he was gone until this spring when i fooled him with a cat furball on a 3-weight.  This fish took apprx. 1 hour to revive so that he could swim on his own. (Minnesota)

Paddle-less paddle fish +1 (Minnesota)

And getting out with my 3-year to share the virtues of handcrafted tackle and angling for sport.

rc6750's picture

I caught about 10 new species this year including ones that had somehow eluded me like Mangrove Snapper, Schoolmaster, and Red Drum. However, the most memorable for me was the Sharksucker. I have seen these guys for years - swimming with and attached to sharks, turtles, and rays. I never really thought they would go after lures or bait because they feed off the scraps from the big guys. However, this is one of six I caught this year, four of them on the same day. The sucking plate on top of thier heads is so strange and I wish I had a better picture of it. It is by far the coolest and strangest things I caught this year.

Also finally got my first grouper - even though it is a baby. Ended up with a few more Gag Groupers this year, but this baby one was my first.

And also finally caught my first Common Snook. Ended up catching a few more afterwards, but this first one was the biggest and the best battle. 


pmk00001's picture

Was a pretty awesome year for me.  Due in no small part to  I was fortunate to fish with several roughfishers this year, Moose, Blueye, Ken, and Eli.  I got into microfishing and got some serious motivation to try some different stuff.  I was fortunate enough to fish the Chesapeake Bay a few times, had a day in Florida on the gulf, and spent a week on the Outer Banks.  I fished the Potomac a lot, and managed to get to the Roanoke and York drainages in Virginia as well as a brief visit the Central Florida hill country.


I caught 75 different species of fish this year and added 40 new species to my lifelist.

It's tough to pick the fishing really kicked off in the early spring, and I was able to spend a lot of time along the fall line of the Potomac River.  It was great, something I did a lot 20 years ago and I was glad to find the time to do it this year.  The hickory shad run was epic this year.  I don't count but I'm pretty sure I had a 100 shad day or two.


A major highlight was stalking and landing my lifelist Quillback, three of them in fact!!



Northern Snakeheads have become a bit part of my angling in the last few years.  I had a great spring for them, here's one I pulled out from amongst the monuments.



It's become an annual tradition for me to fish with my high school buddy Chris every year.  It's something I look forward to every spring.  We tore the carp and blue cats up, and Chris managed a new PB goldfish.



Speaking of orange things, I stalked this mirror koi one summer day on an urban stream.



I mentioned fishing with several Roughfishers this year.  Seeing Ken bang out his first snakehead was one of the highlights of my year.



Along those lines, seeing my good buddy Fil catch his lifer notchlip redhorse after standing in a creek like a heron for hours was a pretty awesome way to spend a summer day.



Fil and I found some really cool places to fish in the blackwater headwaters of the York river drainage this year.  Reaquainting myself with the Flier made for a great trip.



The same general area also gave up my lifer Redfin Pickerel and my PB bowfin.




I mentioned spending a week in the Outer Banks.  It's a magical place and if you ever get a chance I recommend hitting it up.  Many highlights but my lifer Pompano was a tasty one to add to the list.



So long's to 2013!

Eric Kol
Eric Kol's picture
I also look forward to this

I also look forward to this thread at the close of each year. This season was quality not quantity. Added responsibility at work and three very active kids occupied much of my waking time. But I did have several awesome outings, mini adventures and general good times with good friends on the water. Started with the last pout o rama, kicked up a notch at the spring roundup where I caught my lifelist shovel nose and lucked out with the traveling derby silver trophy. Plenty of short session carping with my youngest daughter.  later season sturgeon with Outdoors4life, an ill timed but spuriously fantastic trip to WI with Josh and The Dutchman which resulted in no salmon but open water burbot and some first rate exploring then another great day trip whith Henglaar for late season low water redhorse including a couple of decent greaters. 


For some reason my pics aren't posting! 

Carpy Diem!

Jknuth's picture
Thsi si always tough. Thsi

Thsi si always tough. Thsi year was great for fishing for me. Nothign insane I guess, but good all around. I took a few awesome trips and had some great get togethers. 

The fishing moment of the year for me is this. 
almost 3 miles out in the Atlantic ocean in my 10' kayak. We left our campsite with Becky and Corey, each of us loaded with gear in hopes to reach the patch reefs. I had 3 Spotted eagle rays about 8 feet across brush up agianst the bottom of my kayak. We fishes for Yellowtail snapper and other reefy fish. It was amazing. 
Every morning before anyone else at camp woke up I would load the kayak and paddle from our tent to the bridge and fish for the days dinner. I pulled up Snappers and Grunt. Watching the sun rise over the ocean with just me in my kayak was the most grouned and at peace I have ever felt. I get goose bumps thinking about that feeling. 

At sea

The sunrise as I paddle out.

Now for the fish. 
Rainbow Parrotfish caught on my faithful Ultralight, the last fish this pole brought me.  It is now retired. 
I landed a 5 foot sturgeon, 3 foot salmon and 50pond flatheads with this rod. It started to break in the glades and I knew she had one more catch in her for me. I was right. A fish I had dreamt about seeing for years. 

Late one night in the Keys we heard a rustle on the beach. I realized a key deer had gotten into our food and was eating the jerky.... THE VENISON JERKY! I quickly wrested the jerky from the deer and threw it in the car. An hour later Becky and I drove down to a spot to see what we could shine in the shallows. We spotted a gulf Toadfish waiting for a meal. We quickly realized we had forgotten the bait. I quickly ran back to the car to look for anything that might work. I found the jerky!
I wiped the deer slobber off and hooked a chunk on a jighead and Blammo! 

Gulf Toadfish

This June I fished in Missouri with Gary and caught many amazing fish, but the one that stood out most to me were the Longear from the James river. Beautiful oranges that just glowed in the water. Wow, just wow.

Longear (white river subspecies)

Late this summer I declared I would fish NEW water. I found a backwater that looked like bowfin heaven. I was not disapointed. 

30" Bowfin

One other fun catch was early this winter. when we had a warm spell. 
A spot of open water on Lake Winnebago was loaded with Giant Gizzard shad. 
I caught several on my flyrod the largest was this beast. 

Gizzard shad on the fly.


Jknuth's picture
Becky wanted me to throw up

Becky wanted me to throw up hers from this year

First was her Hogfish from the keys.
The photo isnt the best, but it gives the feel of the moment. 
Getting a hogfish on hook and line is a rare event. Corey and Becky caught several, it was amazing.

And next is her Nurse Shark from No Name Key

Nurse sharks are one of her favorite fish.

Outdoors4life's picture




It is all perspective!

Acer Home Inspections

andy's picture
Man, what a bunch of awesome.

Man, what a bunch of awesome. Can't wait to see everybodys best catches of this year, still plenty of time left to get that memorable fish!