Looking Back at 2016 Daniel Notarianni

When I look back at 2016 I can only described it as a roller coaster, with it’s intense highs and lows it was definitely a year of overall change.

I starting off 2016 working in a factory, from there moved on to work with the Palotta family setting up fishing industry trade shows, tournaments and the CSFL mega tank. In February I met a girl in Florida named Megan who would change the way I looked at everything in my life and in May Megan became my girlfriend. Later that May I headed to the Northwest Territories to guide on what is arguably the best pike fishing waters in the world, only to have what was supposed to be a three month job be cut down to only ten days after getting sick and hospitalized! This was arguably the lowest I have been in my life, questioning everything I have done and all the decisions I have ever made. When I got back to Ontario I sulked around for a bit not wanting to do much of anything and if not for a few close friends like Amy, Olivia and Mark and my girlfriend Megan I would have never left the house.

I eventually forced myself back into the photo, video and web work and have been working at bringing Live2Fish a new look and purpose. Between my friends getting me to go fishing and diving back into work I slowly got out of that funk.

I have made multiple trips to Florida and caught many cool fish this year and it all seems to be a great set up for 2017 which is already shaping up to be a fantastic year!

Here is what my 2016 looked like;

January

The year started on the ice…as it should…a day chasing crappies is better than a day at home.

Walking out on the ice is always a beautiful view
Black crappie on black ice
Live bait Crappies…not my favourite way to do it but on certain Ontario lakes it is the best way.

February

February marked the start of show season and had me on the ice in Ontario and the piers in Florida. After the Spring Fishing and Boat Show I made a trip to Florida and for the first time fishing was the main objective. By the end of the trip I was wondering why the hell I wasn’t fishing when I went to Florida before!

The Spring Fishing And Boat Show Basscot with Lindsay at the Canadian High School Anglers booth
2016 really was the year I learned how to use the slab grabber to convert marks into fish on the ice!
Fall Albie that fought like a freight train!
A legal Mutton Snapper…definitely put this on the grill…
These rabbit fish where really odd creatures!
Double fisting gold!

March

March was the Toronto Sportsman Show in Mississauga where I inked the deal to guide at Trout  Rock Lodge. I was also getting into some laker trout on the upper Niagara river with Olivia and more hard water antics with Dave Chong hooking into some chunky perch!

Dinner with Dave Chong, Amy Nesbitt, Jordan, Becca and Colton…and not just any dinner…SUSHI
Jordan, Becca and Amy at the Sportsman Show
After a week on the piers a day on the ice will hooking Simcoe Gold will shake the post vacation blues!
Big Lake Trout eat meat!
Lakers from the Upper Niagara where causing swimbaits on the Perfect Jig Underspin!

April

April is arguably my most dreaded month…the steelhead flood the rivers as do the anglers so I typically stay away and fish panfish or cross the border and fish Erie for smallmouth bass. I spend the whole month waiting for the trout opener! Once the trout season opens all across Ontario the only thing on my mind is Brook Trout! And we got into some beautiful Brookies this season when Mark and I took our annual Trout Opener pilgrimage, this year we invited Mike.

First brookie of 2016
Natural beauties outta cold waters
Brook trout in the rain…totally worth it!!
Taking Olivia down to the bottom of a gorge to find some more Brookies!
What it looks like at 6AM when no one slept because they where too excited to go catch brook trout on opener!
Cuinky Erie Smallmouth
Smallie falling to the Odin Drop Shot bait on Erie

May

Start of the tournament season for me, a pike event on Balsam Lake and than off to Northwest Territories to guide at Trout Rock Lodge for an unfortunately short trip…so short I didn’t have enough time fishing to catch my 40″ pike!

Pike Tournament Time…
Parts of Great Slave Lake still covered in ice!
The sun would set at about 11:00PM every night…but never really set, just kinda kiss the horizon then start to rise!
First pike over 30″ in NWT
Double header 20’s…just about every cast…
By NWT Standards this is a small pike…I was more than happy to hook it from the dock at Trout Rock Lodge!
when both clients hook trophy pike its a good to have two guides in the boat!
The sun never got lower than this while I was in the North West Territories

June

June had me back in Ontario and feeling low…So Olivia kicked my ass and got me onto some big fish and I got back at it on the streams hunting down those beautiful brook trout!

Natural Brook Trout are the prettiest freshwater fish in Canada!
Giant Bowfin…giant spinner bait mangling bowfin…
Largemouths to get ya back in the grove.

July

Come July I was starting to go back to my roots, trying to remember who I was and why I loved fishing as much as I did which lead me to the blur ribbon waters of the Grand River and chucking light baits for big fish despite the species! Trying my own jigs and flies became my solace at home and using them became fun again.

Grand River Brown…first one in a long long time!
Sheepshead like feathers too! These guys pull so hard!! If only they jumped they would be my favourite fish!
Bou Smallie…yet not a halloween thing…
When the smallies chew the homemade jigs…
My first attempt at tying articulated bodied flies
Working on some jig fly patterns
Learning Lefty Kreh’s method of casting has drastically changed the way I fly fish!

August

August was a month of change for me! After a half day on Lake Simcoe chasing largemouth bass I packed up and headed to Florida and really dove into the saltwater fishing, from sharks, tuna, and kings on a boat to hand feeding tarpon and casting to snook from the beach! I also got to teach Megan how to remove a hook from a person…

Quick bass trip before heading to Florida
First time seeing gators in Florida…
Fighting a fish for 15 minutes only to realize that you lost it and now have the guy on the other side of the
First Florida Largemouth…not a giant but still my first! and on a FROG!
Best way to teach someone how to remove a hook from a person…IS NOT TO PUT A HOOK IN YOUR FACE…but in a pinch that will work…
Damien and a decent Blue Runner
When the snook are crashing the shoreline its a blast to chuck hardware at them!
getting ready to release the needle fish…wondering why all the kids are screaming as they run outta the water…maybe I shouldn’t have shown them the teeth
Walked out to my chest and hooked a giant needle fish
Snook off the beach in Manasota Key
Teaching Damien how to keep his spoon in the strike zone longer!
Getting set up to hit the saltwater from a boat!
Joey T with a big King Mackerel
Big King…not the burger the fish!
Hand feeding Tarpon at Bud and Mary’s was a blast!! If you are ever around there, go do it!
Under water Tarpon!

September

September was a quiet month, I got back to working and fished when and where I could. I managed to fish the Grand River one last time before the season closed and switched my attention to the Salmon migration.

Last Brown on the Grand River for 2016
First Coho on the fly for the season

October

October brought me back to Florida, I went down for Megans birthday and what she wanted to do for her birthday was go fish the keys…I am not even joking, totally her idea! I hooked my first tarpon and helped Megan land her first tarpon, we both landed some bonnet head sharks and bonefish and I got a leader touch on a big Black Tip Shark. On the piers the Mullet where running which lead to incredible action every time we hit the piers with the boys! October had me feeling like the luckiest man alive!

Gabe caught a pompano on a Sabiki rig
Bluefish on a home made jig!
An interesting double header…I have a Bluefish and Megs has a Moon Jack!
Walking down the pier excited to fish!
Damien’s first fish that isn’t a bait fish!
Blue fish big smiles
Megs with her first Cuda on her first cast of the day
My First Spanish Mackerel
Damien and Gabe with the first mackerel Damien caught
Macks for everyone!
Gabe with his first Spanish Mackerel
Megs with her first Spanish Mackerel
Holy Mackerel! Doubles all day long
Gabe hooked up!!
Talk about putting dinner on the table!
Fish On!! everyone caught fish of the pier that day!
A bucket full of mackerel was enough to make everyone on the pier jealous as we walked back.
Trying to figure out how to land this big Blacktip….ended up cutting off as close as I could get.
The famous Bud and Mary’s Marina with a gorgeous sunrise as we are on our way out to get some Bonefish!
How we watched the sunset..casting into it from the break wall at our hotel.
Snapper hit and I thought it was a bone fish until I set hook…
Megan struck first when we went out for bonefish!
Bonnet heads for Megs…not the intended species but a cool catch none the less!!
My first bonefish is a beauty!!
Releasing this beautiful fish!
Tiny triple tail ended up in the net with my bonefish.
Snook from shore in the Florida Keys

November

November was quiet for me, the weather was very very dry making the rivers that where holding fish incredibly tough to fish. I spent most of the month working until Megan came to Toronto for the first time to visit on my birthday. I got out a couple times and surprisingly hooked a chunky smallmouth bass while I was trout fishing!

Mark learning how to tie roe bags in the car on the way to the river.
Late season Coho
Smallies when you are trout fishing…#bonus
Checking out the Ripleys Aquarium and CN Tower
We went to the top of Blue Mountain to see some snow!

December

Finally getting some water in the rivers made for a bit of steel heading fun, but the first half of my December was spent getting videos done for the Christmas rush. Something I did so efficiently that I was all caught up by the 13th of December…so I decided to go to Florida! There was s funky lunar phase going on making the fishing tough, but still any time fishing in Florida is a great time! But more than that, I got to spend Christmas with Megan and the boys! When I got back to Toronto there was some safe ice and I taught my buddies how to make a fish stick of a pike look like a semi respectable fish…it helps having a six and a half foot arm span lol

The Creek Candy bead was one of the best additions to my river arsenal.
Long arms come in handy when you catch a small fish…and wanna get a laugh…
Ladies of the night…..wait…I mean night time lady fish…
The Creek Candy bead strikes again!

All in all it was a great year, there where many lows but the highs definitely made up for them! I see a direction in my life and for my goals and feel like I have more support and love than I have in the past thanks to Megan.

So now I look on to 2017, hoping it is a year of more love, fish the ups and downs and progress.

Daniel Notarianni

A Toronto based angler who has a need to share what he learns while he travels to discover new fishing challenges.

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