This year’s “20 Days in September” Photo Contest was another rousing success, featuring thousands of great photos from anglers around the U.S. Even those who couldn’t get the full 20 days in seemed to enjoy discovering new waters right in their backyards and sneaking off for a few casts at lunchtime or after work. As Jeff H commented, “Look forward to this contest every year, even if I fall short of the 20 day mark. Great photos.”
Last week, we presented you with 10 finalists for the contest’s prizes. The voting was close, with every photo receiving votes, and the winner topping out at less than 20%. After more than 1,500 votes, the race for third was decided by just 2 votes. Congrats to all the photographers who made the finals!
Your top choice was Maedbh Ryan’s (@maedbhryanphotography) beautiful image of her husband, Chris Williams (@fatfingeredflytyer), throwing a tight loop in front of a Catskills covered bridge. Commenter Jeffery R. Werner wrote, “[T]he shot [of] Chris Williams makes me want to go fly fishing wherever that beautiful picture was taken.”
Maedbh, of Sorrento, Louisiana, is the first two-time winner of the #20sepdays contest, having also taken the top spot in 2020 (as well as second place last year!). Chris described how this year’s winning scene came about:
Maedbh’s photo was taken on the Willowemoc just a few miles downstream from the Catskills Fly Fishing Museum. We were in Cooperstown visiting family for the week and decided to do a bit of fishing and exploring. While we were a bit early for the fall foliage, we did stumble across a number of stunning Catskills scenes including the one Maedbh captured in this photo.
For achieving the top spot, Maedbh (pronounced mave) will receive a Helios 3 Blackout 8’5″ 8-weight fly rod.
In second place was Connor Merritt’s (@pfguru) misty, moody shot of anglers on a stream in autumn. Brenda Galey wrote, “Connor Merrit’s photo really shows the special places fly fishing can take you.” According to Connor, of Johns Island, South Carolina, his photo was a question of being in the right place at the right time:
Went up to Rangeley, Maine, to fish a section of the Magalloway River with my cousin and some of his friends. This morning was the first cold snap of the season. We got to the river about 5:30 a.m., and the fog was so thick you could barely see across the river. As the sun started to come up and the fog started to burn off, I noticed someone being guided up the river from us and snagged a few photos of them.
For coming in second, Connor will receive a Mirage IV Reel.
Third place went to Jonny Davis, of Gravette, Arkansas, for his almost psychedelic shot of longear sunfish taken on a nymph. “I have always loved the colors of longear sunfish,” he wrote, “and with the sun shining off the super clear water, I knew it was a great opportunity to showcase such a beautiful fish.” For his efforts, Jonny takes home a PRO Insulated Hoodie.
Last year, we announced a new prize–a pair of made-in-the-USA Orvis Nippers–for one randomly selected person who posts a photo of them picking up trash while fishing. This year’s winner is Paul Randall (@paultiesflies), who quipped, “My #orvisflyfishing #20sepdays is turning into #trashtember.”
Finally, everyone who voted for our finalists was eligible for a prize, as well. We plugged in the numbers, and the widget at random.org spat out a winner: Matthew Sawyer, who wrote, “The passion for Fly Fishing lives on strongly in these photos.”
Finally, thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s “20 Days in September” Challenge by fishing, submitting photos, voting, or commenting (or all of these). This was an amazing month for me, spent mostly on the Battenkill, where we are seeing a lot more small fish, which is a great sign.
While it’s sad that the month is over, look on the bright side: We get to do it all over again next year!