Although meteorological summer doesn’t end for another three weeks, the kids are heading back to school, summer hours at work are nearly over, and the nights are growing increasingly crisp. It’s a time to reflect on how well you spent those longest days of the year.
Back in 2014, I had a tough summer, fishingwise, so to make up for it, I set myself a goal: to go fishing 20 days during the month of September. Thus was born the “20 Days in September” Project. I had so much fun—and enjoyed my time on the water so much—that we opened up the project to everyone and turned it into a photo contest on Facebook and Instagram. Every year since, the contest has attracted more and more participants, who tell us what a blast they have trying to complete the challenge. As blog reader Mike Sepelak once commented:
The contest is GREAT fun. Each year it’s encouraged me to find new local waters and revisit long neglected “fishin’ holes” in order to add variety to the month. It’s also encouraged me get creative when I’ve had to do non-fishing related travel. I’ve managed 20+ each of the past two years and really, really look forward to doing it again.
Here’s how it works:
1. Make an honest attempt to get on the water 20 times during September. Of course, these don’t have to be full or even half days of angling. Just 10 casts are enough to count on any given day. So steal time whenever you can: before work, at lunchtime, after work, or . . . (cough) during work. (If you’re still working from home, you’ll have your usual commuting time available for fishing.) On weekends, get in a few casts around family time, kids’ sports, or yard work. [You don’t have to complete the 20 days to win.]
2. This is not just about trout. Any species and kinds of water are eligible–from bass and pike in lakes, to stripers and bonefish in saltwater, to carp in canals. If you can catch it on a fly, it’s game. The only limitation is that the fish must be caught during the month of September 2022.
3. Take pictures of your fish, the water, your fellow anglers, the flies you’re using, or anything else. To promote good fish handling, photos may not show trout held out of the water. With so much low, warm water around the country, we want to ensure that trout are released as quickly as possible, with no extra time out of the water for photos. You’ll note that none of last year’s finalists were of the grip-and-grin variety.
At the end of the month, we’ll go through all the photos posted as part of the project and pick 10 finalists. Then we’ll let you vote for the winners! (Check out all of last year’s finalists below, and see all three winners here.)
Here are the prizes:
First Place: A Helios 3 Fly Rod of your choice.
(Artist collab model not available.)
Second Place: A Mirage Fly Reel of your choice.
Third Place: A PRO Insulated Hoodie
We’ll also give 2 pairs of made-in-the-USA Orvis Nippers: One to a randomly selected person who posts a photo of them picking up trash while fishing, and one to a randomly selected voter at the end of the contest.
You don’t have to complete your 20 days to be eligible to win, but we will have a Roll of Honor for those who do manage to complete the Project. So start start carving out more time for fishing. Do you think you can hit the 20 mark?
The contest is open only to legal residents of the USA who are 18 or older. (We apologize to our readers in Canada and overseas; Click here for an explanation of why we have to do this.)