With less than three months remaining, competition is fierce

Goatfish, grayling, giant trevally, brown trout, one “huuuuge sunfish,” and many, many more, this edition of the #DrakeMagBigYear has anglers around North America chasing an incredible diversity of fish species on the fly. Which as it were, is pretty much the point of the contest—explore beyond your typical spots, make everyday on the water fun, and catch new fish.

Nine months in, we’ve received more than 1,000 entries featuring dozens of different species, and with less than three months remaining in contest, it’s going to come down to the wire. This year, three anglers are vying for the top spot with over 50 species apiece. Several other anglers are within striking distance. One or two good months down the stretch could put them in the running for the grand prize, a trip to Belize to fish with Turneffe Flats.

Take a look at the leaderboard as of January 15, 2018. These unofficial totals have not been cross-checked against the IGFA database, yet the numbers are impressive. Eleven anglers have recorded over 20 species. Huge years by any measure, but the top contenders have put in the time.

Q3 Standings resize“I’ve been debating how to finish strong. I have a list of fish locally that have eluded me,” says current leader, Danny Scarborough (@houstonflyfishing). “Most of my fish are from Texas, a few from Louisiana, Oregon, and Washington. Maybe a several-day-long trip north east-ish is in order.”

“My current strategy is to get offshore using my very fast-sinking line to score number of pelagic and reef species,” says top contender Cory Wheeler. “Winds have been brutal for the past few months, but I think offshore gives me an advantage."

"I plan on targeting the south. Temperatures are much more cooperative between now and April, and I'm hoping to add at least a dozen more to my tally,” says Michael Talmarkes, another top competitor. “NC has been in a major drought for the past two months and there appears to be no end in sight. That tied with record low temps have made for some extremely dire situations for both fish and fishermen.”

The #DrakeMagBigYear wraps up at 12:00 a.m. MST on April 22, 2018, at which point we’ll pull the final tally, cross reference all species, and declare a winner. Don’t forget to submit your species in these final months to our contest platform.