The Orvis “20 Days in September” Contest – Part 1

Phil Monahan 2016 calendar
Phil Monahan’s 2016 20 in September calendar. Photo: Phil Monahan (

Orvis editor Phil Monahan didn’t fish very much during the summer of 2014. To make up for his lack of fishing, he challenged himself to fish 20 days in September. Twenty days on the water is probably way more than most of us get each month but I think it can be done, especially if you live in the Mat-Su Valley, where we are spoiled with fishing options. Monaghan wrote about his 20 Days in September Project back in 2014 and has since challenged Orvis fans to do the same with the Orvis 20 in September Contest.

I became aware of the contest just two days ago, September 1, and immediately decided that it was something I wanted to try. Here’s how it works (from 

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 . . .(ahem) during work. On weekends when your schedule is full, get in a few casts around soccer or football games.
2. Take pictures of your fish, the water, your fellow anglers, the flies you’re using, or anything else.
3. Post your photos to the Orvis Facebook page with the hashtags #orvisflyfishing and #20sepdays.

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 here.)

Prizes include:

First Place: A Helios 3 Fly Rod of your choice.
Second Place: A Mirage Fly Reel of your choice.
Third Place: A pair of Orvis Made-in-the-USA Nippers.

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 you have one month to get ready to make September all about getting on the water.

I think by announcing here that I’m taking the challenge the internet and its trolls will hold me accountable – kind of like how one announces on Facebook that they are trying to lose weight and then keeps everyone posted on their progress. So I’ll do a weekly post on this site to share how I’m progressing with the contest.

Are you participating in the 20 Days in September contest? Let me know in the comments.

Fishing Day #1, September 2
Location: Big Lake, AK

I live only 20 minutes from the Big Lake South State Recreation Area. With only three hours before I needed to be at family commitment, my son and hooked up the boat and took the backroads to Big Lake, avoiding construction and fair traffic on the Parks Highway. The 20 in September Contest has me to looking for options closer to home, something Phil Monahan said would happen. The water was relatively calm and boat traffic was light on the lake. I casted at weeds beds hoping to hook a pike but all I was able to get were small rainbow trout. My 4-year old son had to take a short breaks from being a pirate to reel in the fish. Not a bad start to the contest.

FullSizeRender 4.jpg
My son releasing a Big Lake rainbow trout during fishing day #1 of the 20 in September contest. Photo: Ben Rowell


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