A multitude of photos cross my desk over the course of a year, most of those from professionals. But to schedule one to fill the magazine’s “Last Cast” page at the end of each issue, there has to be something really special about it. Often that’s not easily defined beyond a photo making us go “Wow!” upon seeing it. Enjoy these nine from 2017’s issues, and I hope you’ll think “Wow!” upon seeing each one. — Doug Olander
JANUARY — Red Tuna Crab
An angler peers down at what could be mistaken for a strange life-form from outer space but is actually a tiny red tuna crab, drifting off Baja’s Cedros Island.
FEBRUARY — Larval Atlantic Sailfish
Lilliputian: A larval Atlantic sailfish, barely 2 inches long, prowls its macroplanktonic world just below the surface of the Gulf Stream off southeastern Florida.
MARCH — Pacific Sailfish
The amazing acrobatics of a Pacific sailfish, airborne off Guatemala, remind us why the species is so popular with anglers around the world.
APRIL — Pompano Dolphin
Something odd about these mahi, you say? That’s because this is a school of pompano dolphin (Coryphaena equiselis) — little cousin to the much more common mahi.
MAY — Juvenile Dolpinfish
A tiny predator prowls the Pacific on a black night. Although it’s smaller than your little finger now, this mahi could weigh upwards of 40 pounds within the year, should it survive that long.
JUNE — Florida Keys Swordfish
“Golden Sword” — that’s how the photographer titled this photo of a Florida Keys swordfish just after its release by Capt. Nick Stanczyk, part of a three-for-three day from a 24-foot bay boat.
JULY/AUGUST — Black Marlin
Little-black blowout: Northeastern Australia’s fabulous June-to-September run of juvenile black marlin heralds sensational action on lighter gear. The Cape Bowling Green area off Townsville can produce double-digit days.
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER — Central Florida Mullet Run
Anglers fish along a wall of mullet off east central Florida during the annual phenomenon known as the mullet run, peaking during October most years. With the mullet come tarpon, spinner sharks and other game fish.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER — Bull Dolphin
This shot of a magnificent bull dolphin makes it easy to see why mahi (dolphinfish) are one of the world’s most popular and prized game fish.
Now catch the spectacular nine “Last Cast” images that SF published in 2016 by clicking the image below!