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Home improvement, exercise, books - with all the extra time in 2020, there was plenty of opportunity for new hobbies

COURTESY GRAPHIC: LUKE OVGARD - Of the 163 new species of fish Ovgard caught in 2020, the highest number came from Florida (28) and California (20).COURTESY GRAPHIC: LUKE OVGARD - To little surprise, the summer months were the peak fishing season for Ovgard, including 31 straight days of angling in July.It's 2021, guys. By process of elimination, that means we made it through 2020. Take a moment to celebrate, but be careful not to overdo it. Better to temper expectations.

The coronapocalypse created a new normal, but I hope you've found ways to get by.

Maybe you found yourself doubling down on existing hobbies and interests. Ordinarily, my obsession with fishing would've put me in this category, but with all the travel restrictions and lockdowns, I found myself focusing elsewhere.

I still managed to fish 145 days this year, but when your obsession is as strong as mine, that's nothing.

Over the course of the year, I worked fewer hours than I have in a decade. Not really my choice, but time is infinitely more valuable than money.

COURTESY GRAPHIC: LUKE OVGARD - The 2020 'Fishcal Year' featured a total of 4,049 fish caught by Ovgard, averaging to a little more than 11 fish per day.COURTESY GRAPHIC: LUKE OVGARD - Ovgard put nearly 30,000 miles on the car odometer in 2020, while eschewing boats and planes.The free time would've been well-received were I allowed to travel and fish, but the lockdown was very real in the spring, so I looked for other ways to fill my hours. Home improvement projects took center stage, and I finished renovations, little by little, and put countless hours of sweat equity into my house.

This kept me busy, but I still struggled to sleep with the adjustment to my routine, so I tried to tire myself out by exercising. Without basketball or soccer to keep me fit, I begrudgingly took to running more. It was terrible, but desperate times call for desperate measures, right?

Regardless of what I was doing physically with my reduction in work hours, mentally, I spent far more time reading and listening to audiobooks this year. Whether I was fishing, landscaping, painting or running, I was pretty much always listening to Audible. The 78 books I finished this year are far and away a new personal record.

I went through four pairs of cheap earbuds this year, losing a few buds to the river, a few to paint damage, sweat damage and one to an unfortunately timed hammer blow after it fell out of my misshapen ear canal. Despite those losses, I'm still about $90 under the cost of Airpods, so I think I made the easy choice.

Hard choices came during the late fall and winter. I was out of projects around the house, and it got cold in a hurry, so I turned to art. I've always been interested in art, but I can't paint or draw any better than I could in kindergarten, so I've always been an outsider fondly looking in on this world.

COURTESY GRAPHIC: LUKE OVGARD - Rainbow trout, bluegill and gulf killifish were the three most abundant freshwater catches for Ovgard in 2020.COURTESY GRAPHIC: LUKE OVGARD - After spending a great deal of time in the Sunshine State, it's no surprise that Ovgard caught more Florida pompano than any other saltwater fish in 2020.That is, until this year. I finally embraced alternative mediums and created custom tabletops for all the surfaces in my house, including a bottle cap bar table. I also tested my limits with Microsoft Paint and Publisher to design some digital art, including my fourth annual CaughtOvgard Finfographics, which are included here. They should speak for themselves, but if you have questions, shoot me an email. This year taught me that I am susceptible to loneliness.

I'm not alone in reflections on the year. While hindsight might be 20/20, most people don't want to look back on last year. I get it, but 2020 wasn't all bad. These Finfographics look at the highlights of my year. Fishing was my silver lining (as it usually is), so maybe it will help clear cloudy skies in your life. If not, enjoy the pretty pictures.

Sign up for every single CaughtOvgard column at www.patreon.com/CaughtOvgard. Read more for free at caughtovgard.com; Follow on Instagram and Fishbrain @lukeovgard; Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Thank you for your continued support of local journalism.

COURTESY GRAPHIC: LUKE OVGARD - Fishing solo goes hand-in-hand with a phone well-stocked with audiobooks, podcasts and music.


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