Becoming a Traveling Angler
|Naw, I didn’t go fishing. I was at this awesome conference!!!|
I’ve been reading the articles and comments on Brookfield Angler for quite some time, and I’ve got to say it - some of you guys and gals are super lucky. You work a 9-5 gig at the same place every day, and come home to the same place every night. After work or on weekends, you fish the same stretches of water you have for years. You know them intimately…and seasonally….and you know how fish use them. I’m jealous of that. Unfortunately, those same folks, when given an opportunity (through work or family travel) to fish new waters tend to balk and say, “Naw, I didn’t get a chance to fish in Florida/Alaska/New York. I was only there for 6 days.” C’mon now.
For me, being an angler is being someone who is excited for the opportunity to learn about how fish – even new species of fish – are using new waters. But so many folks get so used to the same successful fishing routine that they are either not motivated or are too apprehensive to try fishing a new place….when something other than fishing is the primary goal of the trip. I’m here to help you with that.
- Goals. What the hell do you think you’re doing? Just want to wet a line? Want to catch a trophy? A species you’ve never targeted before? It’s very important to think about this before you ever hit the on-ramp or purchase that plane ticket. If your trip (like most of mine) is centered around “not fishing,” then make sure to leave ample time to achieve your fishing goals. Give yourself enough time and relaxation to actually succeed. “I dunno, maybe some fishing” is not going to leave you satisfied with your trip. I’ve tried it.
|On one trip, I could only fish for about 1 hour each morning. The first bass I caught was on the third morning….this 19” spotted bass.|
Have reasonable expectations: your catch may not be amazing.
|A little advanced planning and $30 can usually get you a fully geared-up kayak fishing trip|
- Can you Buy the Time? Depending on your goals, the local weather, and your knowledge of the area, you may need to plan on refundable tickets, extra days added to your hotel reservation, etc. Consider purchasing your fishing license online before you leave for the trip. If your time is truly minimal, and you have a little cash, just hire a guide, which could run you anywhere from $30 with a rod and kayak to chase trout or bass for a morning, to $1200 for a full day offshore chasing white marlin.
Maryland Fishing Guide: Free with license
- Local info – true, this is tied in with the two points above. What can you get your hands on that might help shape your time off – even if it’s just one morning? Many states issue a state fishing guide to anyone who buys a license. Depending on the state, these can be extremely helpful or hopelessly vague. Get one if it’s available. Then there’s the web. And cyberscouting. Cyberscouting is great for compiling a list of places to scout on the ground. Cyberscouting is really, really bad for people who want to print out a map and just “show up” at 5:30am one day. But using online mapping tools, fish stocking schedules, fishing message boards, and in some states, the electronic “anglers’ guide” (we have one in Maryland), in a few minutes you can learn an awful lot about who’s catching what, where, and with what lures or bait.
Also don’t be afraid to call local park or public forest staff for tips, although those folks are increasingly unlikely to know anything about fishing. Local guides, too, although after a few tips they’ll clam up quickly, hoping you’ll book a trip with them. Get that information!
- Travel arrangements- vehicle choice, lodging location, lodging type (think non-trad). I know what you’re thinking: “I’ll rent a land rover.” Awesome. For what? There’s a greater chance that the fishing hole where you end up will have a gravel lot, not a 30 mile wilderness road. That being said, remember that you need to travel comfortably with your gear – especially if the main goal of your trip is work or family related. No Toyota Yaris rentals, please. Good questions to ask: rubber floor mats? Fold-down back seats (for you 1-piece rod purists)?
Now let’s think about lodging. Useful lodging for fishing falls into about three categories that may be more or less appropriate for your particular situation.
· Hotel near the interstate that will lead you to your fishing destination
· Hotel that is local to your fishing destination (even walking distance!)
· Non-traditional lodging, i.e. state forest cabins, KOA cabins, etc.
· Note that I didn’t mention car camping or tent camping. That’s because it’s critical to be able to lock up your stuff in an actual building. Stolen fishing rods = not the trip of a lifetime after all.
|Rapala X-Rap – good to have on-hand|
- Gear – Now, this is what you all really want to know, but it’s where I need to provide the least amount of information…..you all know how to fish. So I’m going to disappoint you here. I guess it won’t hurt to suggest that you pack an UL, ML, and MH rod setup with appropriate, dependable reels. Selecting soft plastics will highly depend on the season and waters, although it never hurts to have a selection of Slug-Gos and Senkos in white, black, and watermelon.
Pairing those along with a slim selection of hard plastics - namely, jerkbaits, crankbaits and spinnerbaits in silver, chartreuse, and white (unless you can find local knowledge that tells you differently). If you fish lures with a spoon or blade, make sure to have a good selection of both silver and gold.
I hope you find this list useful – have an awesome trip! - Kirk @ River Mud