I would think that, like myself, every angler has a bucket list of places on this watery planet they just NEED to fish before they can’t cast a rod anymore. Fishing waters that literally haunt your dreams after seeing what is out there is one definition of Anglers Addiction. AA can come in many forms, but most just consist of the sensation of being in an unfamiliar land and targeting a specific species. The actual tug and fighting a fish you have never bent a rod on is the icing on the cake. Weather you actually land this said fish is a whole other level of the proverbial cake. To plan a trip like this, that could potentially be on the other side of the world not any easy feat. The hardest part, in my mind, is the anticipation: months and weeks of just thinking about what might happen, daydreaming constantly - like a child before a trip to Disneyland. Before we can even start the process of planning, we have decisions to make: What fish, where, and do I want to go shorts or waders? First we must have a top 5 fishing destinations bucket-list.
I start with the Florida Keys. After spending a few days in the keys I realized this would be an amazing place to have a second home (basically, a place to sleep while not fishing). A little piece of sand, some tropical flora/fauna, and hopefully a bit of a beach. Specifically, Isla Mirada. This place has this small town feel and not a huge influx of destination partiers. My first glimpse of a Tarpon was this pig of a spoiled dock fish at the boat rental joint. As it followed me down the dock, I knew right away he could swallow a frozen chicken, and might have already. We made eye contact and at that moment it was all I needed. Number 1 on the top 5! If you haven’t already seen the abilities of this acrobatic athlete, search “tarpon” on youtube right NOW.
I don’t like southern California, but it does have something I NEED to experience. Mako Shark. I have the pleasure of knowing a great guy in San Diego that as it happens, fly fishes with his Mako guide buddies on their days off. One very important thing I have learned in life is that it’s really all about who you know. Think about that - it takes one friend to make one amazing adventure, and without knowing that one person the adventure never existed. After a conversation about getting some of his bugs in the fly shop where I worked last year, I asked: “Did you say you’re in San Diego?” Yes, he confirmed he was. “You do any Mako on the fly?” I asked. He chuckled a bit and said to me one of the most fantastic things that I had ever heard: “Do I? Oh buddy, that’s all we do. Come down anytime you want and you will have a boat, guide friend of mine and a 14wt rod in your hand so you can get your life changed forever!”
I leave you with this: If you don’t already have a Fishing Bucket List, make one and see how yours compares to mine as I continue with part two next time.
Until then, my friends, Fish On!