Author: Will Rice
Like it or not, it is that time of the year again. Many Colorado and other western state anglers are hanging up and drying out their waders and winding down their trout season. Thoughts of standing on wet rocks in cold rivers begin drifting towards visions of warm sands, distant lands, umbrellas drinks, and exotic species. If you have been kicking around the idea of taking a trip outside the borders this winter or spring, here are a few tips from the professionals at Fly Water Travel to get your trip planning started.
Whether it is big bonefish in the Bahamas, giant fresh water dorado in Argentina, sea run Chilean browns or monster migratory tarpon in the Caribbean, the slowing of our trout season marks the acceleration of another. Four piece rods and short tubes that fit in overhead bins are made for a reason - travel season is just starting to heat up.
Most international destination fly-fishing adventures fall into two basic categories: all-inclusive guided trips or do-it-yourself excursions. Visiting a lodge or taking a guided trip will almost always lead to a more productive day for the angler who is new to the targeted waters. Whether we like to admit it or not, there is a certain degree of hand holding that goes on during a guided trip. You really do not have to spend as much time thinking about the equipment, bugs, rigs, and specific locations to fish. All of the guides experience and know-how hopefully culminate in large numbers of fish and an unforgettable trip.
“The advantage of working with an agent and booking into a quality outfitting operation really boils down to the value of one’s time and discretionary income,” said Ken Morrish with Fly Water Travel. “If you have time but no money, freelancing is the best. If you have money but are tight on free time, you are best off using an agent. Good agents will ask you specifically about what you are interested in. They will narrow the playing field quickly and focus in on what is most important to the client. That could be wade fishing, or value, or trophy fish or whatever. In my opinion, agents should never have an agenda when it comes to where they want a guest to fish, but rather they should focus solely on listening and helping clients find the operation that best meets their particular needs.”
Using an outfitter or booking agent can make for a much more efficient and productive time on the water if that is what you are interested in.
“Once an angler reaches his or her destination, that is when the efficient use one’s time comes into play,” said Morrish. “If you have a week to fish and you don’t know an area, it typically takes half your trip to locate several productive regions where you can effectively freelance fish. If you are with a guide, well you are on proven water all the time using proven methods and patterns so your chances of catching a decent number of fish exponentially increases.”
On the other hand, the do-it-yourself trip can prove even more satisfying even if the numbers are not as plentiful. If you’re planning on venturing into a foreign country and have time to do the research, a solo trip into un-chartered waters can be the most rewarding type of experience. Looking to shave some costs while you are at it? In light of all of the recent financial turmoil, a self-guided trip can also prove to be more economical.
Research is key when taking on a new fishery by oneself. Above and beyond the simple questions of hardware and software (rod size, line weight, leader type, tippet size, and bugs) there are a slew of other questions that can be answered preemptively that will lead to a more productive trip.
How is the access in and around your destination?
Can you really fish by yourself or do you need a boat?
What about gear?
If you bust your favorite ten weight on a big tarpon are there any options for getting a loaner or rental rod for the rest of your stay?
What about a back-up for your back-up?
Do you know how to tie a shock leader?
Is there a spool of wire bite tippet in your box?
Can you buy bugs from the locals or should you just plan to bring down a few boxes of store bought flies, some extra material and your travel vise?
The list of questions to prepare for a trip can be seemingly endless. The more trips you’ve been on the better your questions get. The real trick is to figure out where to get these answers prior to heading out into the great unknown. This is where things can get interesting - and fun.
If you are interested in hearing about great places to fish this winter outside of Colorado or perhaps you have your sights set on an international destination, let us know. There is a good chance we have fished there and we certainly have the gear and tackle you need for just about any environment. Our fly fishing destination travel resume is not too shabby. Bahamas? Been there. Belize? Believe it. Mexico? Si. Chile? Check. Don't hesitate to give us a call (1.877.464.0034) or stop in the shop if you have questions. We are here to help.
Stop back to our blog next week for Part II of this series where we'll have a brief primer if you are interested in planning a do-it-yourself excursion.
For more information on Fly Water Travel:
Fly Water Travel
“Fly Water Travel is a team of fly fishing and travel experts exclusively dedicated to arranging trips to the world’s finest fishing destinations.”
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