I never go anywhere without my fly rod. You never know when the perfect opportunity may present itself. Recently, I went on a bachelorette trip, and we stayed at an Airbnb which had a small pond in the backyard. I caught my first bass on the fly, and even helped the bride-to-be catch a few fish! So, whether the trip is centered around fly fishing or not, take any chance you get to be out on the water.
Picking a location
It takes a lot of planning to turn the trip you read about or saw on social media into reality. But when it pans out, and you find just what you are looking for, it is so empowering.
When planning a trip specifically for fly fishing, consider these aspects:
- Target species which will dictate what gear you need
- Time of year to gather information on flows, hatching insects, trout behavior
- Water accessibility (finding public access)
- Nearby fly shops for local advice and last-minute purchases
- How to purchase a fishing license
- Guided vs. DIY trip
- Type of fishing including stillwater, floating, wading, saltwater, etc.
Packing for the trip
It’s important to assess whether you will be wading in the water on your trip. If you need to wade and it is too cold or unsanitary to “wet wade,” you will need to bring your waders and boots. I recommend using a packing cube or garbage bag specifically for your stinky and wet waders and boots in this case. Packing cubes are an incredibly useful way to keep your luggage organized. Utilize another cube for the necessary layers to protect you from the cold and/or sun. Don’t forget that sun block or extra pair of merino wool socks.
I usually pack fishing accessories and flies in my checked bag. The guidance on hooks is that you are able to carry them on the plane unless they are “large.” Personally, I don’t like to take the chance, so I stow them in my checked bag along with my reel. As for my fly rod, I break it down and store it in the sturdy rod container I originally bought it in to use as a carry on. Usually, I get a few funny looks and I have been told it looks like I am “stealing the Declaration of Independence,” but I just laugh it off! I have never run into any issues with storing it in the overhead storage, but I have been told that some airlines are picky about this. Check your airline’s website first just to be sure!
It’s very important to set realistic expectations for your trip. It’s always possible that you don’t find the fish you are looking for. With that said, be sure to enjoy the other exciting aspects of travel fishing – local culture, flora and fauna, and new water.
As always, wash your boots and waders when changing bodies of water to prevent the spread of invasive species in our waterways.