Fishing is a global activity. From wrestling giant arapaima in the Amazon to ice fishing for sharks on the frozen Arctic Ocean (yep, that’s a thing!), virtually every body of water on our planet presents a fishing opportunity.
Whether you’re a diehard angler or a casual hobbyist, there are countless fishing options here in Idaho. But have you ever thought about fishing somewhere new? It’s guaranteed to be a learning experience, and there’s a good chance you’ll catch something you’ve never seen before. Here are some quick tips for enjoying fishing success while you travel:
Must-have gear item: Travel-friendly fishing rod
Not all fishing gear is made for long-distance travel. Several years ago, I invested in a telescoping fishing rod before embarking on a vacation to Belize. To this day, it remains the best $25 I ever spent on fishing gear. The rod breaks down to less than two feet in length, making it easy to toss in a crowded trunk or stow away in a suitcase. Many fly rods also break down for easy transport. For my Belize trip, I also took along a small tackle box and an inexpensive reel — salt water is corrosive, so it’s best to leave your favorite tackle at home.
Lure of choice: Tube jig
Versatility is the name of the game when fishing unfamiliar waters. Almost all fish species will eat a smaller fish, so a tube jig is a great place to start. Spoons, swimbaits and streamers accomplish a similar look. If you’re fishing for familiar species in unfamiliar waters — say, largemouth bass in California — take along some of your favorite baits from home. It never hurts to chat up locals or visit a tackle shop. And if the fish evade your lures, try tossing out cut bait, worms or shrimp.
Useful tip: Price it out
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Fishing charters can be expensive, so it pays to do some research before selecting a trip. Online reviews generally do a decent job documenting past trips and raising any red flags. If possible, I recommend booking a private trip with only your friends and family aboard — this is usually more expensive, but it’s worth it. If time or budget constraints don’t allow you to hire a guide — or if you just want to do your own thing — pack your own gear and go exploring. That’s what I did in Belize, and it was one of my all-time favorite trips!
Safety tip: Do your homework
It pays to know the lay of the land. In salt water, tides and currents can be a factor. Weather, local wildlife, laws and cultural differences are also important to keep in mind. If you are exploring alone, a license or permit may be required — most can be found with a quick internet search. Studying up before you go will keep you safe and help you maximize your experience.
Destinations to try: Pacific Coast, Caribbean Sea, Great Lakes
There is no shortage of water to explore. We Idahoans have easy access to the Pacific coast, where trips for salmon, giant white sturgeon, rockfish, lingcod and even tuna are available.
My decision to pack fishing gear to Belize wasn’t happenstance — the Caribbean Sea is world-famous for its salt-water opportunities, including marlin, sailfish and the legendary fly-fishing trio of bonefish, tarpon and permit. I have also had good luck fishing the Great Lakes, including catching monster Mackinaw trout out of Lake Michigan and having a walleye trip to remember on Lake Erie near my native Detroit.
Happy travels and tight lines!