This new normal does mean that planning and taking a trip will require adjusting the traditional ways you may have planned for a trip in the past. These are uncertain times, but we can be certain that the time will come when it is safe and appropriate to resume angling travel. In fact, now can be a great time to book future trips. Here's some advice to help.
Adjust your travel planning mindset.
From being able to take a last-minute trip to being flexible with changing flight schedules, the future of travel looks quite fluid. If you have the ability to take a last-minute trip, do it. However, always keep in mind that travel restrictions or local infrastructure may create issues. If planning a trip several months-out is the only way you can book, then be prepared for changes. Simply put, for the foreseeable future, flexibility is the new normal in fly fishing travel.
This seems obvious, but you never know when things may open-up at a certain destination. And with access to many fisheries having been limited or closed entirely for months, gamefish in these areas have been un-pressured for awhile. This is something many fisheries haven't seen in years. So if a flight resumes or a country lifts restrictions, you may want to be ready.
Always ensure your passport is valid. And since most, if not all countries (including Canada), now require United States citizens to have passports, don’t be left out.
Communicate ahead of time and during your trip.
Having an honest and open dialogue about your concerns, your expectations, and your goals is crucial. If you are concerned about restrictions or travel insurance, communicate those concerns during the trip planning process. The expected fishing conditions should also be discussed.
If fishing dry flies to rising trout is important, you must communicate that during the planning of your trip. If tarpon are your target, be sure to ask if it’s likely that they’ll be around. Will your fishing be mostly on foot or out of a boat? What will happen if adverse weather affects fishing conditions? In addition to concerns regarding travel, make sure the fishing suits your style.
Be honest with yourself about your ability.
Do not spend emotional energy fretting about whether to travel or not to travel, or invest thousands of dollars traveling across the globe if your 30-foot cast won’t cut it. An honest look at your own skill level is the first step in deciding when and where to travel, and which species to pursue.
If you’ve always wanted to catch a bonefish but can’t cast 40 feet and further on a consistent basis, you should practice more before investing in a saltwater flats trips and maybe consider a multi-day float fishing trip.
From the planning to the on-the-ground-fishing, you must trust those of us in the fly fishing travel business have your best interests at heart. In these uncertain times, flexibility and a “roll with it” attitude are important.
Traveling to fly fish is one of the many joys of our sport. From the planning to the anticipation to stepping into new water for the first time, fishing a far-off destination is an added bonus of our chosen pastime. But, in these uncertain and changing times, before you make those first false casts on a distant trip, do a little homework and embrace flexibility.