Fishing is one of the world’s favorite leisure activities; there are more than 35 million anglers in the USA alone. What’s behind its popularity?
A fishing trip acts as a great stress buster, enabling you to escape your routine pressures while enjoying fresh air amid spectacular new scenery. Although it's a relatively gentle outdoor pursuit, fishing helps burn up calories and keeps fitness levels up. Angling also contributes to wildlife sustainability, with fish populations remaining static thanks to closed seasons and limits on numbers taken from the water.
It’s good for your self-esteem to master a new skill, and the thrill of your first catch will never be forgotten. Anglers agree that the real fun of fishing is in the challenge; following a salmon upstream or chasing a marlin at sea is as fulfilling as the actual catch. After all, patience and perseverance are vital life skills!
Where To Go
Alaska offers fly fishing in rivers located in wilderness backcountry, often only accessible by plane; you can also catch halibut and cod out on the ocean. Rivers including the Kenai and Pasagshak teem with five species of Pacific salmon and rainbow trout, plus pike, grayling, and char.
Chances are you’ll spot eagles, moose, and beaver on your Alaskan fishing trip, and maybe even elusive brown bears. Peak season for salmon fishing is from May through September when the mercury can hit a surprising 80-90°F.
Florida Keys, USA
Widely regarded as the number-one spot for 'big-game' fishing, the Florida Keys operate a catch-and-release approach to safeguard fish stocks. Deep-sea sport fishing is available year round, thanks to its proximity to the Gulf Stream, where marlin, sharks, grouper, barracuda, and tuna gather to feed.
Closer to land, reef fishing offers up shoals of snapper, mackerel, and amberjacks swarming around the coral formations. Weather conditions vary little during the year, so expect temperatures to average around 75–80°F.
There’s sea angling in the waters around Scotland’s coast, but the country is primarily known for the best fly fishing in the world. The four major rivers offering trout and Arctic salmon fishing are the Tweed, Dee, Spey, and Tay, and there are many peaceful lochs offering fly and coarse fishing opportunities.
The best time to fish in Scotland is between March and May, and then again in autumn when the salmon run up the rivers to return to their spawning grounds. Temperatures hover around 45–50°F and it can rain at any time!
Alphonse Island, Seychelles
The remote coral island of Alphonse and its satellites Bijoutier and St François provide the most challenging saltwater fly fishing in the Indian Ocean. Their coral atolls protect shallow sandy flats where bonefish, barracuda, snapper, yellowfin tuna, and the powerful giant trevally make their home.
The fishing is closed during the summer rainy season so organize a fishing tour of the Seychelles between fall and spring, when the tropical weather is tempered by cooling sea breezes -- even so temperatures can hit 90°F.
Planning Your Trip
What to Look for in a Fishing Trip
Decide what form of fishing you’d like to try and find a credited company or guide to organize your vacation. You could try coarse or fly fishing on inland lakes and rivers, opt for chasing game fish across tropical seas or try saltwater fly fishing in shallow coastal waters.
Average Fishing Tour Cost & Length
The cost of a fishing trip will vary according to your destination and the style of angling you enjoy. As examples, hiring a rod on a Scottish river costs from US$500 per week, while seven days deep-sea fishing in the Florida Keys could come in at US$1,000 or more as this includes boat hire. This cost is best absorbed among a group of friends.
There’s no average length for a fishing trip, but most last from a weekend up to a week.
Packing Tips & Gear Rental
What you pack alongside your passport and travel documents depends on where your fishing trip is taking you. If you’re heading to cold climes, take several layers of clothing and top it off with a wind- and waterproof jacket as well as insulated hats and gloves.
For trips to the sun, take layers of cotton clothing plus a light waterproof to combat tropical rain showers. Don’t forget sun hats, sun cream, polarized sunglasses, and lip balm to protect against the glare of the sun on water. You’ll need a pair of waders if you’re fly or coarse fishing.
Wherever you’re headed, take insect repellent and anti-histamine lotion in your waterproof daypack in case of bites.
Appropriate rods, reels, lines, flies, lures, and bait can be rented from stores and marinas wherever you are fishing.
Take waterproof cases for your camera, cell phone, money, and credit cards. On short outings, a water bottle and snack will keep you going, but provision up properly for longer trips.
Visa and currency information will vary from destination to destination.
Qualifications & Training
You don’t need any formal qualifications to become an angler and there are no training courses that lead to formal qualifications. However, all official guides are required to have formal qualifications to lead fishing trips.
You may need a license to fish in certain areas. In the USA, licensing regulations vary by state, and likewise, overseas requirements are different in each country.
Fishing is one of the most popular leisure activities in the world and is enjoyed by all ages and fitness levels. It is a relatively low-risk sport, although there are dangers of drowning associated with shore and sea fishing. Most fly or coarse fishing accidents occur when baiting or removing hooks, or when handling fish.
Although fishing is generally a safe pastime, you still need to use your common sense. If you’re sea angling, wear your life vest at all times when on the boat. Check the weather and don’t head out of port if storms or strong winds are forecast.
Never fly fish near a power line or if a lightning storm is imminent. Use sun cream in hot weather and take along insect repellent to counteract midges and mosquitos when river and lake fishing.
Handle all fish gently and be careful when baiting and removing hooks. Some have spines or other defenses which are unpleasant to bare hands!
Don’t go on a fishing trip alone, and always let someone know where you’re headed plus what time you’ll return. Take a charged cell phone with you in the rare case of emergencies.