It’s been a funny thing to take out anglers who haven’t really done much fishing and I’m trying to get some idea of their skill level, so I’ll ask them about the biggest fish they have ever caught. Sometimes the explanation begins with them saying they don’t have much experience – oh, but they did get a 200-pound marlin in Cabo, or sometimes it’s a 50-pound king salmon or a 150-pound halibut out of Alaska!
In some cases I almost have to laugh as they act as if it was nothing, really. “A guide took us out and I got this huge fish.” Just show up, wait for the fish to bite, reel it in – and check it off the bucket list. I’m biting my tongue!
This is when the conversation turns back to me and they ask if I’ve fished Cabo or Alaska much? I tell them that during all the years that I was training they never had decathlons at destinations like Hawaii, Mexico or Alaska. I really never had the place or time to get the big fish. Figured I would do it later.
That’s when they sort of look at me sideways, “You’ve never been to Cabo or fished in Canada?” It’s almost like they’re saying, “How can you call yourself a fisherman and not have fished there?”
I retort, “It’s on my list!”
I hate falling several notches on their angler rating scale.
Most anglers’ exotic bucket list locales seem to center around places like Cabo, Canada, Alaska, Florida, Argentina, Brazil and Costa Rica. The key species that I hear the most about them wanting to catch are huge marlin, tuna, lake trout, salmon, tarpon, sharks, bass, brown trout, peacock bass as well as stripers and muskies in the States. The list is whatever you want to make it and there are a bunch of fish that I know I didn’t mention.
Bucket list fish, and trips, are usually not easy things to pull off due to distance, costs, weather and timing. I planned a big trip to fish for trophy stripers back on the Cumberland River in Tennessee a few years ago, but just before we were set to go we found out the fishing was terrible due to unexpected work on the upriver dam.
My point in bringing up bucket list trips? I just had a week-long trip to Sitka, Alaska, fall into my lap and I’m leaving later this week! A fishing buddy asked me if I might want to go after his son canceled, and it took me all of about five minutes to make that decision. I’ll be fishing for halibut, various rockfish and king salmon for four days. We will be “play” fishing with longtime locals on their boats.
Maybe after I come home and someone asks me, “You ever get any big ones in Alaska?” I can reply, “Sure – a couple of monsters!”
Never give up!