Out of all the places you have ever been, all the places you have ever put a line in the water, where is your absolute, all time favorite place to fly fish?
Take a minute to think about your answer.
Do you have a favorite place? Is it outside your back door or on the other side of the world?
People ask me variations of this question all the time and I have a secret to share with you. This is one of the most difficult questions anyone could possibly ask me to answer! When I hesitate, and think about my response, I often hear, “Come on it can’t be that hard, you’ve been so many places you have to have a favorite!”
Why is this such a difficult question for me to answer? For one thing, most people expect a really exciting answer; like a very remote destination or somewhere that is so expensive to get to very few people have made the trek.
I think that this expectation of an exciting answer is one of the pitfalls of how popular our sport has become in recent years. We all read the magazines and the books; we all eagerly watch the latest videos. It can seem like there is always someone telling us where they think the next, hottest place to fish is. They then outline the adventure for us, essentially telling us where to go, and what to do there.
The image that is painted can inspire us, but may not be within our reach. The location may not be for you; the pricing may not be for you, or you may think your skill level isn’t where it needs to be.
I think that every one of us should formulate our own answer to the question and, more importantly, not be afraid to change our answer. For me, the answer depends on a number of factors. It may depend on the weather. On warm summer days, my favorite place to fish would have to be a cool mountain stream near my home in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. There, I can stand in the cold mountain water to keep cool and enjoy the day, the scenery and, of course, the dry fly fishing.
However, on a cold winter day, I am more likely to be dreaming of bonefish flats or searching for tarpon in the mangroves. Then again, sometimes when the rain is coming down, I’m transported back to standing in a steelhead river in British Columbia, swinging my fly, hoping a steelhead will swim by and decide that it just has to have it!
Those are just three examples; I have many more. Perhaps the true answer is that every place I have ever fished is my favorite place. The problem, I think, is that I love to fish, I love to explore, I love to experience new adventures.
I also love to re-experience a place.
The excitement of planning a trip to a new location cannot be replicated on a return visit. If it is a return visit, I always have a certain amount of anticipation wondering if it will be as good as I remember, but also what new things I will see and experience.
So, what is my answer? I would have to say that my favorite place to fish is anywhere I have been, and everywhere I have yet to go. Every place shows me something different, teaches me something new, helps me to improve as an angler, and becomes my next great adventure.
Maybe someday I will find my absolute, all time favorite place to fish. But, I truly hope that never happens. For me, that might signal the end of my adventure, the end of my exploration, the end of my thrill.
Where is your favorite place to fish? Do you have one place that you can definitely say is your absolute all time favorite place to fish? Or are you like me and just can’t seem to commit?