One of the things I enjoy most these days is prepping for a trip somewhere new. Unlike fishing locally, going on a destination trip means stepping into the unknown and stepping out of your comfort zone. Many hours are spent pouring over google maps scouting out potential fishing spots. More hours spent reading every bit of information the internet has to offer. Reports, forums, blog posts, instagram posts. All of these things suddenly take on a new meaning, no longer just entertainment, now they might be a key to turning a good trip into a great one. Gear is dusted off, checked and checked again. Leaders are tied. Maps are saved onto smart phones. Holes in the arsenal identified. A checklist of things to do developed.
As a keen amateur fly tier, that usually means a lot of fly tying. First, the local “hot” flies are researched. Then the local forage. What are the key local baitfish species, common invertebrate species, frog species, crayfish species. Photos of each are saved for later analysis. Each bit of information forms a small part of a picture. Its feels like putting together a puzzle. After many many hours of research a list is developed and fly tying begins. It starts by filling what are perceived as the most important gaps and then moving onto more experimental, more ambitious patterns. A dozen buggers, a dozen fur flies, a handful of full hackled wets flies come off the vice first. Then onto baitfish, then shrimp and worms and finally some frog patterns, some articulated patterns, some I have no idea what that is patterns. The anticipation, the research, the analysis, the creativity, all laced with a healthy dose of expectation forms a heady cocktail. Everything is possible. Every fly might be the one that unlocks a tricky bite. The patterns have yet to be tested on the local fish. Even the most bizarre patterns might work wonders. Eventually the fly boxes fill and you feel ready. Prepared. Or at least as prepared as you can be.
The flight arrives the next day. Early. There is nothing more you can do. You feel nervous. There is no telling what will come next. Hot sessions, fishless sessions, constant rain; trials, tribulations, celebrations. Only one thing is certain, unlike the preparation phase, it will be concrete. It will be real.
Its time to go fishing!