“Solo Fishing Trips: What Can Come of It?”
I think for most of us, being a like-minded group of anglers intent on fishing adventurous destinations, we sometimes find ourselves at a loss for finding traveling partners with the same intense desires for chasing the next trophy fish identified on our bucket list.
Whether it’s our normal fishing partner's kids graduation or some other totally understandable reason, fishing bud number one just can’t make it work this time. Nor could the next three you asked. It looks like the only option is solo.
As an international angling traveler for over 50 years now, I can offer you three reasons why traveling solo can often be a real plus. Let me back up and preface that by offering a one-word, overreaching reason first. Friendships. Often, deep and lasting friendships. Friendship you would have never had had you passed on traveling solo.
Reason #1: Brett
Over twenty years ago, I met Brett with a group of like-minded guys headed for Lake El Salto, Mexico. Actually, Mike was my contact and point man in joining this group, but I would meet Brett later in the DFW airport as we gathered for the flight. I was introduced by Mike to “Big Country.” Brett was true to Mike’s earlier description as the big, gregarious Baylor-made Texan. We hit it right off!
Almost twenty-five years later, and after numerous fishing trips to Mexico, the Mississippi Delta, Costa Rica, and Florida, and even after a business entanglement gone sour, I’m honored to call Brett one of my best friends. He’s been there steadfast and firm through good times and frustrating times as well. We just talked recently about the new year, an old friend, our families, and, of course, our 2024 fishing plans.
Reason #2: Don
I was looking for a partner to join me on a trip to the Amazon. No takers. “You want to go where? The AMAZON? Giant snakes, parinah, leopards, caimans, Oh My!
My great friend has passed on from this side. We met in line at the ticket counter at Miami International Airport in 2004. I should say, I was in line. He walked up to me and said, “If you will give me your passport and ticket, I will see if I can make this wait a little shorter for you. I guess one should be expected to hand over their passport and ticket to just anybody. I did, but only after he smiled, introduced himself, and then said, “I am your outfitter.” That was our introduction, and then it was off to Brazil, the Rio Negro, the Unini, and Peacock Bass Galore.
Our conversations started on that flight and continued the following week while staying in his adventure camp, located on the extreme fringe of the Amazon basin. The conversations continued for years. He was instrumental in forming my first adventure travel agency. He was a mentor and advisor during my first experience as an outfitter and destination lodge owner. And, on rare occasions, Don was a fishing partner in both Brazil and Costa Rica. But mostly, Don was always a friend at the other end of a phone conversation, offering encouraging counsel from the counselor's chair.
Reason #3: Gary
We were introduced 20 years ago at 32,000 feet by the late “Wild Bill." Wild Bill was a booking agent and mutual friend. We chatted a bit and got acquainted on that trip. But it wasn’t until a year and a half later that we actually met again, although there had been several phone conversations along the way. How we happened to meet that fateful day on an airstrip carved out of the jungle is another story for another day.
Over the last twenty years, Gary has become one of my closest and dearest friends of all time. We’ve spoken by phone probably an average of once a week since that airstrip meeting. Our fishing trips together have taken us all over North, Central, and South America. We fish together in Florida some parts of the year every week for a day at least and sometimes two. Gary has been that friend that sticks closer than a brother literally throughout the good, the bad, and the ugly of days. During challenging physical and fishing conditions, I can count on Gary, and he knows he can count on me.
Now I think you probably get the drift of why I ask, “Solo Fishing Trips: What Can Come of It?”
Friendship. Deep, abiding friendships. Relationships that grow and flourish out of the caring and trust we come to share with those whose paths we cross in life.
Mary Astor has written, The man who goes fishing gets something more than the fish he catches.
In Memory of Donald L. "Don" Cutter 1940-2021