You show up in the Bahamas for your fly fishing vacation, and after a great first day of whacking bonefish, you see a young girl on the beach slinging a handline with a hook and a piece of unidentified chunk bait into the rising tide.
That beach is the young girl’s domain. She goes there every day, knows every crack in the road along the way, every rock and grass clump in the sand. Most importantly, she knows exactly where to toss her bait in order to connect with a fish. She knows when the water comes up, she knows when it recedes, and knows that her success depends on timing these tides just right. For this girl it’s a no brainer; this is her backyard. She is an active participant in this ecosystem. You’re a well-intentioned interloper, and whether you realize it or not, you’ve got an ecosystem of your own back at home.
Every angler has a body of water that gave them the bug. You know the bug I’m talking about, whether you remember catching it or not. When you first felt the energy of a fish pulling on your line, travel down through the rod into your palms, your arms, eventually your veins, your head, then finally your heart. This water is your water, your place. You know the sounds, smells, and sights well enough to recall them if you just close your eyes and listen. Our home waters are sacred to us for many reasons, and much like the people that you find on the water, they are all very different and amazing in their ways. In this day and age, travel restrictions, quarantine, and human isolation are bringing many of us closer to our families and homes, further pushing us to explore our backyards like we did when we were kids.
The freedom of local adventure brings out a childish spirit that is hard to come by in the “real” world. We often meet anglers from all over the world who have traveled our blue planet chasing dream fish in dream destinations. For the time being this is no longer the reality for most. In the meantime, anglers all over the world are rediscovering their backyards. The authenticity of a fishing experience is characterized by one’s physical and spiritual connection with their quarry. Are you the little girl on the beach, or the tourist in the flats boat? Money can buy us life-changing experiences, take us around the world, and introduce us to bright and enthusiastic people willing to share their home waters. At the end of the day, however, there’s nothing like the feeling of connectedness and understanding in the place you call home.
Here’s to the water that started us down this path.
The water that has provided endless memories and will always be there for us when we return home.
As the name suggests, Fly Fishing International Magazine is written by and for the world traveling angler. This particular edition of FFI Magazine will explore topics pertaining to local fisheries for anglers around the world, because in times like these, it’s important to remind ourselves of just how good the fishing in our backyards can be.