Tag Archives: Alaska

Bucket-List Fishing Destinations: Places I’d love to Visit

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An atlas and a Jeep… all you really need.

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

By now it’s probably no longer a secret that a great deal of the motivation behind this effort, apart from raising money to cure melanoma and the desire to build you a great fishing magazine, is a love of exploration and travel.

I’ve tried to wax poetic about some of the places I’ve been blessed to see (and I HAVE been blessed), but the thing about traveling is… the more you do, the more you want to do. Each destination is seemingly a little bit closer to a place you’ve never been, and only increases your desire to get there… some day.

I thought it would be interesting to compare bucket lists with my fellow fishermen out there, so I decided to share some of the places I’ve never fished, but would love to, and see if you guys had any thoughts, suggestions or ideas about getting there, and what to do if and when I do.

Alaska: This one is a place I’ve been dying to visit for as long as I can remember. My father was stationed in the military in Alaska during the Cold War, and used to talk about the natural beauty of the place. He’d mention the polar bears, the endless summer days and the kindness of the native people. I’ve had a few friends who got the chance to visit, and that’s only made it worse. Suffice it to say, it’s the number-one place on my “to-go” list, and hopefully one day I’ll get the chance.

California Bassing: I’ve been to California, and have done some saltwater fishing out of San Diego, but I’ve never bass fished in the state that has now become (almost more so than Florida) America’s number-1 bass-fishing destination.

Cuba: There’s something, I think for all of us… more tempting about a place that we can’t go. Certainly… there didn’t seem to be much empirical evidence to suggest that the moon would be a very interesting destination, but the fact that nobody’d been there undoubtedly motivated the first space pioneers to make a lunar landing. And by that same token, the fact that Cuba has largely been off limits to American anglers for decades makes it all the more alluring. Reading too much Hemingway has filled my head with images of enormous marlin off the coast, but as of late I’ve read some pieces that suggest that their bass fishing is every bit as good as their saltwater fishing, if not better.

Minnesota: I’ll admit off the bat that I’ve never been much of a walleye fisherman. We don’t have much in the way of walleye in Upstate New York, and I’ve barely traveled through the Midwest. But when a group of anglers are as passionate about a fishery as Midwesterners are about their walleye, I always assume they’re onto something I’m ignorant of. I’ve read a great deal about the boundary waters and their beauty, and it doesn’t take much to inspire me to want to visit a place in the first place… so there you have it.

Michigan: I’ve been lucky to have fished in 36 of the lower 48, and I’ve at least traveled through many of the other 12… but I’ve never once set foot in Michigan. When you consider that I’ve been a Hemingway fan for the past decade, and Hemingway wrote passionately about Michigan, perhaps it’s understandable that it’s a place I’ve always wanted to go. The pictures of the beautiful trout and salmon, of course, have made this desire even worse.

I’m not terribly concerned that places exist that I’ve not yet traveled to, but would love to visit. I would be terribly concerned were that not the case, however.

 

Operating With Purpose: Believing in Something Greater

12651295_10102830410965586_9129738956631078401_nI was spending some time in my native upstate New York this past week, and my mother came across a collection of photos that my father’s mother, Agnes McCabe, rest her soul, gave to my Mom when my father and her were married.

In this one you can see my Dad, who served his country in U.S. Army Intelligence Agency from 1954-1957, standing next to the hide of a killed polar bear in Alaska, where he and the remainder of his unit were, or so I was told, on the lookout for any type of incoming attack from the then Soviet Union.

He rarely talked about the Army, but I do remember small details. He said that at times, migrating birds appeared to be something like aircraft on the radar, and we were terrifyingly close to starting a war that I can’t even imagine. When asked about the Army, and why he enlisted, he only ever said: “It had something to do with a girl.”

But had he not enlisted in the Army, having come from a poverty-stricken family, he almost certainly would not have been able to afford law school. Had he not become a successful lawyer, I don’t know that I’d be here, writing this blog.

When I look at events in this fashion, it helps me understand them and it helps me see a greater purpose behind even the smallest details.

My father, at 77, was almost the exact age of life expectancy when he passed. But he didn’t die from a heart attack or a car accident (although Lord knows, the way he drove, that certainly could have happened several times).

He passed from skin cancer, a cancer that has killed more people in recent decades than all other cancers combined, and a cancer particularly dangerous for outdoorsmen, and fishermen especially, because sun reflects off the water and makes us even more vulnerable to harmful UV rays.

Now some would dismiss his being diagnosed with this disease, and having a son who spent the majority of his life fishing as often as he possibly could, as a coincidence.

I see more, and perhaps it’s because I choose to see more. I have faith that there is more than might be apparent to us on the surface of things.

And that faith, even when this project has seemed daunting, difficult, unlikely or ill-advised, keeps me moving forward every day.

Because of that faith, we have Native Eyewear, Sunology Sunscreen, Get Vicious Fishing, Hanes, Rick Roth at Mirror Image and Buff, who have all donated either money, products, or their time to this effort. For that faith, the help that it has brought to this cause, and for my father’s service, sacrifice and love, I’m grateful every day.