It’s no accident that many of the earliest settled cities were adjacent to waterways or ports. Historians believe this was done as a means of transportation and a source of water, which by all accounts are very good, practical, and important reasons. But personally, I’d like to think that part of the reason was because people like to fish. (Plus fishing was a source of food, which is also very good, practical, and important.) 

While the purpose and intent of fishing may have evolved with Westward expansion, our society’s love of fishing remains the same. And, what most avid anglers don’t realize is that many destinations are just a short cast from a little fishing adventure. Cities like New York City, Rome, Rio, and Paris each draw tourists and business travelers alike, but their proximity to water provides a great — though slightly unexpected — opportunity to wet a line. 

It’s Just So Easy to Not Leave Home Without It

When it comes to traveling, some head to rugged mountains; others prefer soaking up new cultures. Some seek out seclusion — a trip deep in the heart of jungles or deserts or private islands. It’s why we vacation. It’s why we live. It’s the lure of traveling. Did I say lure? Good, I meant to. 

Think about your past travel destination… my guess is you were probably just minutes away from a lake, river, or ocean to dip a line in. It just takes a little research before your trip to determine if bringing your pole is a good idea. Plus, unlike hunting, traveling with fishing gear is much less of a chore. And fishing on vacation is a great way to get in some relaxation time devoted just to you. 

From saltwater angling the awesome coastal waters of Rio and Hawaii to casting along the Nile River in Cairo, opportunities are as plentiful as possible destinations. And if business takes you to Chicago, bring along your gear and sample Lake Michigan’s aquatic opportunities.

Include Angling in the Plan

Fishing can be a primary, or secondary, aspect of any vacation. The electronic, global society we live in today makes it so easy to find out about the area you’re heading to — what bodies of water are nearby, the area fishing guides available, bait shops, rental stores, etc. It can all be found with a few clicks of the mouse. All too often we’re focused on a singular purpose of an excursion, when, realistically and quite simply, fishing can fit just about anywhere in between. 

Case in point: I’ve always been an early riser, whether on regular work detail or a family vacation. I awake hours before sunrise. This does not go over well with my spouse, who considers sleeping deep into the morning a built-in part of vacationing. But, over the course of years, I have developed a system to appease us both. In the final minutes before turning in for the night, I’ll make sure my sandals, hat, and favorite coffee mug are strategically placed next to the motel room door. I quietly slip out in the wee morning hours and find myself with a smile on my face and a pole in my hand… and I’m nowhere close to home. 

Anglers know and relate that fishing, no matter where or when, is a great way to relax and unwind. The benefits multiply across the board: my family is peacefully sleeping and I’m not pacing in and out of the motel room disturbing them, trying to keep myself occupied with newspapers or situps or jumping on the bed.

On the converse, if you’re a notorious night owl and yet the traditional flare of late night entertainment is not your thing, a few casts before bed may be just the cure — especially while on vacation to help you wind down from an action-packed day of sightseeing. A happy coincidence: early mornings and late evenings normally coincide with the increased rate of activity for fish, making a side hour of fishing not only an easy fit for your day, but potentially quite fruitful. 

How to Optimize Your Potential to Fish

So how can you maximize your time and fishing pleasure while keeping things as efficient as possible?

First of all, put fishing in its proper place and priority. If it’s down the list on a family vacation, don’t force it to the top. Treat the fishing more as an opportunity to explore, should the vacation present a few hours of open time. Don’t worry if plans don’t pan out and a chance to cast never materializes. Fishing gear is light and takes up little room, so you won’t be wasting much luggage space.

If you’ve a full day off sandwiched around work, you may want to check a little further into booking a local guide or outfitter and researching a little more exclusive information to ensure your expectations are met. 

A good point is to make certain you’ve equipped yourself with the proper licensing and regulations. After researching the Web for your particular destination, a couple phone calls to the regulating agency will help answer questions and keep your outing from being unnecessarily intruded by more than a routine check by regulating officers. 

While planning your vacation, whether for work or pleasure, if fishing is of interest, ask your travel advisor or research the Web for lodging that’s proximate to a little fishing. The less distance needed to fish, the better your odds for getting a chance to enjoy it. So  if all things considered are equal, you can easily sway the odds in favor of wetting a line.

Ask the Locals for Tips

Much of the technical aspects of the angling outing will be determined by your destination. From saltwater and deep-water ocean fishing to freshwater angling of lakes or rivers, catching fish all comes down to knowing the target species and combining a few local hot tips. This is where local knowledge can turn a few casts into a couple fish. 

Angling is a universal language, and odds are that a short conversation with a local could land you a few essential fishing secrets for the area you’ve traveled to. Fishing is a welcoming fraternity and armed with a little insight you’re sure to generate a warm response from a local who’s been able to aide a fellow angler in sampling local fishing. There’s a certain amount of pride in passing along a hot tip to a fellow angler. So, don’t be afraid to ask the bait shop cashier where the best bass fishing is. You may wind up with more than just a cooler full of fish — you could have a friend to fish with next time you return to the area. 

As you plan the next business trip or family vacation, take a second look at the map and chances are you’ll find water close by, and that means fish too. And I’ve yet to mention how happy your spouse and family will be not waking up to your crunching the newspaper.