Save big on baggage fees on your next fishing trip

Hiding in plain sight is a policy that can save you hundreds of dollars the next time you fly
3 checked bags + 2 carry-on bags = no fees (photo: Chad Shmukler).

These days, when I travel to fish, I've become accustomed to eating huge airline baggage fees. In fact, I've simply been trained into factoring $150-$300 extra in baggage fees into my travel budgeting. For anglers like myself and most others with whom I've slogged my way through airports, the usual setup goes something like this: a rod + reel case, a gear bag (boots, waders, flies, lines and other misc gear) and a duffel or suitcase with your clothes and toiletries. Sadly, 1 + 1 + 1 = 3 and 3 is the magic number.

A public lands betrayal

Congress and the Trump administration have thrown sportsmen and women under the bus
Photo: BLM

I once watched three tawny mountain lions glide down a snow-dusted hillside. The closest jumped up on a fallen log perhaps 40 feet away and then, without so much as a sound, leaped off and disappeared into the depths of the forest. Another time, an entire family of otters swam over to investigate my fly casting as I waded the icy currents of a beautiful Montana stream.

Where is my fly?

Knowing where your fly is fishing is half the battle
Photo: Josh Stewart

John looked back and glared at me through his copper lenses. He was frustrated, exasperated and worn out. I’d just told John, for the third time, to drift his fly on the inside of a large midstream boulder. But his cast and the resulting drift were far away from the mark and even further away from any chance of hooking a trout. So I started to speak the sentence again, a little lighter this time, with a little more empathy.

“Just drift your fly on the inside of . . .”

John interrupted. He shook his head in anger and leaned in toward me.

Because manatee

It is the tropics’ least-threatening creature that has unleashed the most terror upon my soul
Photo: A. Wells / cc2.0

As backcountry anglers, we stumble upon some pretty impressive wild creatures while we fish. For me, seeing bears in the Alaskan rainforest, gators in the swamp or sharks while wading the flats is almost as much fun as actually fishing.