For my part, the answer to this question has, over the last decade or so, become largely no. As a father of two and someone with hobbies outside the world of fishing, this is notable. It's not to say that fishing is the primary objective of my every trip I've taken in that time, or even that I've put in time on the water on every vacation, but I cannot recall an excursion I've planned in the last ten years where fishing was not at least a factor in the planning.
Fishing-specific travel aside, I've mixed or tried to mix fly fishing in with all manner of other travel. I've strived to fit chasing winter trout on spring-influenced streams and tailwater fisheries during winter ski trips to the Rocky Mountain West with old college friends. Family travel most certainly hasn't been safe from the urge to hit the water: I've pursued striped bass on the flats off the southern shores of Martha's Vineyard during an extended week at the beach, tried to squeeze a half-day bonefish outing into a recentt trip to Disney World, plied the waters of Vermont's Lake Champlain for carp and bowfin endeavored to while on a late-summer getaway to the Champlain Islands, swung flies on Oregon's Deschutes River when visiting my sister-in-law in Portland and so on.
In fact, I've become accustomed and excited to explore the fishing opportunities of each area where we find ourselves headed when fishing isn't the driving force behind the trip. Often this offers the opportunity to learn about and explore fisheries that I'd most likely not pursue otherwise. Sure, this isn't the case with locales such as Martha's Vineyard or Oregon's Deschutes, which are destinations that would rightfully draw anglers from across the country solely for the purpose of fishing there. But, for many other destinations, this is the commonly the case.
Later this month, I'll be headed west of Denver into the flurry of ski resorts that crowd the I-70 corridor. I'm there to ski, bringing my two daughters along on their first ski trip. And, thanks to the absolutely horrifying level of expense, we're cramming it all into three days, leaving little -- if any -- time for other pursuits. But, just on the other side of Vail pass flows the Blue River, a tailwater fishery which a friend recently reminded me is known for its big rainbows. Not long thereafter I began the to check flights for potential changes, explored extending our lodging or simply sneaking out for half a morning while the rest of the family hit the slopes -- more for my own satisfaction at entertaining the idea rather than any likelihood of actually finding time to hit the water. There's simply not enough time. But there's always that nagging feeling, "wouldn't it be foolish not to pack waders and a rod? Just in case?"
I can't help but wonder whether my tendency to try to work fishing into all of my travels is a sign of my love for the sport or of an unhealthy obsession. Am I a dedicated angler, or an asshole that insists on finding time for fitting his passion into the logistics of travel with an entirely separate purpose? Truth be told, I always endeavor to do my part and avoid making my fishing escapes an inconvenience on those I travel with, so no one seems to mind. And I suppose I should expect to have the urge to explore a well known Colorado trout river given that I can hardly drive past a roadside drainage ditch without wondering what quarry one could seek there with a fly rod? Still, I can't help but ponder whether I should just leave it behind now and then, allowing the focus to fall entirely away from fishing.
Ben James replied on Permalink
Well, certainly sounds familiar. I always make it a point to try to fit fishing into any trips I plan. And this usually isn't hard. I'm typically traveling to do something in the outdoors, even if fishing isn't the purpose, and strive to keep my kids doing the same. Who needs the Disney World bullshit? Sure, there are day trips to Six Flags -- that I can take. But if I'm taking the family away for a week, I'd rather them not be spending money pouring quarters into a machine or sitting or cramming soft serve into their face on the boardwalk. Fitting fishing in usually works well with these trips.
I haven't done fishing in the frigid snowy Rockies though. That's getting after it!
ginkthefly replied on Permalink
You're not an asshole, you're a fisherman.
Steve K replied on Permalink
Let's do the math:
Their first ski trip.
Only 3 days.
You're going to miss 1/2 a day of that to fish by yourself.
You otherwise already think about, write about, and fish for your day job.
I'm in no position to judge, but your daughters will remember the time they spent with you on this trip. Taking the waders might also send mixed messages to your spouse about your priorities for the trip.
Chad Shmukler replied on Permalink
No, given 3 days there's just no way to make it happen, thus the talk of extending the trip. Additionally, I wouldn't dream of missing time with the kids. Wouldn't want to. They'd be off at ski school if/when I snuck out.
Bringing up my current travels was more a way to demonstrate how fishing finds a way to weasel its way into my travels, even if only as a fantasy.
Chad Shmukler replied on Permalink
Oh - and for the record - I struggle to find days on the water like anyone else. Possibly more so. You'd be surprised.