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Culebra, Puerto Rico and Cape May, New Jersey might not be on your radar as premier fishing destinations. Chris Goldmark would tell you otherwise. Chris has been a guide in those two locations for over 20 years now and has built up a reputation as one of the premier flats guides in Puerto Rico. For those of you not familiar with Culebra, it’s a small Island off the east coast of Puerto Rico that holds some of the biggest bonefish in the Caribbean. You can find Chris their October through April, the rest of the year he’s up on the mainland in South Jersey.

culebra fly fishing puerto rico
Chris Goldmark on the water in Culebra, Puerto Rico.

Chris is a true waterman, having grown up in Cape May and being in or around the salt his whole life. He’s the current IGFA world record holder for largest fluke ever taken on the fly (8.2 lbs.) a fish he caught a few years back in Cape May when he found some free time from running two marinas and guiding clients for stripers on the back bay.

Now head guide for Beaufort, South Carolina's Bay St. Outfitters, Tuck Scott was born and bred in South Carolina's lowcountry, having fished the region for most of his life. This amounts to almost 3 decades of experience, as Tuck puts it, fishing, shrimping, and "gigging" the waters of the lowcountry coast (feel free to do what I did, and just pretend you know what "gigging" is).

Hosting a trophy.
Hoisting a trophy.

When people from the north, or presumably anywhere else but the American southeast, talk about the south, they're always talking about how "life is slower down there". My guess is that most people are just regurgitating that sentiment without having experienced it or even knowing what it means, a practice which is firmly poised to overtake baseball as America's favorite pastime. Once you've been there, however, you realize there's something to it. That "something" is the people, and Tuck's one of them, complete with the requisite southern drawl.

Tom Larimer, owner and operator of Larimer Outfitters in Hood River, Oregon, guides clients year-round on the rivers of the Columbia Gorge in search of steelhead and trout. As it happens, Tom is one of those guides that, after a day of fishing, makes it painfully easy to reflect on what a shitty fisherman you are. While you're standing in the river like a dope -- horking out sloppy casts to waiting steelhead, focused solely on whether or not that tug is coming -- Tom's standing there thinking about all the things that up your chances of feeling that tug: fly depth and profile, sun angle, water temperature, your rig, you name it. This guy plays the game at a level that most of us are either not capable of or to lazy to bother with. 20 years of experience chasing steelhead in the Great Lakes, Oregon, British Columbia and Alaska combined with obsessive persistence and innovative thinking has its advantages.

Tom Larimer

The Salmon River in New York State, which flows into Lake Ontario, is widely considered one of the finest salmon and steelhead fisheries in the east. On the Salmon River and other great lakes tributaries in New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan (amongst others), anglers are afforded shots at strong runs of powerful fish that they'd otherwise have to travel across the country to find. While the Salmon River is an eastern mecca for anglers seeking king salmon, coho salmon and steelhead, the traditional fly fisherman may find the brand of fly fishing most common on the Salmon River somewhat out of the ordinary.

James Plante is a fly fishing guide and instructor for the Housatonic River Outfitters, Inc. in Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut. He guides and instructs on the Housatonic and Farmington Rivers and is an avid saltwater fly fisherman. Jim describes fly fishing as "both is his passion and his love," a sentiment perhaps most appreciated by his wife and two children. He sleeps, drinks, breathes, and eats fly fishing. Whether he is on the water or off, his love and passion for the sport shine through.