Fishing travel tips
We at Aardvark have all entered the fishing travel industry from different walks of life and employment backgrounds. What brought us together, however, is the same; our love for the sport and our passion for travel. To wake every day to a job you love doing is a fantastic feeling and it is not one we would trade lightly.
Before we started employment at Aardvark we enjoyed fishing and travelling, which means that we have probably already experienced and overcome many of the pitfalls those new to travelling face. As such, we hope that by sharing a few tips we can help you avoid a few issues and prepare yourself better for what may well be a once in a lifetime trip. These should also help you get more out of your trip as they are something that should be remembered, shared and cherished.
1. ‘Do as I say don’t do as I do’; I am one of the worst for leaving packing to the last minute – more often than not I am stuffing things into by bag with minutes to spare before I need to leave the house. I know this should not be the case, but it always ends up being the case. Try to plan and organise what you need to take at least a few days in advance. Ideally use a spare room to do so where you can easily see everything you have ready to pack. Undertaking this process allows you to plug any gaps if you find something missing or broken but also to pack more considerately i.e. you can limit what you take if you have time to scrutinise.
2. Carry a digital backup of your travel documents; it’s reassuring to have paper documents. However, it is also nice to have a backup, just in case your paper versions get wet or lost. We utilise an application named Vamoos, which we provide to you as part of your booking free of charge. On this platform you can upload everything from a scan of your passport, insurance details through to your itinerary and emergency contact information.
3. Go with the flow; things do not always happen to the minute and schedules are not always regimented. Relax and just appreciate that things are happening just not as quickly or as efficiently as you expect closer to home. Do not let this spoil your holiday, it’s largely just local attitudes, Cuba being a prime example of where this is commonplace. You go on holiday to release tension not gain more. In my early days of travelling such things used to wind my up immensely. I now have a more relaxed outlook and understand that such things can usually not be controlled so getting worked up about them achieves very little.
4. Listen to the lodge staff and guides; they know best. It amazes me how many times we hear from guides that the guest just would not listen to instruction, how they came with their own approach and would not change regardless of failure. It is, of course, important to try new things and the guides will always be open to this. However, they are the experts, they live and breathe these destinations, so put your trust in them and more often than not the rewards will soon follow. Something not working? Fly not turning over? Always ask the guides for advice. Some will not do so unless prompted, as they do not want to offend you by openly offering such advice without being requested to do so.
5. Release the pressure and pace yourself; I often see clients turning up for trips with so much pressure on their shoulders to perform, catch a certain species or catch a fish of a certain size. It is often those that fish with a ‘if it takes it takes’ attitude that catch the most but also enjoy the most. The guides will do what they can but at the end of the day you are pursuing a wild fish. Lower your expectations, relax and things soon fall into place. It is important to pace yourself too; don’t fish yourself out over the first few days, leaving yourself exhausted for the reminder of the holiday. If the conditions are poor then sit back and relax or just fish lightly rather than flogging the water, conserving your energy when you need it the most.
6. Get some lessons before travelling; don’t turn up on a holiday of a lifetime and waste your own time and money by spending the first couple of days getting casting lessons to enable you to properly cover the water. Understand what the destination is about and what ability level is needed. Spending a few hours with an instructor before your trip is invaluable and means that you are ready to cover the water from day one, rather than learning the ropes and only fishing effectively after doing so. There are a huge number of instructors across the UK, with such organisations as GAIA and AAPGAI being good places to start your search.
7. Get your equipment scrutinised; whilst it’s nice to fish with the daiwa whisker handed down through generations from a nostalgic perspective the tackle has moved on a lot and making sure you turn up with the right equipment that can be fished with comfortably throughout your stay is critical. This will not only allow you to fish more efficiently but it will also allow you to do so more comfortably given the weight disparities at the very least. Also, most of the new rods pack down very small, which negates the necessity for long, cumbersome rod tubes for travel. Fantastic modern tackle can be accessed for very little money – no need to spend thousands, unless you want to, of course. Have a look through the recommended tackle for your trip then trawl through your local tackle shop for suitable equipment. Don’t spend thousands on a trip of a lifetime then approach your tackle with a ‘that will do’ attitude.
8. Document your trip; these trips are to be enjoyed but they should also be enjoyed by other when you return home. Beyond that, these are memories to be reflected on and cherished for years to come, if not a lifetime. As such, make sure you take a camera at the very least – an image soon transports you back to that moment and help you conjure memories.
9. Read the pre-departure information; the documents we send to you before you leave are for your benefit and are based on our experience from visiting the locations but also from the lodge owners, head guides and local people. They are these to save you time, make sure you are well prepared and to make sure you get the most out of your trip. They will take very little time to read and it will be time well spent. See any changes needed after your trip? We are always open to such suggestions and comments.
10. Get fit; some destinations are more physically demanding than others and some will definitely offer you a greater experience the fitter you are. No need to be ‘iron-man’ fit, but certainly being capable of walking a few miles and being able to cast for a few hours will hold you in good stead. This can be achieved by some simple exercise at home before your trip; build up your stamina gradually and set yourself new goals each week. Soon enough you will be able to fish long days with ease, getting the most for your money and from the experience.