Fishing Travel Tips

by Franco Fomulo, Italian Editor

Publisher's note: English is Franco's third language so we left this as is for the full flavor of his comments.

As experienced traveler-angler I think that a good idea would be to give some tips for the angler searching for big fish and new preys. I have a "score" of more than hundred fishing-trips in every continent: salmon fishing in Russia, Labrador, Scotland, Iceland, Norway, Ireland, Spain, Alaska; saltwater fly-fishing in Belize, South Africa, Bahamas, Venezuela; Big Game in Mexico, Australia, Kenya, Seychelles, Canary Islands; Trout fishing in Chile, Tierra del Fuego, Lapland, ex-Yugoslavia, Austria. I have fished for pikes in Poland and Canada, for peacock-bass in the Amazon etc. Now I am the manager of a lodge in Cuba specialized in saltwater fishing: bonefish, tarpon, etc.

Two nice Jacks from Franco's fishing camp in Cuba


A wise fisherman said that a guy goes in a new place to verify which equipment will occur it, so the next time he will be well equipped. You do however a list of all things you need. All the good travel agency always supply with a list of clothing and fishing-tackles. Check the list of clothing and equipment some week before to leave as if you have ordering some tackle to your shop there is enough time to stock. As you pack all the items, check them off again.

Don't waiting the last minute to check the validity of the passport. The evening before departure (or at return) assured that passport and ticket are handy. Above all don't put in suit-case!!!!. This happens much often of how much you believe it, also at expert travelers. During fishing you don't take with you the passport (a fall in the water is always possible), but in case a photocopy that you will take from home. You should arrive at the airport well ahead of the scheduled flight time. If the company asks to be two hours first, you add at least an half-hour. A flat tire, an accident in the way that blocks traffic could making you losing travel, particularly if don't exist other flights the same day.

Hard suit-cases always give problem if you're using small baggage car, small hydroplane or a boat, where space can be a problem. Leave your good suitcases at home. They don't belong on a fishing trip. Duffel or soft bag are the best for a fishing trip, better if with a zipper from the two sides to provide easier access. Make sure that your name and address are clearly printed on all luggage. If you think to take liqueurs, put them in a bottle of plastic and put it in suit-case. You won't have to worry of broken glasses.


It has to contain the necessary from toilet, medicinal essential, a change of linen and a minimum fishing equipment (if your luggage ends at Peking instead that at Dublin, at least you can fish). No matter where you go, take a two-piece rain suit with you and make sure you pack it on top of your luggage where it is easy to reach. If you have it at the bottom of your duffel and you arrive at the camp in a downpour, you'll be soaked by the time you retrieve it. Assure that your camera is on hand. Don't keep in hand-luggage gaffs, knives etc.

Never leave any unguarded luggage in airports or hotels. The rod-cases often roll out from trolleys of airports and/or are forgotten on a corner from the airport employees charge besides they are clumsy or pitiless in handling our delicate rods, it occurs therefore to provide of travel-rods in 3/4 pieces. In this way can be carried in a comfortable case that can pass as hand-luggage

You don't have to carry a lot of cash with you. But you will need some money (boarding taxes, tips, personal purchases). Take some 1-10-20 dollar bills with you. Keep separate money, passport and credit cards. Leave jewels and precious watches at home: they can become problems. Besides they can be damaged or destroyed by salt water. The repulsive for insects and solar creams ruins crystal. Buy an inexpensive watch: the flashing of expensive jewels could become a temptation.

Tips for Guides

In most of the lodges the staff is tipped with a sum that is distributed equally by the manager to the guides, housekeeping staff, and maintenance personnel. Often they are ignored and contribute like captains, guides, and sailors to success of the a trip. Ask to the manager for the tips-range. A good rule of thumb is to keep in mind is to tip 10% of lodge rates for a super treatment. If you have particularly pleased with your guide, give a small sum as extra tip or an object (glasses, a knife, the wife*) that can be welcome.

* Editor's note: As a fellow Italian I suspect Franco didn't mean this, but it's an interesting idea! 

Any place in the world can guarantee a year of 365 excellent days of fishing, but there will be always some negative moments for different reasons. Also during the best periods you can expect days that aren't fantastic. Ask in advance about the season and which equipment you need for alternate angling targets.

Do prepare gear early. If nylon in reels is old, change it before leaving. Don't wait to change it in the boat or at the lodge. To find nylon, lines etc. in a remote camp can be a problem. It is a sad thing discover you have ended flies just while fishes are biting.

Many lodges doesn't have cigarettes for sale, and the nearest store is a long boat ride away, so smokers should bring their own week's supply.

Pack a kit for a such common complaints as diarrhea, upset stomach, motion sickness, headache, adhesive bandage. Include any prescription medicines you normally require. Those who need medicines take them from home, because chemist's shops don't sell medicinal without medical prescription and often don't accept prescriptions released in other countries. Be careful of air conditioning: changes of temperature often are causes of disagreeable colds. Those who suffer air or seasickness can take XAMAMINA that is stronger, at least half an hour before travel or Travel Gum (the effect is blander but works immediately after two or three minutes). Also You can use system with plasters Transcop (to apply a few hours first, it lasts three days). If you have this problem avoid however huge breakfasts before going out in a boat. Always keep in your bag some repellent. The repellent is also effective against no-see-hum and sand flies you might find along beaches if you do some surf fishing. Some pill of vitamin B a few days before departure offers an adequate protection against bites.

Even if you have 10/10 ,always wears glasses when you are fishing. Sometimes accidents cant happen, particularly when the fishing is close to other fishermen. A cast-mistake, a gust of wind or a spoon can leave the hold while fish jumps. Always keep them assured with a string, you will avoid that they fall in water. If you fish in saltwater remember to wash in fresh water each evening the whole equipment that it has come get in touch with saltwater (lures, reels ect.).

When you fish to the Tropics remembers that the heat can swell graphite and sometimes can be a problem when you try to disassemble the rod. The best way to prevent this is to pass a candle (or wax) before unite the pieces of the rod. If you have got rods and new reels, before to leave check that foot of these enter into the rods.

There are assurances that foresee cancellations motivate by work or health. Reservations in the best places needs deposits with a remarkable advance. It is worth therefore taking in consideration an assurance that contemplates these risks.

Better have film and a camera if you get something unique, like swimming with a whale shark.


Don't forget to bring plenty of film for your camera: it will be a good way to immortalize your catches. In many remote places it is impossible to find rolls. The new compact waterproof cameras are easy to use and they stay in a pocket. If you leave your cameras in the luggage that will go in the airplane, remember that batteries can result non functional for some time. This is due to the cold but after some time at normal temperature they will retake to work. Sand, water and excessive dampness can cause damages and is therefore useful taking some plastic-bags to keep the rolls and cameras. Also excessive heat can damage, therefore don't leave cameras in the sun. Don't worry too much for rain. Pure water, contrary to salty water, doesn't damage instruments, be sure to dry well before packing. To avoid that lens get misted when you go out from a air condition hotel wait a good ten minutes before using them.

Who loves holiday in camper be careful that, at reservation, that on the brochures for "six comfortable places" it intends a camper great enough for three friends (truly friends) with their equipments and a change of dresses everyone.

Assured that clothing is suitable to climate of where you will go to fish. If there are 100° degrees in Dallas saying not that will be also hot in Alaska. For the same reason if you point towards the Tropics assured to have shirts with long sleeves and trousers long to secure you from sun and from insects. A burn is quicker way to ruin an expensive fishing-travel. Never believe at who says you that insects aren't a problem: always take repellent.

When you fly into a remote river or lake the weight is always too much and many pilots don't accept more than 20 kilos of luggage. You have to pondered the "small extra". In clothes, for example, it can save room and while a hot and waterproof parka is almost always essential, isn't necessary a daily change of dresses. Choice of clothes has to answer in general a criteria of practicality and comfort, hygiene, to match the climate. A fundamental principle is to keep present when choose clothes is that one of clothing "at layers": it is much better in fact to have many light clothes to wear upon, rather that an only heavy.

On case of "hard" fishing under rain the ideal is represented or from a modern and functional jacket in Gore-Tex; this offers an excellent impermeability, et the transpiration and represent also an excellent protection against wind. Much attention is fastening to the with the and to wrists that it has to have a good watertight to avoid to water to enter (we keep in mind that hands, in phase of casting and fishing, often are up, in the air). The Velcro is the ideal in how much adaptable at any wrist.