In the early days of the world wide web, editors at an outdoors magazine asked me to write a weekly fishing report for their new website. Each week, I called a dozen tackle shops across the country to find out what was biting, where and how.
To tackle the assignment, I turned to another new application on the Internet: Google Maps. Each Tuesday, I would open Google Earth, pick a part of the country, zoom in to the biggest body of water, search the term “bait and tackle” and call the results for a fishing report.
I called hundreds of shops and outfitters across the country. From East to West, Gulf to Great Lakes, I learned one thing: people are crazy about fishing.
Whether I was talking to Florida flats fishermen or Michigan walleye anglers, steelhead sharpies in Oregon or steelhead sharpies in New York, every hollow and glen harbors fanatical anglers who take chasing trophies to extremes.
Expert anglers spend hours dialing in the perfect dry fly for rainbow trout in Idaho and the best leech rig for walleye in Ohio. Just like I am batshit crazy about targeting big red drum in the surf, other anglers are equally nuts about chasing paddlefish in midwestern rivers.
Kayak Fishing is Still Making Waves
For this issue of Kayak Angler, I decided to test the concept with kayak fishing. Twenty years ago, when I was compiling the weekly online report, kayak fishing wasn’t a thing. After two decades, I wanted to know, has the sport covered the country with expert anglers in every corner?
The result is the feature The United States Of Fishing. To compile the guide, we started by reaching out to sources in every state. Through our network of contributors, guides, outfitters and pros, we were able to find the best anglers in the country.
We asked each local legend: if a visitor had one day to fish in your state, where would you send him. Then we quizzed the guru on keys to finding and catching a trophy fish. The final product provides enough information to go fishing anywhere in the country.
And, to go with the diverse fishing opportunities anglers across the country pursue, there are more kayaks of every flavor. Twenty years ago, there were a handful of boats for fishing, today there are a dozen boats just for river fishing.
So, a lot has changed in 20 years, but much has stayed the same. While kayak fishing has grown faster than any segment of the sport. One thing remains true, from coast to coast and every small pond, rocky river to wild lake, anglers everywhere are still crazy about fishing.
All across the U.S., you don’t have to look far to find great kayak fishing. | Feature photo: David Feucht