Go South, Fish Cheap

Tail

Use this frugal Yankee's plan to fish 10 places where the weather's fine, the bite is hot, and the cash stays in your pocket.
by John Merwin
(reprinted from this year's December/January Field & Stream)

In the hard reality of a New England January, I'm scraping ice off my truck or plowing yet another snowfall from my driveway. In my daydreams, though, I'm fishing somewhere warm, wishing I didn't have to wait four months for the spring thaw. Sure, I could book a $5,000 week at a tropical lodge, but one way or another the mortgage and the taxes and the kids' tuition usually manage to intervene.

So I sometimes travel and fish cheaply. I go to places where at the very least I don't have to confront a blizzard, and at best I'm squishing sun-warmed sand between my toes. If you're willing to explore, to paddle a rented kayak or canoe, and to camp out on your own, there's a whole world of low-budget getaways that don't involve high-end lodge fees and $10 pina coladas.

The following 10 trips are among the best values anywhere. Some are cheaper than others, but all are unbeatable deals. To help you compare costs, I've priced recent airfares from Chicago as a central location. You'll generally have to add the price of a rental car, which will run from $125 to $400 or more a week. Most of these trips will involve some work in putting travel details together, but even that is enjoyable anticipation. And it sure beats shoveling snow.

Bass on the Border
The Redfish Remedy
Sunshine Largemouths
Snowbelly Camp
Buenos Beaches
The Bonefish Bargain
Dry Flies in January
The Ozark Escape
The Tarpon Trail
The Cajun Tour