In Search of Angler's Paradise by Mark Usyk

Here it is. It’s still pretty warm during the days, but they’re getting shorter, the nights are getting cooler, and I just chewed through a thin blanket of dry brown leaves as I mowed my lawn. Fall’s here, and while I enjoy fall, it’s what follows it that I’ve come to loath deep down inside. New York State is beginning to wear on me, what with its high taxes, and ice cold winter climates, I think it may be time to move on. The problem is where? I’ve drawn up a small list of things I’ll be looking for in a new place to call home, and once I’ve located the geographical location that will meet these needs, it’s see ya later thirty below zero winters and hello paradise. Please give my list below a read, and if it matches up with where you live or a place you vacation forward the place on to me so I can give it a look. My unrealistic wants and desires may depend on you.

  1. First off naturally I’m looking for a place that has a climate suited to fishing about 365 days a year, 366 on leap years… I’m looking for days that average about 70 degrees, but can dip down to about 60, and the thermometer could raise up to around 75 a few times a year and I’d be OK with that. I don’t want to have to wear 4 layers of clothes under my neoprene waders and get frost bite on my index fingers and thumbs while trying to tie on a fly or remove the ice from the guides every cast anymore during the winter. I also don’t like standing around and sweating profusely for no other reason than being outside of the air conditioned environment God intended us to be in during the hot summer months.
  2. I’m looking for a variety of fish, no less than, let’s say, 23. No, 24. I don’t know, I just like even numbers. I want to be able to take my 3wt small stream rod into the mountains for wild Trout in cool high altitude streams, but I’d also like the opportunity to cast poppers to Bass, Pike, Gar, you name it with my 7wt, and if I feel like it, wake up in the morning and wade out onto the salt flats and cast Shrimp and crab imitations to Permit and Bone fish on the Sand flats with a 10wt. A large variety of fish please.
  3. All of these opportunities should be no more than a 20 minute, half hour drive at most from my front door. So living in the country, at the bottom of a mountain range, next to the ocean would be preferable. Ideal would mean hitting fresh water on my back cast and salt on my forward cast. Come on, that has to exist somewhere…next to some mountains?
  4. I’d like a sparsely populated area, someplace that I’m not likely to run into anyone else on the water wherever it is I decide to fish. A population of let’s say…3.
  5. I’d also like the area to have a good number of fly shops. I guess at least 3 since that’s how many other people will live there. I like to walk around in them and pick up flies and study them and figure out how to tie it myself. And I like to fondle new gear that I’ll most likely never buy. And while I don’t want to share my fishing waters with other people, I like the idea of having a local fly shop hangout where they know your name and you can go in and have a coffee and shoot the breeze with other fishermen and the guy behind the counter and inspect the latest gear and maybe you get the inside scoop on hatches and tides and important stuff like that.
  6. Grass. I do not like to mow the lawn. So a place that has grass that grows higher than three inches will probably be a deal breaker. Having fulfilled all of the above requirements, taking time away from stopping at three fly shops on my way to chasing at least 24 species of fish only 20 minutes away in the mountains, on the countryside, and out on the salt flats, on beautiful 70 degree days where there are no other anglers, because the lawn needs to be cut just will not do. So if the grass grows above your ankles in this place that you think may meet my previously listed requirements…Don’t bother. I want fly shops, not lawn mower shops.
  7. Lastly, this place has to be cheap. If we sell this house that’ll probably give us enough money to move, but once we’re there obviously a job will be out of the question, unless it’s at one of the fly shops, where I will most likely spend all of my paycheck or just work in trade for gear. Cheap. Cheap cheap cheap.

It may take me a little while to find such a place, but I think if I really buckle down and do some serious research we should be all moved in within a month from now. The problem is that the days are getting shorter and so is the time allotted for fishing each day, so I don’t really know when I’ll have the time to Google search everything on this list. Oh screw it. I guess Holly better wash all my winter layers so they’re ready for the crap weather that’s coming in a couple months. I don’t have time for laundry…I’ve got to fish while I can. The days are getting shorter and I just wasted an hour mowing the damn lawn.