Hook, Line and Summer
Getaways for fishing and catching memories
photo courtesy Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa
To the uninitiated, the mention of a “fishing trip” might conjure up images of nothing more exciting or appealing than a dated cabin, a hook and bobber and a can of worms. Fortunately, there can be a lot more to enjoy than that, although it helps if you head to the right places. Whether it’s fly fishing on a stream in the mountains, pulling giant redfish from deep South Texas waters or deep-sea fishing from a yacht miles off the coast of Florida, there are dozens of ways folks can get out and fish – and do so in a luxurious and enjoyable manner. Here are some of our favorite fishing getaways for your summer adventure.
Devil’s Thumb, Colorado
Just outside Winter Park, on the outskirts of the tiny Colorado town of Tabernash, is Devil’s Thumb Ranch. Situated on more than 6,000 acres, it’s equal parts luxury and adventure and offers year-round, customizable outdoor experiences. Activities such as horseback riding, zip lining and world-class mountain bike riding are all cornerstones of an excellent outdoor experience, but perhaps most special at Devil’s Thumb are its fishing opportunities.
With four miles of Ranch Creek, as well as a mile of the Fraser River (both part of Colorado River water), Devil’s Thumb’s private fly fishing waters are truly unrivaled. The resort is home to a high-end fly shop, and offers both guide services and fly fishing lessons on one of the property’s two ponds for beginners.
Anglers have several options when it comes to accommodations. Both lodges offer beautifully appointed rooms with epic views to match. There is also a “bunk house,” as well as a private, off-the-beaten-path cabin for those wanting something a bit more remote. Devil’s Thumb is home to multiple dining experiences, which range from a casual drink and appetizer at Heck’s Tavern to a more sophisticated, yet understated, steak at Ranch House Restaurant and Saloon. See devilsthumbranch.com for more. – Matt Payne
Picture the perfect day: blue skies, warm breeze and fish just begging to bite. That was my experience in Apalachicola, Florida with Captain Justin McMillan.
We had barely passed the cut from Apalachicola Bay into the Gulf when I had a strike – and it felt like a whopper. We had found a school of Spanish mackerel, which are fast, feisty fish with mouths full of sharp teeth. Two friends and I were reeling them in faster than Justin could bait our hooks. It doesn’t get better than this.
Justin’s company, Journeys of St. George Island, can arrange a variety of experiences – fishing in Apalachicola Bay, the flats, fly fishing, off-shore, deep-sea, even fishing from kayaks. He also offers excursions for the non-fisherfolk in the family.
Apalachicola Bay boasts more than a hundred species of fish, and some of the nation’s best oysters. For fishing, food and fun, this spot hits the spot. For more, visit sgislandjourneys.com. – Elaine Warner
Baffin Bay, Texas
If you’ve never gone after redfish, you are missing out on something epic. These monsters, which can come in at up to 60 inches, lurk in abundance in South Texas’ Baffin Bay, and no place makes it more fun to catch these remarkable fish than Baffin Bay Rod and Gun. The redfish are drawn to the dense populations of crab and shrimp that live in the shallow grass flats around the lake’s perimeter, creating an ideal opportunity for both fly and tackle fishermen.
While the surge in the redfish population has been a draw, what makes it more alluring to anglers are the trophy trout. Early spring and fall are the most ideal times to fish for trout in Baffin Bay, but dedicated fisherman can find them almost year-round. Winter is perhaps the best time to net some of the water’s largest trout, many of which are up to 30 inches.
The Baffin Bay Lodge is a remote and comfortable hotel ideal for visitors heading to the bay. Guest rooms open onto a pool and can sleep up to four, making them ideal for family getaways. There is also a Lovers’ Suite for couples seeking something a bit more spacious. Executive Chef Adam Gonzalez brings years of experience as an executive chef in both Austin and Houston to the Baffin Bay Road and Gun, to ensure that guests don’t go out on the water hungry. Visit baffinbaylodge.com. – MP
Lake of the Woods, Canada
Fortified by hot chocolate and croissants, I stood in the dawn chill on the deck of the Grace Anne II, watching a formation of sleek fishing boats approaching the yacht. The goal: to snag one of the legendary mighty muskellunge lurking in the Canadian waters of the Lake of the Woods.
Later, abandoning the uncooperative muskies, my companions and I savored a gourmet breakfast prepared by the French-trained chef aboard the historic 85-foot yacht.
Sated and back to fishing, we found the walleyes were more amenable. It was catch and release – except for a number of nice fish to be prepared by the crew for a shore lunch on a private island.
Take this as a tiny taste of the myriad activities and amenities to be enjoyed on the Grace Anne II. There’s nothing like being rocked to sleep on the yacht, but landlubbers may opt for the island lodge. This feels like how the one percent goes fishing. Check out graceanne.com – EW