Two weeks ago the frame on my Toyota 4-Runner broke when one tire bounced through a pot hole. I wasn’t angry for the truck was a 2000 model and I had put nearly 250,000 miles on the odometer. The truck took me through rivers to get to bird hunting coverts, down the beach in search of pods of blitzing bass or blues, and many points in between. In looking at new/used vehicle prices I am happy to report sticker shock. It’s not that new rigs aren’t worth it, they are. It’s more about the fact that I hadn’t bought a truck in such a long while that I couldn’t believe how much they cost.
Fishing vacations are similar, too. Sure you can splurge on a deluxe trip where you live high on the hog and break the bank. But if you’re looking at other rising expenses as I am, then my fishing trips are going to have to be scaled back. Way back….
But I live to fish, so that concept isn’t sitting well with me. And so, camping is the perfect way for me and my family to get away from home, spend time outdoors, and catch some fish in between. Compared to a hotel or a lodge, campsites are inexpensive, with many of them offering waterfront spots. Some sites are equipped with bath houses with hot running water while others offer fire pits, grills for a BBQ, and even family entertainment and activities. The combination of inexpensive lodging as well as home cooked meals keeps costs down considerably. If you chose the right place then there is no shortage of good fishing.
But there is much more to a camping/fishing trip than price. Look for the value in the sounds and smells. In the morning you’ll enjoy the wood smoke from a campfire. Bacon, eggs, and coffee won’t be far behind. In the evening is the smoke accompanied with a grilled steak and fire-roasted potatoes. If you’re inland you might smell spruce and if you’re on the coast you might enjoy the briny salt. Those sounds and smells match up with a gurgling river or crashing waves.
But we’re here to go fishing, and it’s wonderful to wake up early, walk for a few minutes and find trout rising to a BWO hatch. It’s the mid-day jon boat launch where, after a few strokes on the oars you’ll cast soft plastics to bass cruising through the lily pads. And it’s the evening stroll down to the beach where the bluefish rip into butterfish as the sun sets. The campground is the place where we hang our hats. And what a place it is.
Tom Keer is an award-winning freelance writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or at www.thekeergroup.com.