As told by YakGear Brand Ambassador Robert Field.
When I tell people that I recently moved from Texas to Florida, I’m usually met with “Oh, got sick of Texas, huh?” But that isn’t the case at all. I’ve always loved Texas, I still do, and I probably always will. But at one point or another, just about everyone requires a change of scenery. For me, that time came last fall.
For a self-diagnosed obsessive angler, Florida is the promised land. There’s water everywhere. No, I’m talking literally everywhere. Every canal, drainage ditch, creek, pond or puddle could hold a monster bass or a snakehead or, down south, a myriad of exotic aquarium escapees. Fishing is ingrained in the culture here in a way that I’ve never encountered anywhere else in the United States. If I meet someone here and they tell me that they don’t fish, my automatic response is “Oh, where are you from?” Surely they couldn’t have grown up here, where fathers shove fishing rods in their daughter’s hands instead of barbies, and boys grow up yanking big bass out of the neighborhood canals.
Back when I lived in Dallas, it was a good three-hour drive to find desirable water to fish. Sure, the muddy rivers and lakes around me held bass and catfish, but nothing that got my excited. Now, living in southwest Florida, there’s easily 200 game fish species reachable within those three hours. Right in my backyard, I can chase big bass and catfish in freshwater, or within a few miles, I can hit the bays for speckled trout, redfish, snook, flounder, tarpon, and a variety of sharks. Heading offshore here on the west coast I can find kingfish, Spanish mackerel, red snapper, amberjack, and grouper, or, heading east 2 1/2 hours put me in prime hunting grounds for blackfin tuna, mahi-mahi, wahoo, and sailfish.
Bottom line: no matter what I’m in the mood for, it’s within reach here in Florida.
No place is perfect, and I certainly don’t intend to live out the rest of my days here in the Sunshine State. But for now, I’m certainly not complaining about living where I used to vacation.