Great Outdoors columnist James Murray. (File photo)

Great Outdoors columnist James Murray. (File photo)

Column: Virtually fleeing self-isolation for distant exotic locales

Great Outdoors by James Murray

By James Murray


As winter drags on and the COVID-19 related need to self-isolate at home lingers, I find it harder to even think about the future, let alone make plans for it.

Doubt and uncertainty have seemingly permeated their way into many, if not most decisions. We live in a different world, that’s for sure.

Normally at this time of year I would be eagerly planning any number of fishing trips for the coming season. I would probably be on the phone with my friend Cory trying to figure out the best time to combine some sturgeon fishing with a salmon or steelhead run. I would likely be reading all sorts of articles in old fishing magazines about opportunities to catch two- and three-pound rainbow trout in lakes that I have not previously fished. And, I would also be searching on the Internet for tactical information such as hydrographic maps of specific lakes, types of regional insect hatches and suggested fly patterns, as well as general information on roads, seasonal access, local tackle stores and possible accommodations.

Ah yes, the internet where there is just so much information available – sometimes almost too much.

In fact, there’s so much information available now online that a person has a hard time making up their mind. By the time you have decided on one model of this or that, they’ve changed models and there’s a newer, better, up-graded and improved version available. Not to mention the fact that if you can’t find the newest version of something, you are bound to find an older version of it up for auction.

If you are not careful, checking out stuff on Ebay can be more dangerous than having an itchy nose at a used farm equipment auction.

Having said that, sometimes I do look up all-inclusive fishing trips to places like Belize and New Zealand. I know I’ll never be able to afford them, but it doesn’t hurt to look – and maybe dream a little. I can see myself in one of those fancy new angling kayaks they use down there, cruising through the bright blue waters along the Belize Barrier Reef, casting my line to tarpon and bonefish. After a hard day’s fishing I could head back to my cabana, put my feet up and enjoy a long, tall, cool Kahlua and cream. I could just sit there and think about what I might do mañana.

All those descriptions and pictures online of places like Belize and New Zealand are just so alluring. You can almost hear the waves, taste the salt air and feel the warm ocean breeze on your face. I never thought I would say this, but a person can (almost) experience going somewhere without ever having to leave home, and maybe, in this time of Covid-19, that isn’t really such a bad thing. We can fulfill some of our dreams without actually having to leave self isolation – well, almost. One can vicariously experience exotic places without even having to travel – which we are not allowed to anyways – and we can experience a certain amount of pleasure and enjoyment without endangering our lives. Yes, COVID-19 has changed our lives in many ways but there are ways to cope. We can still plan for the future.

I think I’m going to pour myself a nice, long, tall, cool Kahlua and cream, settle into my La-Z-Boy chair and read one of my old fishing magazines. I might even find an article about fishing for tarpon on bright blue waters along the Belize Barrier Reef. I can just sit back, relax and feel the warm ocean breeze on my face. As I turn the pages I can even think about mañana.

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