I’ve never met Indiana angler Bob Daly face to face, but he serves as a constant reminder of an angling life well-lived. As I’ve transferred from being a tournament angler to someone who prefers to put his time, money and energy into far-flung travel, I’ve learned that there is a small cadre of anglers both nationwide and worldwide who do the same – just at a much more advanced and frequent level than I do – and Bob is deeply enmeshed in their subculture. Every time I look at his Facebook account, it seems, he’s returning from a trip to Alaska or Tanzania or New Guinea. Every time I find a new place that I’m interested in visiting, I need only go into his photo galleries and I’m sure to find evidence of his trip or trips to that location.
Of course I’m envious of his travels, but I realize that there’s plenty more time for me to add stamps to my passport, scars to my fish-holding hands and replicas to my walls. At 47 years old, and with retirement planning on firm footing, there’s almost no trip that’s out of my range if I decide that I want it badly enough. Of course resources and time are not limitless, so I’ll need to prioritize which ones I want to tackle first. With exotic locations there’s the additional concern that they’ll be found out and exploited, or despoiled by some sort of industry or misuse, so that comes into the planning as well. I don’t want to miss out on any opportunities that might not be there in a few years. Fortunately, as I’ve also learned by cyber-stalking Bob’s Facebook timeline, there are likely more cool fishing destinations left for me than I could manage in multiple lifetimes.
I’ve also taken inspiration in the pictures of his home, which seems to be held up by dozens of mounts, replicas, photos, and other reminders of his travels. Unless I get run over by a bus or killed by a jealous husband, there will likely come a time in my 80s or 90s when I’m no longer able to engage in even somewhat adventurous travel. I hope that by then my house resembles Bob’s, with the finned memories of a lifetime chasing dreams visible on every surface. I just hope that I meet him before then – preferably not in his house or mine, but rather on the water.