Meet Mac M. To say that Mac loves fishing is an understatement. L.L.Bean’s public relations expert on all things “outdoors,” Mac is a seasoned professional and a longtime outdoor enthusiast – particularly when it comes to rod and reel. In fact, former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar recently recognized Mac’s passion and wealth of expertise with an appointment to the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council.
Mac’s enthusiasm is contagious and his wisdom runs deeper than the waters he stands in. That’s why with L.L.Bean’s Spring Fishing Weekend upon us, we’ve asked him to tell you just how much he “dreams of fishing.”
As your guest blogger, I figure there are a few things you should know about me:
• I love fly fishing; I read about fly fishing, I spend lots of money traveling to go fly fishing; I watch fly-fishing videos and think about fly fishing often – and my wife enables me in these endeavors.
• I have an entire room devoted to fishing gear.
• I have fly-fishing dreams; and I wake up screaming in sweat when the big one gets way.
• I like fly fishing for big fish like striped bass, tarpon, sharks and more.
• My boat is worth more than my car.
You should also know that I’ve reached the apex of cabin fever. I’m not alone in this, but it’s compounded by the fact that I’m indeed a very serious angler (as you now know) and fishing season here in Maine is only a few tantalizing weeks away.
My healthy addiction began early. I was lucky enough to have grown up in a household that embraced the outdoor lifestyle. I remember taking hikes in the fall to the top of Megunticook Mountain and Mount Battie in Camden, and flushing grouse while hunting in Jackman. Winter meant going cross-country skiing in our backyard and sledding at the golf course. Spring and summer always meant fishing – and with it, exhilarating possibilities, wonderment and decades of fond memories spent outdoors.
I got my first fly rod when I was seven; and I’m grateful to my parents for introducing me to my lifelong passion, if not a full-blown obsession. And part of this obsession comes from where I live. Maine offers a remarkable array of fishing opportunities, set amongst a spectacular natural backdrop. You can find world-class salmon, trout and bass fishing in our rivers, lakes, streams and ponds, and striped bass, bluefish and even sharks and tuna in our saltwater.
With the season on the way, I’ve begun to gleefully engage in my annual ritual of tying flies and getting my gear in tip-top shape. This not only gets me excited about the coming season, it also helps me be a more successful angler and extends the life of my gear.
My Gear List
Flies: I tie as much as I can, as it keeps my fly box stocked. It’s also meditative, creative and fun.
Reels: I take my reels apart and carefully examine and clean them for optimal performance. A toothbrush works great for this, because it allows me to get into all of the nooks and crannies. Then I apply reel oil to the moving parts.
Fly lines: I wash my fly lines in the sink with a mild detergent and apply fly line dressing.
Fly Rods: I inspect my fly rod, the reel seat, the rod blank and the guides for any signs of damage or weakness.
Leaders: I re-tie all of my leaders, so I start the season with new ones that I know will be reliable.
Before I go fishing, I go to the park and do a bit of practice casting. I get some odd looks from folks sometimes, but this helps shake off the rust so I can maximize my time on the water when I finally get there. I practice distance casting, casting accurately (at sticks or the base of trees), and then casting accurately at a distance.
I’ve been doing a lot of the above lately, as I am preparing for my annual trip to Homosassa, Florida, later this spring to chase giant tarpon with a fly rod.
Mention the word Homosassa to serious saltwater anglers and they conjure up images of some of the world’s largest tarpon, world records and celebrity anglers. It’s known as one of the top angling destinations in the world, and it’s a demanding, unforgiving fishery – the Yankee Stadium of saltwater fishing. In a few weeks, I’ll be there doing what I love.
Until then, I’ll be getting my gear ready, casting at sticks in the park and drifting off to sleep, dreaming of a 100-pound tarpon opening its huge mouth to take my fly. See you on the water soon.
Looking to test new waters this season? Check out L.L.Bean’s ParkFinder to find the best fishing in your area.