Welcome to Fish America

I'm Rick Bach, and I'm fishing my way across the country for Fish America on Outdoorlife.com. My cousin and I used to spend summers chasing fish, and the winters planning our cross-country trip. We were going to do it the summer after high school, then the summer after my junior year of college, after he got out of the Navy. But life has a funny way of happening at the strangest times.

Then on a cold February night this year, I was in a tattoo parlor outside of Boston. Maybe it was the state of mind that results from getting drawn on with a needle for more than an hour, maybe it was a lack of sleep, but when the artist (Josh) offhand, used the phrase: "The future is just a series of presents," it sunk in. I realized that we will all, if we are fortunate, be 75 and sitting on a porch some day. And the difference between talking about what you always dreamt of doing, or what you've done, is only what you do today.

I did not race home that night and plan this trip. But something that I had always wanted to do subtly but suddenly solidified from pipe dream to plan. A list of dream fishing destinations wrote itself and gradually took the shape of a route. And with the help of several people to whom I will forever be indebted, I have reached the edge of this adventure.

I claim neither expertise, nor all that much confidence, just a love of the water.

Hemingway said that courage, as distinguished from panic, was the ability to suspend the functioning of the imagination. So, I am refusing to imagine how much I will miss the job and the people I am leaving behind, or what I will do when this adventure ends.

My hope is that some of these places go on your list, that you take a day or two off work or school, leaving the lawn un-mowed and the mail piling up, and turn a few places on your list into memories.

Because life is as short as the country is big, and the things we do not do, just don't get done. So I'm fishing America. Here is my list of dream destinations for the first half of my trip, in the order and approximate time frame I hope to hit them.

Week Approx Destination Target Species
June 1-7 Lake Sebago, Maine Landlocked Salmon, Pike
June 1-7 Grand Lake Stream Landlocked, Atlantic Salmon
June 1-7 Lake Winepesaukee Salmon
June 7-14 Lake Champlain Everything
June 7-14 Vermont Trout Stream Trout
June 7-14 Winter Flounder in Mass. Blackbacks
June 7-14 Drift Boat Fishing the Deerfield River, CT Big Brown Trout
June 7-14 Boston City Fishing Charles River
June 14-21 Cape Cod Surf Stripers
June 14-21 Nerversink River, N.Y. Rainbow trout
June 14-21 Housatonic, CT Trophy Trout
June 14-21 New York City Smallmouth in Central Park
June 21-28 Jamaica Bay Stripers, Blues
June 21-28 Montauk Stripers
June 21-28 Delaware River Smallmouth
June 21-28 New Jersey Stripers
June 28 - Jul 5 Sandy Hook Fishing across from NYC
June 28 - July 5 Washington Muskie, Carp Stripers on the Potomac
June 28 - July 5 Gunpowder Falls, MD Trout
June 28 - Jul 5 James River Smallmouth
July 5-12 Sport Fishing Cape Hatteras Offshore Mix Bag
July 5-12 Charlston SC Redfish, Sea Trout
July 5-12 Columbia, SC Largemouth Bass
July 5-12 Atlanta Spotted Bass, Lake Lanier
July 5-12 Lake Guntersville Bass
July 12-19 Lake Okachobee Largemouth Bass
July 12-19 Rodman Reservoir Stick Reservoir Largemouth Bass
July 12-19 Islamorada Tarpon
July 19-26 Mississippi River Channel, Blue Catfish
July 19-26 Shark Fishing Texas Padre Island Shark Fishing Tiger, Hammerhead, Blacktip, Bull
July 19-26 Lake Amistad Largemouth
July 26 - Aug 2 Colorado River San Juan Tailwater Cuthroat Trout
July 26-Aug 2 Lake Mead Striped Bass

It is perhaps overly ambitious, and might even prove impossible. But if that's the case, at least I won't fall short for lack of trying. Let me know what you think, tell me places I've missed, and if you think it can be done. I will gladly and humbly accept any help that any fellow fishermen are wiling to offer. I will be posting from the road. Welcome to Fish America!