A fishing ‘bucket list’

Ice fishing is one fishing bucket list quest.

It’s that time of year when the weather teases us with hints of spring and then slaps us back into reality with a dose of winter.

With everything else going on, fishing opportunities come too infrequently. Fortunately, there are television fishing shows that offer mild relief from these seasonal frustrations.

On a recent morning when I was wishing I was fishing, I happened to tune in to the World Fishing Network for a few minutes. The show that was on was about ice fishing in Michigan, and that got me to thinking: Would I enjoy trying that? I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t enjoy a steady diet of it, but I have enjoyed some awesome fishing experiences when I’ve had to dip my rod into the water to thaw the ice that had formed in the rod guides. So I added ice fishing to a growing number of fishing challenges I would like to try. And then I realized I had my very own fishing bucket list.

The term “bucket list” was popularized by the 2007 movie of the same name, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. A bucket list is a list of things you want to do before you die, or kick the bucket.

I decided to ask a few friends who occasionally engage in piscatorial pursuits if they had a fishing bucket list.

The first one said it probably would be to catch a sailfish. He added that he was heading to Yellowstone later this year, but his timing to catch a trout on the fly wasn’t optimal.

Another said he would love to catch a fish from the Santa Monica Pier, a place he often saw on televisions shows. He also added he would love to catch a fish from New York City’s Central Park or from the Hudson or East rivers with the Manhattan skyline in the background.

I thought back to a friend from church, who while on a visit to the Holy Land, managed to scrounge up a hook and line so he could fish in the Sea of Galilee. I can’t recall whether he was successful, but he could truthfully say he fished in one of the most well-known locations of Jesus’ ministry as told in the New Testament Gospels.

I was introduced to fishing at a very young age and still vividly remember my first fish, a bream caught from my grandfather’s pond. And I’ve been blessed over the years to have fulfilled many of those fishing bucket list items. I’ve caught piranhas and peacock bass from the Amazon, Bahamas bonefish, an Atlantic sailfish, giant redfish from Charleston Harbor and huge catfish from the Santee Cooper lakes.

But there still are some items to check off from that bucket list. A lot of them can be done very close to home.

I’ve hooked and briefly battled a blue marlin, but the hook pulled shortly into the fight.

While most people associate tarpon with Florida, plenty are caught right here in the Charleston area. I just have to make the time and effort.

A 10-pound largemouth bass is something else that is doable in places like Lake Moultrie, Lake Marion or the Cooper River, where I witnessed a 12-pound plus catch many years ago. My best largemouth was estimated at seven pounds.

A few other species I would love to land are also doable close by or within a few hours’ drive — catching a great white shark, a mako shark, a swordfish and a giant bluefin tuna.

Goliath groupers or permit are as close as the Florida Keys.

Other species would require the right combination of time, travel and perhaps winning the lottery.

Giant halibut and Arctic graylings in Alaska.

Roosterfish from the Pacific.

Golden dorado from Argentina.

Tiger fish from the Nile River.

A giant black marlin from the Great Barrier Reef.

Even heading north in the dead of winter to catch a musky through the ice.

As you can see, it’s a pretty big bucket list. What’s on your fishing bucket list?