David Leake has been taking on some impressive fly fishing trips in recent years. Leake heads the travel department at Tailwaters in Dallas, and he recently sat down to take on some questions for the Venturing Angler:
1. Where in the world have you fly fished?
As the owner and director of the travel department at Tailwaters Fly Fishing Company in Texas for the last 14 years I have spent a lot of time exploring many of the world’s greatest fisheries. Some of my favorites include Bahamas, the Yucatan and Baja, Belize, Honduras, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Seychelles. Kamchatka, Russia, New Zealand, Los Roques, Venezuela, Canada, Alaska, Louisiana, and much of the Rockies.
2. What is your favorite destination and why?
Seychelles! The saltwater flats are my favorite style of fishing, and there is simply nothing that compares to many of the fisheries in the Seychelles. The bonefish fishing is absolutely idyllic, and the frequent opportunities for Giant trevally, Milkfish, triggerfish, and much more truly sets it apart. Everything about Alphonse and St. Francois is just “perfect” for fly anglers – and a stunningly beautiful venue. I have been five times and would head back tomorrow!
3. What is the most memorable travel experience you have and why?
My most memorable travel experience was certainly my first trip to Kamchatka in 2004. I will never forget the feeling of legitimately on the front end of a new fishery at its peak of “discovery”. Kamchatka still creates that vibe for me and any first timer, but it was those early years learning our way around that are the most memorable.
4. What has been the best trip so far and why?
I honestly don’t have a “best trip” that stands our in my mind as every new positive experience could fall into this category. That said, while the “best trip” should not be quantified by a single trophy fish… I have a hard time ignoring the 45-50 pound permit landed at Deep Water Cay on the east end of grand Bahama last June.
5. Do you have any travel coming up?
We have a relatively quiet summer ahead of us on the travel front – rather staying close to home catching up on a number of projects and getting life back to “normal” with a newborn at the house. Telluride and Florida Panhandle for some tarpon fishing as well as a trip or two down to the marsh in Louisiana are next up in the short term before cranking up a few trips to the Yucatan at the Palometa Club starting November followed by an early season visit to Patagonia with Patagonia River Guides in Argentina.
6. Is there a specie that you are dying to catch? What is it about that fish?
I am looking forward to golden dorado in Bolivia in 2015. While our staff has experienced the Tsimane operation each of the last 2 seasons, I am personally excited about tangling with one of those bruisers.
7. When you are not on the water, what do you want the most out of a trip and why?
I love to gain an understanding of the local human element with a new destination as well as the flora, fauna, and habitat with any fishery. Enjoying the outdoors with clients, friends, and business partners is always key to gaining the most from any new experience.
8. What is your dream trip and why?
Anything that involves casting to permit! I am admittedly a permit junkie, so a trip that includes frequent opportunities for permit is always in my dreams. Nothing beats the toxic mix of boredom, frustration, and overwhelming satisfaction.
9. If one song where to play in a video short of your last fly fishing trip, what would it be?
Lowlands by the Gourds
10. What is the one piece of gear you couldn’t bear to leave at home?
Patagonia Great Divider. Been around the world a few times and is the one constant symbol of being on the road.
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I caught a 35 lb. est. milk fish on the flats at Cook Islands with a #9 weight with floating line. First run took out about 220 yards line.. Thought I had a giant travelly until it jumped like a tarpon. Caught on a shrimp fly fishing for bones….