Traveling Angler Profile: Fly Fishing the World with Mike Gifford

Mike Gifford permit flies
Mike Gifford with some of his go-to permit flies. (Photo: Patrick Duke)

Mike Gifford of Country Pleasures Fly Fishing in Calgary has a deep passion for fly fishing and an unparalleled love for permit. He has traveled to numerous fly fishing destinations and has a bit of time in Mexico coming up soon. Gifford recently took on an interview for The Venturing Angler:

Where in the world have you fly fished?

Christmas Island, Chile, Argentina, Mongolia, Belize, Mexico, Bahamas,  Honduras, Florida, and a few other US states with trout in them.

What is your favorite destination and why?

After a number of years going all sorts of different places I spend most of my time in Ascension Bay now. I love the fishery and have always enjoyed the people of Punta Allen. It’s just such a great permit fishery and it’s become like a second home.

mike gifford casting

What is the most memorable travel experience you have and why?

Had a day with Black Fly Lodge in Abaco a couple years ago with five permit to the boat. That was pretty cool. I’ve had a few six fish days in Mexico, but having a day like that in the Bahamas was pretty cool.

What has been the best trip so far and why?

I think the coolest trip I ever had was a trip to the Jardines de la Reina about 10 years ago. My wife and daughter came on one of our shop hosted trips and it was my daughters first trip to the salt. She would have been 16 at the time. Obviously, having her on the trip made it special but during the week a buddy and I experienced the craziest day of tarpon fishing I have ever seen. It was on my birthday, and between the two of us we stuck 36 or 38 tarpon (I forget which it was). None of these were baby tarpon mangrove stuff, they were all mature fish. We actually jumped 6 or 7 fish while we were staked up having lunch.

gifford planning

Do you have any travel coming up?

Mongolia in September.  Mexico after the new year.

Is there a species that you are dying to catch? What is it about that fish?

Golden dorado! They have admirably bad attitudes.

When you are not on the water, what do you want the most out of a trip and why?

Clean room, bathroom, and bed.  A room light that works.

What is your dream trip and why?

I have to screw you up and list two. The only things that really turn my crank that I haven’t done yet are Bolivia for golden dorado and Oman for permit.

gifford pointing

If one song where to play in a video short of your most recent fly fishing trip, what would it be?

Blowin’ in the wind by Bob Dylan. It was a tad windy in the Caribbean this winter/spring.

What is the one piece of gear you couldn’t bear to leave at home?

My reels. I can borrow rods and figure out how to cast them but I would feel naked without my Hatch reels.

As you have traveled, what environmental issues have most concerned you?

Mostly garbage. So many locations throughout the Caribbean and Pacific have such a severe plastic/garbage issue it’s ridiculous. We can put people in space, but we can’t figure that out.

To check out more from Mike Gifford and Country Pleasures, please click here.

Disclosure: Country Pleasures Fly Fishing is in a professional relationship with the Fly Fishing Guide Directory and The Venturing Angler. Though potentially benefiting from this relationship, we do not post what we do not believe to be true. To read more, click here.

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