Traveling Angler Profile: Fly Fishing the World with Pat Pendergast

Pat Pendergast has been traveling the world with a fly rod for decades. The head of international travel for The Fly Shop, Pat always has travel on his mind. He recently sat down for an interview about his travels:

Where in the world have you fly fished?

I have been in the international travel business for a long time, close to 30 years, so the list of places I have fished is pretty extensive. Alaska, Argentina, Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Honduras, Kiribati, Mexico, Mongolia, Russia (Kola), Russia (Kamchatka) UK, Venezuela, USA

What is your favorite destination and why?

This is a question that I get asked a lot. My usual answer is “where I am headed too next, or where I just returned from”. Yes, I do have some favorite places to fly fish, but I think for me, it’s more about what type of fishing is my favorite, than where I am headed. I love to swing flies from a double handed rod for anadromous fish. So wherever anadromous fish are found where I can swing a fly, that is my favorite.  I also like saltwater fly fishing so wherever I can sight fish to a saltwater species, I am in my happy place.

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

Man, I have a lot of great memories, but one of my favorites was fishing in Espiritu Santo Bay with my son Aidan, who at the time had just turned 13 years old. We found a small school of Triple Tails and Aidan was hell-bent on catching one, which he did. The fish ate the fly while on its side and after half a dozen missed strip-sets he finally landed it. The guide was thrilled as was Dad!

What has been the best trip so far and why?

The one I just got back from, two weeks of traveling and fishing in the Bahamas. It was awesome, first trip out of the country since I returned from Argentina in 2020 right before the world shut down. We made new friends and saw old friends, experienced some great fishing and all in all had a great time.  My three week trip to Mongolia a few years back, was outstanding in every way and completely exceeded my expectations.  I highly recommend a trip to Mongolia, not just for the fishing, but the cultural components associated with. I am definitely returning in the near future…

Do you have any travel coming up?

My next adventure is to head to Alaska this summer for two weeks. The first week I will be at Royal Wolf Lodge located in Katmai National Park and Preserve. We have been sending folks to RWL since 1997 and they run the best rainbow trout fly-out fly fishing lodge in all Alaska.  It will be a special trip as I get to spend a week with my son Aidan, who is working at the lodge this summer, his second season in the bush. For the second week, I head out to Lava Creek Lodge on the Alaska Peninsula for a week of exploratory rainbow trout fishing. LCL is Signature Destination of The Fly Shop, owned and operated by Phil Byrd and his wife Beth, great folks, multi-talented and fun to hang with.  It’s going to be a great two weeks, made even more enjoyable, as my wife Lisa is joining me.

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

Absolutely!  I have a hosted trip scheduled for the spring of 2024 at Providence in the Seychelles.  It will be my first trip to the Indian Ocean and I am fired up to pursue Giant Trevally, Milkfish, Bumphead Parrotfish, Bohar Snapper, Napoleon Wrasse – most of which I have never casted a fly to. Super pumped for this trip!

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

Meeting new people and learning more about their lives and their love of fly fishing. For me, one of the joys of travelling to far off fly fishing destinations is the people you meet, the cultures you are exposed to and the stories you here. That is both on the guest side as well as the outfitter side.

What is your dream trip and why?

I have never traveled to or fished in New Zealand; it is high on my list.

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

I just returned from two plus weeks in the Bahamas. I was lucky to get two shots at a permit, and two eats with two permit to hand.  Death Cab for Cutie – I will possess your heart.

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

I never leave the house of go anywhere without my pocket knife, a Kershaw locking blade model – Ken Onion Design. Next in line would be polarized sunglasses, a rain jacket, waterproof day pack, Abel pliers and nippers and a headlamp – the list goes on…but those are essential…

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

PLASTIC!  We have to figure out how to stop using so much plastic. Everywhere I have been, in every corner of the world, plastic dominates the landscape. KICK PLASTIC!

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