Barry & Cathy Beck
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By D. Roger Maves
What’s your definition of the perfect vacation? Some folks just need a quiet spot by the ocean and a good book. Others like to take to the high seas surrounded by cruise ship buffets. For fly fishers the perfect vacation is actually an easy thing to accomplish. All they need is a sweet fishing spot, some great catches and the photos to prove it all. Barry and Cathy Beck have made a career of creating prefect vacations for fly fishers in such exotic destinations as New Zealand, Africa, Argentina, Belize, Mongolia, Russia and Mexico. Of course, there is also a lot to be said for fishing the waters of the American West. Just make sure you pack your camera!
Listen to Barry & Cathy Beck's show:
Fly Fishing and Photographing the World
Barry and Cathy Beck have traveled the world fly fishing and photographing their adventures. Learn how their secrets about traveling for fly fishing and how to get the best photographs for youself or your clients.
The Becks have managed to combine two of their passions into a rewarding career: fly fishing and photography. If you should be fortunate enough to hire this couple as a trip host you’ll be getting the added bonus of knowing your trip will be forever preserved. Who knows? You might just end up on the cover of Fly Fisherman, Fly Fishing in Salt Waters, Field & Stream, Outdoor Life, Gray's Sporting Journal, or Big Sky Journal. All those magazines have featured the Beck’s handy work. It’s those years of fly fishing and photography that make Cathy and Barry the “first couple of fly fishing!” And they’ve got some great tips for planning your perfect fly fishing and photography vacation.
First, you have the option of scheduling your trip with a host or doing it on your own. The benefits of working with a trip host are that they handle all the details freeing you up to focus on having a good time. With an experience host like the Becks, you can rest assured that they’ve already traveled to the spot you’re heading and know all the ins and outs of where to stay, where to where and, most importantly, where to fish. If your vacation time is limited do you really want to be bothered with researching out all of that information not to mention the fact of what if you get it wrong? There goes your vacation! To find the perfect trip host, Cathy recommends picking up the phone. You can get a pretty good feel on how knowledgeable they are within one phone conversation.
What makes Barry and Cathy such great hosts is their attention to detail. They like to carry six to eight spare outfits in their luggage. This isn’t so they can dress up for dinner, but instead it’s protection against lost luggage of their clients. So far, they’ve rarely had to tap into these extra supplies, but it’s always good to be prepared. They also recommend that you check your fishing gear instead of trying to bring it onto the plane. Far less hassle that way.
In terms of camera gear, a decent point and shoot digital is really all you need for terrific vacation photos. The thing to remember is keeping it dry. This is where the camera strap comes into play. Hang the camera around your neck and don’t worry about it. If you’re a bit more serious about your photography, Barry and Cathy swear by the Nikon brand. Barry will always have his 18-200 Nikon lens with him. Another valuable tip for a hotel stay is to keep your camera gear in the bathroom especially if you’re cranking up the AC. Transferring sensitive camera gear between the cold and heat can create a humidity/fog situation that can jam up the works.
If you happen to be on a fly fishing vacation without the Becks, they suggest you work out in advance with your guide how you’d like to have a photo set up. This is especially important if you are practicing catch and release. You don’t want to keep your catch out of the water for too long and having the details of where to shoot from and how to use your camera can go a long way towards insuring you get the shot and honor nature.
Finally, consider how you hold your catch. Tilting the fish up or down six inches is far better than holding it straight across. It will make the fish seem bigger. Check out any of the Beck’s work and you’ll see this concept in action. And above all else, make sure you back up your photos as soon as possible. You’re only going to get one shot at that perfect shot!
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Planning the Fly Fishing Trip of a Lifetime to Alaska - Bryan Whiting