Fly Fish at the Ritz-Carlton
It’s possible to get back to nature in the lap of luxury.
When you book a room at the Ritz, fly fishing is probably not the first thing that pops into your mind. However, perhaps it should be. After all, the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes (ritzcarlton.com) is surrounded by 500 acres of natural beauty and plenty of adventurous ways to soak it all in.
We’re talking alligators, otters and 120 species of birds. In other words, the perfect setting for the perfect catch. Those who sign up for the fun-filled excursion (you don’t have to be a hotel guest) meet with an ecology and fly-fishing extraordinaire at the golf clubhouse. Then, they are whisked away in a golf cart for an hour or so of on-land practice and to hear about the intricacies of fly fishing. (It’s important to master the proper casting technique before hitting the water.)
Once you hop into the custom-designed Hyde drift boat, you’ll troll along the 40-acre Shingle Pond, which sits on the most remote section of Grande Lake. It’s so quiet out there, in fact, that if you stop searching for fish for a moment, it’s quite likely you could see bobcats, egrets, deer and wild turkey roaming the shoreline. To one side is the resort’s impressive golf course. On the other is Shingle Creek, a cypress-lined waterway that is the headwaters of the Florida Everglades.
The best part is these are private waters so you’ll feel like you own the place, and the lake is stocked with photo-worthy largemouth bass. Just remember, newbies, it’s not all about the catch. Sometimes the thrill of the chase is enough. And the peaceful setting is worth the trip alone.
You can also reel ’em in after the sun goes down. Don’t worry, your guide will tote along lanterns and flashlights—just don’t forget to bring the bug spray.
If you’re looking for something a little less physical, consider a leisurely canoe tour down Shingle Creek (above inset). As you float beneath the tree canopy you are nearly guaranteed a gator sighting among the thick cattails and neon green duckweed.