Go Away With … Henry Winkler

Photo credit: ©Rowan Nyman

By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Media Services
December 20, 2011

Henry Winkler is an actor, author, director and photographer, but if he were to pursue a new career, he says he’d become a professional fly fisherman. “There’s no way I’d compare myself to any of the great fishermen out there,” says Winkler, 66, “but what a perfect way to spend your life.” Best known for playing Fonzie on the hit TV series “Happy Days,” Winkler currently has roles on the series “Royal Pains” and “Childrens Hospital.” His latest book — “I’ve Never Met an Idiot on the River: Reflections on Family, Fishing, and Photography” (Insight Editions, $21.95) — is a collection of photographs and anecdotes about his life.

Q. What are some of your favorite vacation destinations?

A. A river in Montana fly fishing for trout is always a great trip for me. I love visiting Japan. It’s like being in 1525 and 2020 at the same time. The sheer beauty of Kyoto is humbling and inspiring. And Italy in May when the flowers are in bloom is magnificent. The poppies look like ballet dancers moving all in unison.

Q. Where are the best places to go fly fishing?

A. New Zealand, Wyoming and Montana. Montana is the first place that I’ve ever fished. My lawyer is the man who took me fishing, and he’s going to go to Argentina with me in February to fish for even larger trout. Montana is amazing. I grew up in New York and that’s where my heart is, but I totally connect with Montana.

Q. Have you noticed a common theme in your travels?

A. This might sound strange, but it’s incredible to me that the more you travel and move around, you see similarities in cultures. As different as other countries are, it’s amazing how many parts of so many places on Earth all look the same. You can see Montana in Italy and New Zealand.

Q. How do you acclimate yourself to a new city?

A. No matter what city or town we are visiting, my wife, Stacey, and I enjoy walking around as much as possible. It definitely gives me a better feel for where I am when I’m interacting with the people who live there. It’s hard to get a true sense and taste of a place if you’re not taking a good look around. And the best way to do that is to walk and explore all the areas that you wouldn’t if you’re in a car and are dependent on where to get a good parking spot.

Q. Where is your favorite weekend getaway?

A. Santa Barbara.

Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?

A. Argentina. But by February I’ll have been there, if all goes as planned!

Q. You took many photos for your book. Does any particular destination stand out as being really inspirational?

A. My favorite photographs were taken in Montana. So I’d have to pick that one.

Q. What are your five favorite cities?

A. New York City, London, Kyoto, Boston and Florence.

Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?

A. A camera, comfortable shoes and a fishing rod. Anything else, I can just buy if I forgot to bring it.

Q. What would be your dream/fantasy trip?

A. Some people travel around the United States and visit as many Major League Baseball parks as they possibly can. Mine would be visiting as many blue ribbon trout streams as possible.

Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you’re on the road?

A. Room service or finding the best spaghetti Bolognese in the city.

Q. Tell me about your worst vacation.

A. I think the worst vacation was Captiva Island in the winter. We brought bathing suits and didn’t do enough research to know we needed fleece.

Q. What kind of research do you usually do before you go away on a trip?

A. Travel guides, Internet, talking to someone who has been there…


© 2011 JAE-HA KIM


Comments (4)

  1. Would love for Henry Winkler to take a look at our site for fishing rods! They are ALL hand-made in the USA and guaranteed for life! Best fly-fishing rods available!

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