The Election and Bristol Bay
I don’t really care about party lines or who you supported in the presidential election, and I won’t even ask, believing instead that everyone should cast a vote without scorn. But the fact is Barack Obama is America’s guy for the next four years, and that gives us an opportunity to kill the proposed mine near Alaska’s Bristol Bay for good.
Subject:After a week-long steelhead expedition in British Columbia, anglers Eric Brady and John Gilliland take shelter as their West Coast Helicopters air taxi arrives.
- Photography by: Aaron Goodis
Over the past decade, fly-fishing for northern pike has gained a solid footing with North American anglers looking for a new fix. Lured by the prospect of a visual—and often violent—take and a good fight, fly-fishing for pike is consistently fun and mostly lacks the pretentious attitude that trout and salmon fishing sometimes encourage.
It should come as no surprise that chasing pike with flies has taken hold in Europe, too. Known by different names depending on the language, pike fly-fishing is now an accepted and growing sport in countries as diverse as France, Denmark, Holland, The Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Just last year, an international pike fly-fishing tournament was held in Finland and included teams from Canada, England, Holland and Finland (Finland won).
Galen Mercer doesn’t think of himself as an angling artist. In fact, during a recent examination of a quarter century of his work, Mercer was surprised to find that, of the hundreds of paintings he reviewed, only three or four actually contained anglers, and fewer still included fish. “I’ve always been far more interested in the sporting environs than the particulars,” he explained. “Except for scale, I’ve never felt compelled to ‘humanize’ a landscape. Quite the opposite.”
- Illustrations by: Galen Mercer
PROFOUND RIVER RESEMBLES NO other contemporary American novel that includes fly-fishing in a significant way. It’s all at once a remarkably researched historical fiction based on one of our sport’s earliest, most revered and controversial figures; a deceptively delicate story of grace and humor and grit; a meditation filled with religious ritual but suffused with more humanism than dogma . . . and a how-to still relevant to anglers today.
When Christopher Guest says, “Comedians do not fish and they are not outdoors people” it’s an immediate contradiction—he’s been a part of Hollywood’s most groundbreaking comedies of the past three decades, and he is a passionate angler. But then again, Guest is no one-trick pony.
Until 1972, when Congress enacted the Clean Water Act over President Nixon’s veto, Americans treated their rivers like Londoners treated their streets in the Middle Ages—emptying their excreta into them. The act authorized the Environmental Protection Agency to limit pollution by awarding discharge permits. Large federal grants helped municipalities upgrade from primary sewage treatment (removing solids) to secondary treatment (reducing biological content).
- Photography by: Donna Williams
p>THE LATE POLLY ROSBOROUGH, AUTHOR OF Tying and Fishing the Fuzzy Nymphs, always declared that the biggest trout remain beneath the surface throughout a hatch, no matter how heavy, feeding on immature insects staging along the bottom or on their way toward the top for emergence. It makes sense: Insects are more vulnerable to interception then, and trout are less exposed to predation from birds and beasts, including you and me.
- Photography by: Dave Hughes
Here’s the perfect chance for those special people in your life to show how much they really love you. From the classic Art Deco styling—decidedly retro yet still strangely futuristic—to the cushy interiors, Airstream trailers are an authentic American icon. And the Sport 16 is the ideal road-tripping model; at 16 feet long with a GVW of 3,500 pounds, it’s compact enough for easy towing and set-up, but large enough for two or three people. With a polished aluminum skin and signature rounded corners to cut drag, it’s your personal fly-fishing rocket ship, your portable fishing lodge, and the coolest thing on the road. It’s estimated that 60 to 70 percent of all Airstreams ever built are still in use—truly the gift that keeps on giving. Expect to give a little in return, though; this silver bullet runs about $40K. www.airstream.com
p>In a long list of best places to fish, Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula—and the opportunity it provides for adventure and giant rainbow trout—sits at or near the top for most fly fishers. And photographer Valentine Atkinson is no different: On a recent journey to Kamchatka he wrecked a camera body, a lens, a pair of sunglasses and two fly rods, and he was pitched out of a raft while he was at it. He set up his tent at night, took it down in the morning, ate mostly sustenance fare of canned corn beef hash and homemade borscht, and saw enough grizzly bears to keep one ear open at night. Despite those challenges Atkinson says it was one of the best trips he’s ever taken (he’s fished 30 countries), and his companions on the adventure, to a man, said it was the best fly-fishing for rainbow trout they’d ever experienced, times 10.
p>Miles of grass beds were covered with pure white sand from the outer beaches, spoiling one productive habitat but forming another. Striped bass soon habituated to cruising the clear, shallow water in search of warmer temperatures, not to mention crabs and shrimp, and perhaps to escape predators. People knew the fish were there, but catching them by the conventional methods of trolling or throwing big plugs was out of the question. In fact, most boats on Cape Cod—other than the skiffs used by clammers—couldn’t handle the shallow water and treacherous shoals.
- Photography by: David Skok
Being a travel writer and angler, I’ve endured enough to believe that karma makes or breaks trips, and that starting out on the bottom side of good fortune just isn’t right.
- Photography by: Geoff Moore
Call it crazy.
There comes a time for every angler to grow up, supposedly. We’re expected to give up the weeklong road trips with buddies; now vacation time is parceled between in-laws. Extra income no longer accumulates in the “tarpon fund”; it is divvied between college savings accounts.
- Photography by: Greg Thomas
Over the past decade or so, I’ve tried just about every alternative to felt soles that has appeared on the market. The results were always disappointing; in my experience, felt surpassed them all by a comfortable margin, and studded felt was the very best.
On arrival for my first visit to Belize’s Turneffe Atoll, I stepped off the boat a little dazed, partially from a long day of travel from the West Coast, and partly from the six or so Belikin beers I’d consumed en route. After fishing my laptop out of the drink (a result of those aforementioned Belikins), I shamefacedly shambled toward the main lodge where I was greeted by a short, trim gringo with a soft voice and even quieter demeanor—Craig Hayes, Turneffe Flats’ proprietor.
What to do when even the guide says the weather’s too horrendous to bother? Keep fishing.
- Illustrations by: Bob White
The expanding popularity of winter fishing, even among anglers who don’t habitually throw around the word “extreme,” is beyond dispute, as is its chief obstacle—the weather. To stay on the water, you have to stay warm. The alternatives—hypothermia or existential despondency—are unpleasant to contemplate and potentially lethal.