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For most, the idea of being stranded at a fishing lodge doesn't sound too bad
Photo: Chris Hunt

Fifteen years ago, I and a group of anglers spent three unscheduled days loitering around a southeast Alaska fishing lodge waiting for the weather to lift so our float plane back to Petersburg could make the flight across the salt to pick us up. But the weather in southeast Alaska is a finicky bastard, and it refused to cooperate. For most, the idea of being “stranded” in an Alaskan fishing lodge doesn’t sound too bad.

Brook trout trouper

Circling back to fly fishing
Joan plies the waters of Grouse Creek in search of brookies (photo: Tom Davis).

The sound of air being forcibly expelled from the human body, usually represented in print as oof or umph or something along those lines, is unmistakable. And when I heard it from the area close behind me where my wife, Joan, was picking her way towards the happily murmuring waters of Grouse Creek, I had a pretty good idea, before I turned around for visual confirmation, of what had happened.

A more perfect day of fishing

Some fishing days are perfect, and a few of those are “more perfect.”
Photo: David N. McIlvaney.

Oh, it’s such a perfect day;
I’m glad I spent it with you.
— Lou Reed

There are fishing days where everything goes wrong. I once arrived at the check-in counter at LaGuardia for a saltwater trip only to realize that I left my rod case leaning against my apartment door.

Forgotten gear, broken rods, blown-out water. When it happens, you try to laugh it off with some bullshit angling line like – A bad day of fishing is better than a good day of anything else. It’s not.

Don't be afraid of the dark

I should avoid being alone in the dark. But I can’t—I’m a dry-fly fisherman in Michigan.
Photo: Alyse Backus / cc2.0.

In my younger days, the old people didn’t fear the dark, or at least that’s what they said. “Don’t be afraid of the dark,” they’d tell me as if it was something I could just do. Washing my hands before eating, putting my dirty clothes in the hamper, lifting the toilet seat, closing the toilet seat, and saying “thank you” when someone did something nice were things I could just do. Being unafraid of the dark was not.

Fishing the Panama Canal is kind of weird

In the zone with accidental tarpon
Kurt Duchez fishes the Panama Canal Zone while a giant container ship lumbers by (photo: Stephen Sautner).

Sometimes we find ourselves in strange places, and without a fly rod.

Like the Panama Canal. Surrounded by tarpon.

It was a work trip and an important one. The 19th conference of the parties of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES CoP19) gathered in Panama to decide the fate of hundreds of wildlife species threatened by trade – everything from African elephants to tiny glass frogs.