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Back from the brink

It's going to be a great summer
Angler Chris Hunt tangles with an Ascension Bay bonefish (photo: Chad Shmukler).

Five years ago, as I gingerly walked along the gunwale of a Mexican panga while the boat sat anchored in the sand of Ascension Bay, I misjudged my footing. Had I stepped down into the boat, I would have crushed my fishing buddy’s camera gear and earned his ire for the rest of the trip … perhaps the rest of my life. He really likes his camera gear.

But I was committed. My substantial body weight was headed in that general direction. But I did have an alternative. With my left foot, I kicked out, and flopped unceremoniously into the crystal clear water of the bay.

We floated one of the rivers Pebble Mine would permanently alter and imperil

A week spent chasing grayling, char and salmon on the Koktuli, one of several rivers a mega-mine like Pebble would forever endanger
Float plane taking off from Koktuli Pond (photo: Trout Unlimited Costa 5 Rivers Program).

Flying into the small village of Iliamna, Alaska, destined for eight days at the mercy of the flow of a wild river, faces are glued to the windows, each gawking over the magnitude of Mount Denali and struggling to put the neighboring glaciers and volcanoes into perspective. I took the opportunity to think critically.

Photo: The Orvis Company

Can you imagine fishing and hunting over 250 days per year? Having the drive (or the time) to be on the water and in the woods that often, year after year, is likely fairly hard to imagine even for most die-hards out there. But what about at 90 years old? For Leigh H. Perkins, who purchased The Orvis Company over 50 years ago and turned it into the expansive fly fishing, hunting and outdoor lifestyle brand it is today, more than 250 days a year spent hunting and fishing isn't hard to imagine at all—because at 90, he's still doing it.

How I inherited my own trout stream

How many people have a trout stream in their lineage?
Photo: Reuben Browning

When my dad was in high school, he and his four best friends bought a trout stream. I know, it sounds like something out of Trout Fishing in America, but they really did. Can you imagine, getting out of school and heading out to your own trout stream, to fish with your best friends? Somehow, that very idea of that makes me feel like I got my priorities completely wrong at a very early age.

Clean it with your mouth

Adventures at the 2019 Cheeky Schoolie Tournament
Photo: James Joiner

I live on Cape Cod.

This means I have a higher than average chance of becoming an opiate addict, and it takes me way too long to drive anywhere in the summer. Also, I’m lucky enough to have world class fishing right out my front door. Putting aside the ‘Salt Life’ ‘Bloody Decks’ bro culture that comes with this, it’s amazing living somewhere where you need a rod in the car at all times in case you pass blitzing stripers while driving around.