Back Issue Content: 2013
What’s happening to my state?
ABOARD THE MV MATANUSKA, on a 1,000-mile journey up the rainforest coast from Washington, a cross section of modern-day Alaska’s citizenry relaxed to a gentle January swell—old salts in halibut jackets bound for port towns; rotund men goat-t’d up, ball caps blazing with logos of off-road-vehicle brands; young hippies, all dreadlocks and skirts-over-pants, moving North to the Future; a grandma and grandpa duo going home to Ketchikan from Seattle, where they’d bought a monster truck; feds in their civvies (glasses, fleece, Xtra-Tuffs); pro greenies on their way to Juneau to bash their heads against the wall of the Legislature; a crazy guy in duct tape-patched Carhartts and a beret, pacing on deck for hours; a teenage girl in a t-shirt that pronounces, “I am a hardcore Christian.”
Bridge over troubled waters.
BENEATH THE MAYO BRIDGE I share a small island with the homeless of Richmond. I return each year when the tiny buds of spring start to appear and warm weather kicks out the last frost. The folks on the island don’t seem to mind. They know why I’m here.
There’s a small sandy shore on the east side of the island where the mighty James River is cut thinner than elsewhere. This is where you’ll find me, fishing deep and slow with gold and silver and perhaps a bit of marabou. Fixated on every pause or bump of my indicator, I wait for it to plummet, hoping for the telltale shiver that shoots through my rod as my father’s voice echoes in my head, “Get him.”
Should we be targeting bonefish with dry flies?
THE FIRST BONEFISH TO EAT MY DRY was tailing in ankle-deep water. I threw it two feet ahead of him and left it to dead drift. When he got near, I stripped it and he saw the wake, followed with his head up, hesitated, then turned away. I twitched the fly and he circled it three times, puzzled but intrigued. I let it sit for a moment, and he stalled underneath, studying it. When I twitched it again he came up and inhaled it like a trout.
Chromers, coffee creamers, and Quiznos.
HUDDLED IN THE CRAMPED HOTEL ROOM, I peer down at the creamer label and see that it and the sugar are both produced by the same Texas chemical company. Looking around, it’s hard to believe that they’ve actually fit two queen beds in here. Every inch of open space is filled with duffel bags, rod tubes, waders, boots, and beer bottles. There are wet garments draped everywhere.
The Madison River’s original wild-trout advocate.
DICK MCGUIRE DIED as we fishers should hope to die—fishing his home water. At 82 years of age in 2007, McGuire launched his boat on Ennis Lake and never came home. They found him the next day floating face down. The coroner didn’t perform an autopsy, so we don’t know exactly what caused his death, but it doesn’t matter anyway. What matters is what made him live.