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When he's not skippering his crab boat, baiting and lifting heavy steelframed pots, Savone can be found fly-fishing local streams. He ties his own flies and casts with a soft, flowing, self-taught precision for salmon, trout, and steelhead. All of which is unremarkable except that Savone has only one arm. A car accident on the Alcan Highway left a close friend dead and left-handed Dan lost his left arm. But in the years that followed, sometime beyond the malignant nightmares, the fire of parted bones and screaming flesh, Savone resolved to ignore his ''handicap." And now, with the grace and guts of all able-bodied seamen, Dan Savone—5-foot-8 in rubber boots, small-boned and wiry—lifts 70-horse outboards into bobbing skiffs, weighs anchors in misty fiords, and serenely tackles steelhead in a sport that frequently makes tangled fools of men with both hands.

I continued on for another quarter mile to that stretch that had kept me awake the night before.

We left town early, my friend Tony Route, Savone, and I. The morning was dull and damp with fog as we buzzed in Savone's skiff across the Wrangell Narrows to Petersburg Creek. The gray cotton horizon parted before us, split dead-center by a broad slice of silver saltwater. Petersburg is steelhead water in the classic sense: unpeopled, clean, with swift chutes pouring into deep, dark pools; plenty of boulders, whitewater and log jams for cover. By the time we entered the river and tied the boat to a great fir at the foot of a pool, the fog had degenerated into light drizzle. Along the banks, skunk cabbages bloomed in vivid yellow profusion, creating their own subdued sunlight and contributing to the air a musky fragrance reminiscent of strong, imported beer. Our upstream hike started here, so we gathered our gear—rods, vests, a lunch of tinned kippers and chocolate bars—and entered the shadows of the rainforest.

This was not our first day on the creek. We'd come the day before, again at high-tide, made the upstream hike, and fished steelhead with marginal success. The fish were there, you could see them holding in sparkling runs. We'd fished over dozens of steelhead that day, but they simply refused to take. So sometime before lunch, we put down our 8-weights, rigged up our 4s, and enjoyed catching cutthroat trout, resident rainbows and Dolly Varden. They weren't large, but each was a native jewel that pounced our smolt patterns.

I did manage to fair-hook one steelhead later that day. We were preparing to pack it in, hike back to the skiff, and return to Petersburg for pizza and pitchers of beer at The Harbor Lights restaurant. I picked up my 8-weight for a couple of final casts and midway through my third drift something struck and screamed desperately upstream. The struggle was everything I've come to expect from broad-shouldered, deep-bellied Alaska steelhead: That fiery strike; the upstream surge (my fly-line tearing the current in a hissing wake); a pair of bold, quivering leaps; then the downstream run to calmer water at the foot of the pool followed by the inevitable gill-pumping, side-slipping surrender.

Route had stepped into the shallows, forceps in hand, and as he'd freed the fly from its jaw, the steelhead turned briefly on its side, displaying in its anal fin the very pink Rajah fly I'd foul-hooked it with several hours before. We were all surprised, of course. And pleased to discover something about the stamina and resiliency of these fish. "Guess you pissed him off that first time," Savone said, as the drizzle rattled down upon us. Dusk was gathering in the crowns of the conifers overhead and the pizza and beer were waiting.

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