The adventures of Mr. Bill

It seems that a common thread found among fly fishermen is the love and adventure of travel to destinations far and wide. We love sitting in the den, planning the next trip, imagining the slight chill in the air of an isolated Caribbean flat at sunrise as the bonefish tails pierce the waters surface in every direction. Or maybe its the thought of the cockpit noise of an Alaskan float plane as you follow the winding contour of a river bed to reach some out of the way lodge in search of silver salmon that gets you going.
Truthful fly fishermen will tell you the anticipation of experiencing a new place to fish often matches the thrill and excitement of the fishing itself. Would the thought of wading among a backdrop of snow capped mountains in a beautiful Montana trout stream for the first time excite you?
Recently I had the pleasure of fishing once again with islander Bill Brewster and our conversation turned to some of his fly fishing travels that he has experienced over the years. Before he retired, business took him to many countries and of course he said he had to sample the fly fishing as much as possible in each one. Bill is an avid traveler and fly fisherman. In fact, he will soon be honored in Boston for his years of dedication to conservation efforts by the Atlantic Salmon Federation.
On our last trip, he was telling me about some great salmon fishing in the outer reaches of northern Russia he had experienced. I curiously asked about the plane ride to such an isolated place like that in a foreign country. My question must have hit a nerve and awakened suppressed memories because his eyes lit up as he recounted a tale of a decrepit twin engine plane that was struck by lightning and fell thousands of feet before the excited Russian pilots, who did not speak English, were able to gain control. “A scary moment indeed” he said, almost casually. They managed to land safely and stay in a small town overnight before another plane arrived to take them to their camp.
I thought to myself that here is a man who really loves his fly fishing because it was obvious when we were discussing that trip his first recollections were of the quality of the fishing and not that terrifying plane ride.
He continued on with another story of the time he was in the mountains of Argentina rainbow trout fishing. He was vivid in his descriptions to me of the beautiful colors that the trout of that region display and the strength of the fight they give. Then, almost as an afterthought, he recalled that as he prepared to depart that camp a thick fog enveloped the valley. He further recalled watching anxiously as the helicopter pilot hovered just above ground in an effort to burn off the gas and lighten the fuel load so that they could “hopefully” gain enough altitude to rise above the fog…and the local mountains!
On our last trip together we had a great day catching Spanish Mackerel on small chartreuse and white Clouser Minnows out in the gulf. They would strike with such speed from underneath the fly that they would often come completely out of the water. This was Bill`s first time with Spanish and he seemed to really enjoy the fast action. The seas that day were calm and the end of the trip was a probably a little uneventful for Bill compared to some of his past experiences. We made it back to the dock without incident.
Of course there is no doubt in my mind that the boat would have had to have caught fire and we would have had to swim ashore before Bill’s thoughts would have been directed away from the fun of catching those Spanish Mackerel!

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