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Published: June 27th 2011
Most people arrive in Denali by train or by bus. We took the McKinley Express north from Anchorage with a glass dome top and scenic views on both sides. Little chance to blog, but lots of time for reading, card playing, napping and picture taking, besides meeting and chatting up everybody in my car.
As soon as I arrived at the lodge in Denali, it was time for my fly fishing adventure. Okay, so I wasn’t a pro, but I “got her done” as they say. They didn’t have a full body suit, so I settled for frog tog no camo waders. I don’t think it was a bad look…what do you think? My learning curve wasn’t too bad (mainly because we were on a skinny streambed and the casting was very short). I got the casting part down pretty quickly, but it was hooking the fish that was the hard part. They liked my flies and were constantly interested, but you were supposed to just pull straight up when they came to the surface to bite. Just a little lift of the pole, NOT a hard jerk. Of course, my instinct was to jerk the pole I has if
I had shark size tackle and a 100 pound grouper on the other end. My guide told me that if I was lucky enough to actually hook the fish, there would be a silver missile coming straight at my face. So I would whip my line overhead, check my form, congratulate myself on a good cast and tell myself, “Don’t jerk, just lift.” Then BAM, a fish would come up to my fly and I’d jerk so hard, my fly would be behind me before I knew what happened. Again, “don’t jerk, just lift”…BAM. Shit. “Don’t jerk”…. BAM. Shit. You get the picture. I caught two fish through sheer luck and perseverance. The fish were bait size and obviously thick lipped. They survived and since it’s all catch and release, they will live to improve the species.
Four hours standing in the stream, beavers swimming by, beautiful trees and sky, and just me in my waders. I loved it!
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