The call came in from a nice person. "We want you to do an article on fly fishing."
"OK. There are a couple of things I'll need," I replied.
"Fine," said the nice person. "Send us a list."
First on the list is a 6 weight for Dolly Varden, cutthroats, and pink salmon. The workhorse rod for Southeast Alaska. I pick out a Sage 4-piece VPS ($385). The pilots will appreciated how nicely it fits in the floatplane and the baggage handlers will have to look elsewhere for something to break. A Ross Gunnison 3 reel ($220) with a Rio VersiTip line ($115) means I won't have to be constantly changing spools between the floating and sink-tip lines.
Next on the list is a 8 weight for cohos and steelhead. Again a Sage rod; this time I'll go with a RPLXi 3-piece ($580) and Sage 3400D loop style reel ($500). The RPLXi will boom out to distant fish while everyone else is back at the bar whining about the weather. I'll get a Scientific Anglers Mastery Saltwater Taper ($57) line that the good folks at 3M made specifically for cold water.
I once read somewhere that a 4 weight has no use in Southeast. Whoever wrote that is missing out on a lot of fun. I pick a nice Scott ($300) and Ross Cimarron reel($145).
The jacket is a tough choice between the Simms Guide Jacket ($350) and a Patagonia SST ($320). A pair Patagonia breathable waders($350) require no thought at all.
The tab $3002 comes to for those who insist on putting a price on Truth and Beauty.
Reality Comes A Callin'
The phone rang, but this time the nice person had been replaced by a shrill, harsh voice. Something about not having the Air Force's budget. Back to the list.
I replace the 6 weight with a Scott Alpha ($180). This sleeper might be called a beginner's rod, but there's a lot of performance for the price. I've been waiting for my Pflueger Medalist ($40) to go the way of all flesh, but it's still hanging on. A second spool for the sink tip line and I'm ready to go.
I will give up my Sage RPLXi when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers. When the cold winds blow, I want a rod that isn't going to wimp out.
For my 4 weight, I'll try a St Croix Imperial ($200) to see what everyone is raving about. And if that mean person from the paper isn't looking, I'll sneak in the Ross Cimarron ($145) again.
For my clothing I choose the Glacier Glove packable jacket ($50) that stuffs into a sack and takes up less room than one of my sandwiches. I'll get a pair of Glacier Glove neoprene waders ($100) since I've somehow managed to survive lo these many years in neoprenes.
The tab comes to a more manageable $1,852. Now I can sit back and wait for that nice person to send the check.
Brent Pristas has been fly fishing in Alaska for 10 years.