North America Adventure 2017
Boarding the Emirates flight to Dubai there were indeed mixed feelings. Huge excitement with the promise of tank redfish on topwater, the bars and restaurants of New Orleans, then the adventure that is Alaska – noisy floatplanes, super strong salmon and hungry grizzly bears.
The flip side of the coin was 36 hours of travel from Cape Town to the USA, butt cushion in hand to combat the medieval torture device that is the economy class seat, fists full of painkillers for the back and hips and lots of pleading smiles to the hostess for more alcohol to numb both the brain and the pain!
The Mississippi Delta dealt us a tough hand, in the form of an unseasonal tropical storm the water was high and discoloured and no fish likes crap in their gills. The intrepid group of 12 soldiered on working hard for only a fish or two a day, with the guides muttering the dreaded “you guys are so unlucky, you should have been here last week!”
After a memorable night in New Orleans, well the first half anyway! We jetted off to Anchorage and then on to Dillingham and the Royal Coachman Lodge. Upon landing I noticed the river extremely low. Pat Vermillion the owner shook his head – “25% lower than the lowest ever recorded level!”.
Well, luckily challenging conditions in Alaska is not a worry when the lodge owns 2 floatplanes and it’s just a matter of flying from one lake or river to the next to find the fish concentrations. Kings were a bit few and far between but the Sockeye and Chum run was one of the biggest for a long while. One would take out a foam beetle and go “doubt they would eat a skated terrestrial – but let’s try” – BANG, insiiiiide! “Ok, that works!”
So while we ended very strong, the ominous cloud of global warming looms on the horizon, the two opposite corners of Continental USA experiencing unseasonal climatic anomaly at the very same time – no Donald, I am sure your right – no such thing!